teaching literacy

New research shows what makes a difference in teaching literacy and why ‘evidence-based’ is not enough

By Debra Hayes

Public discourse about schooling generally assumes that it’s in crisis. The script goes something like this: There’s a problem and it’s big – really big! Test results show us Australia is going downhill and teachers need to be accountable. There are ‘evidence-based’ solutions but teachers are not using them. If they did, literacy standards would

Seven things teachers agree on about teaching reading in Australia. Stop all the political haranguing over phonics

By Robyn Ewing

There is widespread agreement among educators and school communities about the importance of teaching phonics and other code-based literacy practices in early years classrooms. Why, however, is phonics instruction, one of the processes teachers use in helping children learn to read, so foregrounded by government policymakers and bureaucrats in Australia these days?  Why is one

Arts-based approaches to teaching literacy: stop all the testing and do this

By Susan Davis and John Saunders

Millions of dollars have been spent on targeted programs to improve literacy and numeracy learning outcomes around Australia. However this year’s NAPLAN data shows stagnation in terms of data improvement, with a downward shift in performance levels for writing. We don’t believe this lack of movement in data is matched by a lack of impact

A new phonics test for Australian six year olds is a BAD idea

By Robyn Ewing

The recent announcement by Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, of a nation-wide phonics assessment for six year olds is of great concern to me. I believe, as do many of my fellow literacy expert colleagues, this new test will not help improve our literacy levels. Australian children have been “marking time” or “falling behind” when compared on international

Teaching literacy is more than teaching simple reading skills: it can’t be done in five easy steps

By Robyn Ewing

If we truly care about all Australian children and young people becoming literate I believe it is vital we understand and define the complexity of literacy. The conflation of different terms like reading instruction and literacy is not very useful. While reading is part of literacy, literacy is a much bigger concept which is continually