I’m on the Professional Development committee for Learning Difficulties Australia, so have been madly researching quality training in synthetic phonics currently on offer in Australia.
My theory is that the more we can publicise other people’s good training, the less we’ll need to run ourselves as volunteers, in our copious (not) spare time.
I’ve discovered there’s quite a bit of training about sounds and their spellings available, if you know where to look. Some is very focussed on phonemic awareness and phonics, the biggest gaps in teacher training. Some also covers vocabulary, comprehension and fluency, the three other Five Big ideas in beginning reading instruction.
The following list of upcoming training is intended only as a guide. Please check courses out thoroughly for yourself before signing up, and make sure you ask what program materials are supplied as part of the course, as a few courses include stacks of valuable program materials you’d otherwise have to buy separately. The list is in alphabetical order by program name, and includes both in-person training and webinars/online training.
|Program name(s)||Training provider(s) and links/contacts, approx costs||Recommended for|
|Corrective Reading – Decoding and Spelling Mastery||
||Catch-up learners of any age|
|Get Reading Right||Young beginners (about age 4-7)|
||Young beginners (about age 4-7)|
|Letters and Sounds||
|Lindamood-Bell Seeing Stars||
||Catch-up learners of any age|
|Little Learners Love Literacy||Maureen Pollard runs these workshops at/for ACER, cost is $75 for half a day (9.30am to 1.00pm). I call that a bargain.||Young beginners (about age 4-7)|
|Multilit||Multilit staff, their workshop calendar for the first half of 2016 is here. Pre-lit and MiniLit are for young beginners; their other programs are for catch-up learners. Most of the individual training costs about $480 per person per day, and most program materials are purchased separately.||Any age|
|Phonics International||UK Synthetic Phonics guru Debbie Heppelwhite has Phonics Training Online for AUD$194.61 (at today’s exchange rate, I just signed up) for 43 modules, with a total of 20 hours of videos. The course includes a 12-month licence of the Phonics International program. Another bargain.||Any age|
|Reading Doctor||Adelaide Speech Pathologist, literacy expert and app developer Dr Bartek Rajkowski will be running workshops around the country.||All ages|
|Read-Write Inc and Fresh Start||Liz Chapman is running a two-Saturdays workshop on 7 and 14 May in Brighton about these programs, click here for the flier. $160 per person per day.||Young beginners and catch-up learners|
|Sound Waves||Sound-Waves is an Australian whole-school spelling program with a focus on phonemic awareness and phonics, and has a training calendar.||Primary school students|
|Sounds~Write||Mary Gladstone is running a four-day Sounds~Write training in Melbourne in July, click here for the flyer. Cost is $175 per person per day, which includes the whole program apart from some decodable books and workbooks which can be purchased separately.||Any age|
|Spalding The Writing Road to Reading||Spalding Education Australia runs intensive 45-hour certificate courses, usually in the school holidays from 8am to 1pm, and also has an online 10-hour parent course, which can be done over 2-3 months. The certificate courses cost about $900 plus another $600 for materials (so ~$200 per person per day for everything). The parent course costs $60 plus $190 in materials (~$150 per person per day).|
|That Reading Thing||The UK’s Tricia Millar runs online training, which costs $259 plus p&p for a day of training and all program materials. Tricia and I have been discussing whether she can come to Australia to run training here this year, so please email me NOW if that’s of interest: firstname.lastname@example.org||Teenagers and adults|
|Write to Read||Marian Dunne from Write to Read is based in Melbourne and has upcoming courses. Her three-day Certificate 1 course costs $450 and her 5-day Certificate 2 course is $550, so the average per-day cost is $125.||All ages|
Melbourne Speech Pathologist Helen Botham also runs Cued Articulation workshops for teachers, both in person (in Melbourne) and online, which are a great way for teachers to improve their knowledge of the sounds of spoken English (phonology), and their understanding of how these sounds link with the letters that spell them.
The British Dyslexia Association also runs online training, which I’ve run out of time to research, but you can check it out here. SPELD SA also has a basic online course called “Teaching a Child to Read and Write“.
My “Understanding spelling well enough to explain it to kids” workshop at SPELD on March 17 has sold out, but if you want me to run it again, just say.
Also please note that the UK’s ResearchEd conference will be coming to Melbourne this year, on 21 May. It’s not specific to phonics but it will cover lots of interesting stuff about teaching and learning, and costs an incredible $25 to $60 per person, so should fit everyone’s PD budget.
If you know of a good synthetic phonics course I don’t have on this list, please tell me about it.