Here are a few links to key information about the science of reading. This page is in no way comprehensive (the field is huge) but I hope it is an accessible start:

Literacy statistics

How literate are Australians? Recent large-scale international studies suggest that far too many Australians are struggling with reading and spelling. Click here for more information and links to these studies.

National Inquiries

National inquiries into the teaching of reading have been held in Australia, the UK and the USA.

All the reports are online so you can read them yourself – click here for the links and what I regard as a few key excerpts.

Dyslexia reports

Dyslexia is part of Specific Learning Disability in the latest edition of the diagnostic manual used by medical and allied professions (DSM-5). In Australia and the UK there have been recent reports describing about the difficulties and needs of people with decoding problems. Click here for more information and the relevant links.

Literature reviews

A useful literature review on literacy-teaching in Australia was published by ACER in 2002, called Closing the gap between research and practice – foundations for the acquisition of literacy.

Scottish Studies – Clackmannanshire and West Dunbartonshire

Two key, long-term studies into literacy-teaching methodology in Scotland have been published in recent years and are worth highlighting – one conducted in Clackmannanshire and one in West Dunbartonshire. Click here for a brief overview and links to their reports.

Exercise caution

It’s often hard to know whether or not an approach is backed up by good evidence. Click here for more information to help you figure out what is likely to be effective, and what isn’t.


5 thoughts on “Research

  1. Helen Johnson

    Hi Alison,

    I enjoyed your talk at the LDA presentation of Maryanne Wolf. I remember you showed a review of research, from memory, about Levelled Literacy Intervention showing that it does not make much of an impact. Could you please send me this link?
    I am an LDA consultant member who is doing Year One intervention in a school that has purchased all the F&P kits (against my recommendation). I have said it does not have good results and the head of English would like to see where I’ve got that idea from because she has only heard positive things!!

    Kind regards,

    1. alison Post author

      Hi Helen, I put the links to the things I was talking about at the Wolf seminar in this blog post:

      The F&P publicity all says that it’s research/evidence-based, but if you look at THEIR OWN RESEARCH (published on their website but not in a peer-reviewed journal, so whether we really call it research anyway is arguable), it found that improvements that could be attributed to the program were not statistically significant, see But they bury this in a lot of verbiage explaining this away, and a lot of glossy marketing, because they know teachers are not taught how to critically evaluate research.

      All the best, Alison C

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