You can find key information about what science has discovered about how we learn to read and spell, and how to teach reading and spelling, here:
- Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition from Novice to Expert by Profs Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle and Kate Nation reviews the science of learning to read and recommends instruction that is scientifically, developmentally and linguistically informed. Related articles and videos are here, here and here, and my blog post about a Prof Rastle seminar is here.
- Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene. Watch him on video here and here, and my blog post about a Prof Dehaene seminar is here.
- Effective reading Instruction in the early years of school is a plain-English, 18-page 2017 report and audio file by NSW’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.
- Essentials of Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by David Kilpatrick.
- Journalist Emily Hanford’s 2018 audio documentary “Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?” is about the US, but Australian universities also typically fail to teach teachers how to teach reading well. Hanford’s NY Times article “Why are we still teaching reading the wrong way?” is also relevant to Australia.
- Language at the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg.
- Reading for Life by Lyn Stone.
- Early Reading Instruction: What science really tells us about how to teach reading, by Diane McGuinness. By the same author is Language Development and Learning to Read, now out of print, but available as a free pdf here.
- The International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI).
- Articles by Louisa Moats (many available free online – just search by title and author). Two video lectures by Dr Moats are here and here.
- Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf.
- AUSPELD and its state-based affiliates have research information on their websites, or try the easy-to-read Understanding Learning Difficulties: A Guide for Parents website.
- Learning Difficulties Australia’s website
- The Five from Five website
- The Reading League website
- The Children of the Code website
- Outside the Square’s Australian films about dyslexia, now free on Youtube.
- Association for Direct Instruction
- LD Online, and in particular this article.
- Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy Network – online network of professionals seeking to close the gap between research and practice in literacy teaching.
- SpellTalk listserve: US-based professional discussion group about spelling, a good source of information about current research.
- UK teacher Susan Godsland’s website www.dyslexics.org.uk is a cornucopia of useful information and links in a plain English style.
- Parker Phonics is an easy-to-read US blog containing a lot of useful information from research.
How literate are Australians? Recent large-scale international studies suggest that far too many Australians are struggling with reading and spelling.
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 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.
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.
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.
Two of Australia’s most respected reading scientists wrote a paper in 2007 called Learning to Read in Australia, which remains very relevant.
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.