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:
- 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.
- Read all about it: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading by Melbourne’s own living encyclopaedia of the reading science, Dr Kerry Hempenstall, is freely available.
- Essentials of Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by David Kilpatrick, is a useful, practical text, and Dr Kilpatrick has also co-edited a 2019 book called Reading Development and Difficulties.
- 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, which was out of print but seems to be available again.
- Articles by Louisa Moats (many available free online – just search by title and author). Two video lectures by Dr Moats are here and here.
- Language at the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg.
- The US-based Reading League has a Science of Reading: Defining Guide website, a podcast and list of recommended books here. We have most of these books at the Spelfabet office, if you’re local and want to browse them, and we also have all Lyn Stone’s books.
- To find academic research on any topic, search on the key words using Google Scholar. This will usually show you a list of articles of relevance, and you’ll be able to read the abstracts, plus many academics are now making their work freely available online. Authors are also often willing to share their articles if contacted directly.
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.
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.