The science of reading

Scientific research for the effective teaching of reading

National and international assessments indicate that about one quarter of Australian students achieve literacy results at or below the minimum standards. This is a real concern for confidence and further learning.

We highly recommend Kerry Hempenstall's excellent article - Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading. It is a must read for everyone interested in how and why to teach reading. It is extremely comprehensive and easy to read.

We have created our resources from the scientific evidence. In 2016 we conducted two formative assessments in order to see whether Little Learners Love Literacy® is an effective whole classroom approach. At Westgarth Primary 75% of Prep students were reading at LLLL Stage 7 (assessed on unseen text without illustrations). We loved the way the students knew exactly which phonemes and graphemes they had learnt and we also were thrilled they could discuss the different sounds the grapheme 'y' represents at the end of one-syllable and two-syllable words. Also read about impact at New Gisborne Primary School. by visiting the Case Study page.

We are passionate about literacy research and use the evidence to inform our practice and resources.

For further reading please look at the following:
Websites and Blogs: • Pamela Snow • Stephen Parker • Spelfabet
Key papers: • (2000) National Reading Panel • (2005) The National Inquiry into Teaching of Literacy • (2006) The Rose Report • (2016) Read about it • (2016) Why Phonics • (2018) Ending the Reading Wars

Scientific research for the effective teaching of reading

Researchers Gough and Tumner proposed their model in 1986 - the Simple View of Reading.

It shows that reading can be represented as two co-dependent skill sets – word recognition (decoding) and language (or linguistic) comprehension. Reading is a product of word recognition and language comprehension (0x1=0), and both are required for successful reading.

We highly recommend neuroscientist Stanislas Deheane’s books and YouTube videos summarising his research and evidence on how we read and how we learn. His work using brain imaging has shown (among other things) how the brain processes letter strings matching them to speech sounds (decoding) – even as adults we do this, but it is so automatic we don’t realise.

In 2000, in the largest, most comprehensive evidenced-based review ever conducted of research on how children learn to read, the USA National Reading Panel (NRP) presented its findings. The specific areas the NRP noted as crucial for reading instruction were phonemic instruction, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The recommendations were that students must be taught these areas explicitly and systematically.