Welcome to ‘Phonics The Key To Successful Reading’ Blog, a blog for teachers, parents and educators interested in the teaching of successful reading.
Why am I passionate about reading? I believe that being a successful reader is the most important educational outcome from our primary education. Reading is a very complex process by nature and there has been decades of debate as to the best means of teaching children to read and herein lies our problem; what are the best methods to teach children to read?
Throughout my teaching and tutoring careers I have repeatedly witnessed that phonics, phonological awareness and phonemic awareness are the base for reading success. These skills are where I am consistently spending my time revising and reteaching. These skills lead to better reading fluency, increased vocabulary and good reading comprehension and ultimately of course, successful reading.
In 2005 the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) (2005) emphasised the importance of such phonics instruction ‘……. children during the early years of
schooling must first master the alphabetic code via systematic, explicit and intensive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and
reading comprehension strategies. Because these are foundational and essential skills for the development of competence in reading, writing and spelling, they
must be taught early, explicitly, and taught well’. (DEST, 2005, p.25)
There is much debate as to the best methods of teaching phonics however most studies highlight the importance of the explicit, thorough and systematic teaching of phonics.
Peter Westwood in his book ‘What Teachers Need To Know About Reading and Writing Difficulties’ claims that there are approximately 7 million Australians experiencing problems with everyday literacy. This reinforces the urgency of an overhaul of our methods of teaching reading and most importantly the focus in early childhood on teaching phonics/phonemic and phonological awareness systematically and explicitly.
I believe that the power of such improved instruction will assist more children to become successful readers and ultimately assist in lessening the educational disadvantage gap.