How children learn to read: reviewing the evidence

Teachers know that learning to read is fundamental to a child’s capacity to develop intellectually and to fully participate in school. The AEU is concerned that the issue of how children learn to read has become highly politicised recently, with federal education minister Simon Birmingham announcing last year that he wants to mandate a national phonics test for all children in their first year at school, which would in turn obligate teachers to use an approach to teaching reading known as synthetic phonics.

In the interests of encouraging a more balanced and informed discussion about how children learn to read, including the role of phonics, the (NSW Teachers Federation AEU Branch) commissioned a respected authority in the field, Professor Robyn Ewing of the University of Sydney, to write an independent paper that reviews the research.

We are pleased to make available to AEU members and the wider education community Professor Ewing’s paper, Exploding SOME of the myths about learning to read: A review of research on the role of phonics.

The approach to the teaching of reading supported in the paper reflects the Australian curriculum, making this publication a useful professional learning resource.

Further reading
Download Robyn Ewing’s paper here.