Teachers need help to teach literacy

The Problem with Reading It’s estimated that between 10% to 16% of children aged from five to 16 years will have reading difficulties such as dyslexia and inadequate comprehension skills. For these students, regular literacy teaching will be insufficient. They need alternative teaching pathways. Despite numerous initiatives, such as the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership, and the A$706.3 million spent between 2008-2014 on reading programs to support students, literacy underachievement continues to plague Australian education, suggesting that current interventions are not working for many students. Teachers don’t necessarily know how to teach these children and it isn’t the teacher’s fault. The problem is not a lack of research about what works. The problem is not a lack of caring teachers (they care more than many parents know)! It is more the lack of guidance for teachers and schools and inadequate training in how to use this knowledge in teaching. They need clear and explicit instruction on how to choose effective literacy interventions that will work for students and the tools to implement these interventions so that they work for teachers as well. Why do students struggle with reading? Reading comprehension is an incredibly complex process. There are two key elements to reading though: decoding and comprehension. Decoding involves being able to break apart and blend together the sounds in a word, understand the sounds that make up spoken words and knowing which letter makes which sound in what context (phonological and phonemic skills), using letter patterns accurately (phonic skills) and sequence letter and sounds correctly. Difficulties with these skills lead to word reading and spelling difficulties, or dyslexia. Reading...