What Australian parents need to know about the reading wars

Filling the pail

Let me tell you a story.

Many years ago, there were two great armies. One army consisted of starry-eyed dreamers who believed in a whole language approach to teaching reading. The other army was made up of drill-em-and-kill-em phonics obsessives who mostly had a commercial interest in selling phonics programmes. These armies battled and skirmished until, one day, academics and bureaucrats negotiated a settlement. “Best practice involves a balance of approaches,” they proclaimed. And thus the sensible, pragmatic, utterly reasonable and measured ‘balanced literacy’ was born. And this is how we teach reading in Australia.

It’s a good story. It’s an uplifting story. But it’s a story nonetheless. And it is a story that has been manufactured quite deliberately.

Systematic synthetic phonics (SSP), the approach championed by those phonics obsessives, is supported by the best scientific evidence available. Despite the alternatives to SSP grabbing hold of words like ‘whole’ and…

View original post 381 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s