We are pleased to announce the first three speakers in this webinar series…
The first conversation with Carl Hendrick will be released at 3:00pm AWST (5:00pm AEST) on Tuesday 22 September.
If you have colleagues or friends who would like to view the Talking Literacy series, please encourage them to register via:
Registered participants will receive an email link and access code to watch each webinar when it goes live on the scheduled date. If you are not able to view the webinar on the day of its release, please feel free to view (or listen to) the webinars via the link at a time convenient to you.
Carl Hendrick is the co-author of two books: What Does This Look Like in the Classroom: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice and How Learning Happens – Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice. He holds a PhD in education from King’s College and lives in Berkshire, England where he teaches English at Wellington College.
Understanding Learning Difficulties: A practical guide
A comprehensive, evidence-based reference of strategies to assist students with learning difficulties.
This booklet, in conjunction with the enclosed CD, is designed to provide principals, teachers and school psychologists throughout Australia, with a greater awareness and understanding of the significant impact learning disabilities can have on students, and to outline the most effective remediation and accommodation strategies available to them in the classroom.
The CD contains a copy of the Guide plus a wide range of effective resources and strategies, all of which can be saved and printed for use throughout the school.
To purchase a copy of the guide please visit our resources information page.
Understanding Learning Difficulties: A guide for parents
Many parents or carers notice that their child is struggling at school but are unsure about the steps they should take. This Guide is designed to answer some of these questions. It has been developed to provide parents and carers with current information about the nature of learning disabilities and to offer practical guidance on the most appropriate identification and support.
To purchase a copy of the guide please visit our resources information page.
Earlier this year the Federal Government established a review of the process and development of the Australian National Curriculum.
Professor Ken Wiltshire AO, the J.D.Story Professor of Public Administration and Leader of the Not for Profit Unit at The University of Queensland Business School, along with Dr Kevin Donnelly, Executive Director of the Education Standards Institute and Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, were appointed to carry out The Review.
The Review of the Australian Curriculum Final Report was released in October 2014 and three weeks later the Initial Response from the Australian Federal Government was also released.
AUSPELD welcomed The Review as it shows encouraging amounts support for the explicit and systematic teaching of phonics when it comes to early literacy. Although the teaching of phonics is already referenced in the Australian National Curriculum; submissions to The Review of the Australian National Curriculum outlined a need to increase the Curriculum’s emphasis and detailed guidance on phonics. As a result The Review noted the following recommendation:
The Australian Curriculum: English should be revised to place greater emphasis on a more structured and systematic phonics and phonemic awareness approach during the early years of reading.
The full Review of the Australian National Curriculum, the Federal Government’s Response to The Review as well as all submissions considered in writing The Review can be downloaded through StudentFirst website. See; http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/review-australian-curriculum
SPELD (SA) along with the Dyslexia Action Group – Barossa, Gawler and Surrounds have gained some much needed recognition in parliament through Member for Light, Tony Piccolo. Below is a speech made by Tony Piccolo MP to the South Australian parliament on the 28th of March 2012.
Mr PICCOLO (Light) (16:09):
Today, I would like to bring to the house’s attention a public meeting
which took place last week in my electorate. The public meeting was organised by the Dyslexia
Action Group, Barossa, Gawler and surrounds. At the outset I would like to acknowledge the
wonderful work undertaken by Dr Sandra Marshall and Ophie Renner. Ophie was the Gawler Citizen
of the Year this year and also the South Australian Citizen of the Year. These two people, with a small
group of volunteers, have been very active in bringing the issue of dyslexia to the attention of the
local community and also ensuring that particular children with dyslexia are given a fair go in the
I had the honourand the privilege to be asked to chairthe forum, both last week and an
earlier forum late last year. The forum was attended by a number of parents, teachers and other
community members and both forums have had capacity crowds, so there are a lot of children in our
community, and obviously families who are concerned about their children’s development because
they have the disability of dyslexia.
The forum, apart from myself who actually chaired the session, was also attended by the local
mayor, mayor Brian Sambell, who spoke about some of the positive outcomes for young people in
addressing the issue of dyslexia. Ms Angela Weeks, the Clinical Director of Specific Learning
Difficulties of South Australia (SPELD), gave a presentation on the importance of goal setting for
students with dyslexia and also provided some explicit strategies that teachers could implement to
support those students. Ms Sandy Russo, a teacher at SPELD, presented information about assistive
learning technologies that were available to assist students with dyslexia to access and participate
successfully at school and also in the home environment. She talked about the use of MP3 players,
digital recording devices, computers, software, etc., which actually help students learn.
The local Barossa regional director for education, Kathryn Bruggemann, talked about the need
for teachers to have an understanding of dyslexia and the impact of the condition on their selfesteem
and learning outcomes for young people diagnosed with dyslexia. She spoke from personal
experience. She has a child who actually suffers from dyslexia, so she has quite a passion to address
this issue. Julie Aschberger, who works in the department, talked about some new initiatives that
the department was introducing to roll out a greater awareness of dyslexia in the classroom and also
how teachers can actually support students and how they can just change their teaching style, which
not only helps students with dyslexia but the mainstream class as well because those styles are
adaptable for both.
lngrid Alderton, again another person from the department, spoke about dyslexia-friendly
school packs, which is a UK initiative to support students with dyslexia in the classroom. The point
was made that education is actually managed differently in the UK, where local authorities have a lot
more say. Therefore, there is actually a different approach to students with disabilities. Mr Dave
Pisoni, the opposition spokesperson, also attended the meeting. He provided, if you like, a Liberal
Party’s opinion on where education is in this state, and I will let him talk about that more. I do not
need to use my time to discuss it here.
At the end of the meeting, as chair of the session, I was asked to have a discussion with the .
people present and talk about what sort of things they wanted at future meetings. The people who
attended indicated they wanted more information about other learning difficulties, ways of
supporting students with dyslexia and special provisions particularly around the SACE program to
ensure that their children have the best opportunities through not only education but also training.
There were suggestions about some smaller specific interest groups being formed to explore and
address issues and to build the knowledge of attendees. There were a number of parents who would
like to know what they can do to support their child in the home.
There was a really positive mood in the forum; in other words, a focus on what we can do to
help our young children, particularly with early intervention, how to support them and how to help
them maintain their self-esteem so they do not actually lose interest in their education, which has
been a problem in the past. Kids who have not coped with the mainstream program have actually
opted out, which is unfortunate because, obviously, those children would have had a lot of potential
which has not been realised.
The students also talked about how we actually help with transition because, in private
schools, children often have one teacher and, in secondary education, they might have multiple
teachers. A whole range of issues was raised but it was a very well-attended forum. I also indicate
the government’s support to help these children.
This award winning website is targeted at providing assistance to parents of all children and contains some very useful information on how to help parents support children with learning difficulties. With interactive tutorials, discussion forums and an extraordinary amount of information this website will help any parent, not just those of children with learning difficulties, with the many challenges of raising children.
raisingchildren.net.au has already supported many parents, to see if it can help you please follow a relevant link below;
FOUR years after the national inquiry into teaching reading, one Australian government has finally embraced the key recommendation that children be taught the sounds that make up words as an essential first step in learning to read.
The NSW government has released literacy teaching guides incorporating the latest research evidence on the best way to teach reading.
The guides mandate that children from the first years of school be explicitly taught the sounds of letters and how to blend and manipulate sounds to form words in daily 10 to 20-minute sessions.
The guides set out key principles for teachers to follow in reading instruction, stipulating that phonics need to be taught to a level where children can automatically recall the knowledge.
They also debunk “common myths” about phonics that “have almost become accepted as truths”, including that “phonics knowledge is caught, not taught” or that having a sound of the week is an effective way of teaching.
Devised in response to the 2005 national review on teaching reading, the NSW guidelines were yesterday lauded as the benchmark for the rest of the country.
A bitter debate has raged for the past three decades over the teaching of reading, with the proponents of phonics pitted against those favouring the “whole language” method, which emphasises other skills instead of sounding words.
Whole language advocates encourage students faced with an unfamiliar word to look at the other words in the sentence, the picture on the page or the shape of the letters rather than by “sounding out” the word. The national review, released after an inquiry led by the late educational researcher Ken Rowe, was one of three large international studies in the past decade to examine all the evidence about teaching reading, including an earlier US report and Britain’s Rose report, completed in 2006.
All three reviews concluded the same thing, that teaching children phonics and how to blend sounds to make words was a necessary first step in learning to read, but not the only skill required.
The Australian inquiry was prompted by a letter from reading researchers and cognitive psychologists, many based at Macquarie University, concerned about the state of literacy teaching in the nation.
One of the signatories to the letter, Macquarie University professor Max Coltheart, yesterday said the NSW guides were entirely consistent with the recommendations of the reading inquiry and that “Ken Rowe would have been delighted”.
Professor Coltheart called on the other states and territories to follow NSW’s lead.
Jim Rose, author of the British report and now reviewing the English primary curriculum for the British government, praised the NSW guides for “establishing the essential importance of phonics”.
“It provides some firm guidance for principals and teachers rather than leaving them to reinvent reading instruction, school by school,” Sir Jim said.
The assistant principal and kindergarten teacher at Miranda Public School in Sydney’s south, Susan Orlovich, has already started using the guides in teaching her students. “For the first time, we have really clear materials and guidelines for setting up an early literacy program that’s integrated and balanced but ensures we also teach phonics and phonemic awareness explicitly and systematically,” she said.
Ms Orlovich said the guides had struck the right balance between teaching the skills necessary to sound out words and decode the alphabet, and comprehension with students being able to write their own words.
They also gave teachers strategies for students at different stages in recognition that some already understand the phonemic basis of language.
“Some kids can learn with whole language, and make those connections and do phonemic substitution, so if they know how to write ‘look’, they can write ‘book’,” she said.
“Some kids are able to make that substitution without being taught, but for other students, you need to teach them explicitly, make it visual for them.”
In an interview with The Australian during a visit to Australia last week, Sir Jim said the simple view of reading was that it had two dimensions, comprehension and word recognition.
While teaching sounds is often denigrated by the whole language side of the reading debate as a decoding skill unnecessary to be able to read, Sir Jim said it was essential children knew how the alphabet worked and that it was a code to be understood.
“It’s not just barking at print, although that is a stage you go through,” he said.
Professor Coltheart, said he understood the new national English curriculum being written would include extensive material on the teaching of phonics in the early years of school, including phonemic awareness in the first year.
“This alignment between the national curriculum and the NSW guides for teachers is going to be of enormous benefit for the state’s young children. I hope other states will be following in NSW’s footsteps,” he said.
Sir Jim said the reading debate was a false dichotomy and the two sides had more in common than the extremists were prepared to recognise.
“A picture has emerged from the research that is overwhelmingly clear; I can’t see any conflict, they’re closer than they admit,” he said.
“I don’t understand why they can’t accept good evidence that would enrich both sides.”
The NSW Education Department has produced two guides, one focused specifically on phonics and a companion guide on phonemic awareness, or the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.
In response to the myth that phonics knowledge is “caught, not taught”, the guide says letter-sound correspondences are arbitrary and therefore difficult to discover without explicit teaching.
“Left to chance or inference alone, many students would acquire phonics knowledge too slowly or fail to learn it at all,” itsays.
Another myth debunked is that teaching phonics impedes student comprehension by having them rely too much on “decoding” rather than “reading for meaning”, resulting in students “barking at print” without understanding what they’re reading.
“Effective phonics teaching supports students to readily recognise and produce familiar words accurately and effortlessly and to identify and produce words that are new to them. Developing automatic word recognition will support and enhance students’ comprehension skills,” the guide says.
- Justine Ferrari, Education writer
- From: The Australian
- September 29, 2009