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Literacy & Reading

literacy [n.]

the ability to read and write.

reading [n.]

1. the action or skill of reading. 2. an instance of something being read to an audience. 3. an interpretation of a text. 4. a figure recorded on a measuring instrument. 5. a stage of debate in parliament through which a bill must pass before it can become law.
Oxford Dictionaries

Literacy is a crucial skill for survival in the modern world. The ability to read and write applies wherever you are and in any walk of life. Reading is an essential component of being literate. The development of Literacy and Reading, forms a significant part of education throughout life and applies to many kinds of literacy, all of which are based in on the capacity to read and understand.

This page looks at Literacy and Reading Development. It includes background information, statistics, innovations and more from Australia and overseas. Reading Development looks at different formats including the Phonics debate, Direct Instruction and Reading Recovery.

This page has been archived and is no longer being maintained.

The Second Page looks at Research and other Reading information including associations, Reading resources, software, more.

Reading Recommendations are now found on the Children’s Literature page.


Background information, statistics, the Australian scene, innovations, more.

Australian Sites

  • Australian Literacy Educators’ Association
    ‘Support and professional development to educators and others interested in literacy through international, national, state and regional conferences, workshops and seminars, journals, position papers, other publications’.
  • Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program
    ‘Better Beginnings supports parents in reading to children so that they build the early literacy skills they need to become good readers and succeed at school’.
  • Critical Literacy
    Access a range of articles and sites covering this topic.
  • LinguistLearning
    ‘Designed to save you time, money, effort when seeking reading, writing, grammar, spelling resources. This will help you reach your professional development goals much quicker’. The result of one Australian linguist and literacy specialist. Multiple sections.
  • Reading and Writing Hotline
    ‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.

Reports, Major Documents, Articles, etc.

Other Sites

  • 21st Century Literacies
    Reviews literacies from Basic Language to Mathematical, Cultural, Information. Each has a range of information in various forms - PDF, extracts, Power Point, web page, etc..
  • 30 Storytelling Tips For Educators
    ‘If a teacher becomes an excellent storyteller, he or she can ensure that any concept they teach will be remembered for years to come’.
  • Kids and Family Reading Report
    ‘Kids age 5-17 believe technology will supplement - not replace - book reading and say they will always want to read books printed on paper’. This is the January, 2015 Report.
  • Literacy Learning Progressions
    Done for the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. PDF download available.
  • Literacy Assessment Online
    ‘Rapidly assess pupils’ literacy standards, Measure intervention effectiveness. Track progress over time. Quickly gain an insight into literacy standards across your school’. While UK Based, some Australian teachers who have discovered the site are now applying for accounts.
    ‘Your source for research and development on literacy in the U.S. and worldwide’.
  • Literacy Resources on The Internet
    International Association of School Librarianship. Well annotated links to resources, information.
  • The Literacy Shed
    ‘The Literacy Shed is home to a wealth of visual resources that I have collected over my 10 year career as a primary school teacher. I trawl YouTube, Vimeo and other sites looking for suitable resources to use in the sheds. The aim is to provide high quality resources that can be used in stand alone literacy lessons’.

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Reading Development

Direct Instruction

A specific instructional format now being used in a number of Indigenous settings in particular. It is not a new idea in Australia, but has been out of favour for some time, and certainly more popular in a number of other countries.

  • Direct Instruction
    University of Kansas. Clear description, with links to Case Studies and Teacher Tools.
  • Direct Instruction and the teaching of Reading
    2014, The Conversation. Looks at what it is, several responses to its use and where it is being used.
  • Five Meanings of Direct Instruction
    A synthesis by Barak Rosenshine. A more technical presentation, but covers all areas well.
  • On Explicit and Direct Instruction
    ALEA. What they are; what the literacy says; a series of propositions and responses.
  • What is Direct Instruction ?
    Canadian. ‘Presents a short description of the three main evidence-based types of direct instruction, some of the reading programs most associated with them and examples of research showing how direct instruction has helped struggling readers improve their reading skills’.

Guided Reading

Different to the Direct Instruction format above. The links below provide a clear description of this.


Structured reading program based on phonics, sight word recognition, supported book reading.

  • An Evaluation of Multilit
    “Making Up Lost Time In Literacy”.
  • MiniLit Program [MultiLit]
    ‘An evidence-based, effective and cost-effective early literacy program. 80 carefully structured lessons, divided into two levels of forty lessons each’.
  • MultiLit
    Information about the program[s], including costs, for parents and schools.
  • MultiLit [YouTube]
    A series of short videos covering reviews and specific sections.
  • Research Publications
    Books, chapters, articles, materials, research reports, conference papers.


Many do not advocate use of phonics in reading. Some children benefit, especially when used in conjunction with other methods. With learning being individual, If it works - use it !.

  • A Systematic Review of the Research Literature
    On the Use of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading and Spelling. ‘Based on evidence from randomised controlled trials’. Department of Education, UK. archived.
  • NRRF - Phonics
    ‘The National Right to Read Foundation - Phonics - It Works !’
  • Phonics Resources, Web English Teacher
  • Review of Early Reading
    The Rose Review. ‘Provided clear recommendations on what constitutes high quality phonics work. These recommendations were also summarised in the Core Position Paper’. UK.
  • Synthetic Phonics
    What it is; research, Analytic Phonics v Synthetic Phonics; glossary; further reading, Phonics in the Curriculum [including Australian Curriculum]; free and fee-based resources, more

Phonics or Whole Language ?

Over recent years there has been heated discussion about which is best. If people think about it, both can be of value. The approach selected Must take into account the needs and capacities of each individual student. These sites give input to this discussion.

Reading Development

  • Reading Stages
    ‘Chall proposed six developmental stages that describe how children typically learn to read, as summarised in table below’.
  • Stages of Development
    Four stages are detailed.
  • Stages of Reading Development
    Simple presentation from a US school district. Includes suggestions for parents on how to support their development. See right menu for stages.
  • Techniques for Teaching Reading Effectively
    Includes ‘Reading 101; Who’s at risk for not learning to read; What else matters in teaching reading such as classroom management, differentiated instruction/grouping, working with parents, Glossary of basic terms in reading instruction’.
  • Three Stages of Reading
    ‘The Three Stages Of Reading strategy involves teaching students to delve into text’. Covers the Before, During, After periods related to reading.

Reading Recovery

‘An early literacy intervention program providing intensive, individual help for children with difficulties in learning to read and write’. State & Territory links included.

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