Fogarty Learning Centre, Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Joondalup, Western Australia
School of Education, Fogarty Learning Centre
The Yorke and Mid North - Roxby Downs Area School (YMN-RDAS) Literacy Project in 2013 was largely an extension of the literacy project conducted with the YMN region of the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development in 2012. The 2012 project outcomes were very positive (see Konza, 2013) and funding was made available for continuation of the main elements of the project with another cohort of primary schools in 2013. As was the case with the YMN 2012 project, it was designed to ‘value-add’ to the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) project which had been implemented in the region over the previous three years, and to build a critical mass of skilled teachers in a region that usually scored below average in reading on NAPLAN assessments.
The focus was again to develop the capacity of primary teachers and School Support Officers (SSOs) to deliver a synthetic phonics program to beginning and struggling readers. The results of the 2012 project confirmed that a synthetic phonics approach that teaches the alphabetic code or phonics - the letter-sound relationships that underpin the English language – explicitly and systematically, and in an order that promotes blending (or synthesizing), accelerated the progress of most early readers. The results were consistent with the findings of all major reports into literacy development over the past 15 years (DEST, 2005; Johnson & Watson, 2003; Johnson & Watson, 2005; NICHHD, 2000; Rose, 2006).