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Explainer: what is phonics and why is it important?

Hua-Chen Wang writes in The Conversation (17.1.17) about the role of a phonics-based approach in teaching children to read, summarising some of the recent debate in Australia about this method's effectiveness.

'The efficacy of phonics as a method of teaching has been debated for several decades, and has recently come back to the forefront of public debate.

'This time, the focus is on the phonics check – a screening tool designed to identify early readers who may be in need of intervention, and provide some indication of how successful current phonics teaching methods are. The UK has been using the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) since 2012, and now there is a push to implement a trial of the same check in Australia. This has raised some concerns.

'So what’s the fuss about phonics?'

The recent phonics debate - and a TJRF response

The Conversation recently featured arguments from some proponents of the phonics instruction approach. In response, TJRF Research Associate, John Dungan, provided a rejoinder to sections of their claims.


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