Why Code REaD are FIGHTING for the Year 1 Phonics Check

“He’s a boy”

“You haven’t read to her enough”

“One day it will just click!”

These are some of the reasons parents are given for why their child is struggling to read.

It’s not good enough!

We know if a child is not reading by grade 3, they have a 75% chance of never learning to read to a proficient level. Time is of the essence!

Literacy is a human right. It is implicit in the right to education. It is recognised as a right in international conventions. It is included in key international declarations.

Yet Australia has an estimated 440 000 students reading at only minimal standards or less! Code REaD view this as a human rights issue.

With literacy being one of the strongest predictors of life success, why isn’t reading taken more seriously?

The science of reading shows irrefutably that the most effective way to teach reading is through the use of systematic and explicit phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Feedback from the South Australian Phonics Check pilot showed that teachers liked it and students needed it, with just 43% of students demonstrating that they met the expected achievement level of correctly decoding 28 words or more out of 40.

This data contradicts the claims made by many, that things are fine, that teachers are already teaching phonics, and that there is no need for the check.

In comparison, the figure from England demonstrates that now 81% of students reach expected levels, whereas it was only 58% in 2012 when the Phonics Check was first introduced. The Phonics Check has led to stronger phonics teaching in England, and year-on-year the average results for children reaching or exceeding the benchmark have increased significantly.

The Year 1 Phonics Check is NOT a high stakes test, it is a simple, one on one assessment by the classroom teacher with the student that demonstrates how well the student can decode words. It should be used to inform teachers, the school and where appropriate parents, so that additional evidence-based instruction and interventions can be implemented. It is NOT designed to be used as a measure of the schools’ performance or published in a National or State-based league table.

Early identification of reading difficulties is essential in order to curtail the long tail of literacy failure. The Phonics Check will identify students at risk, quickly, easily and most importantly EARLY.

This is why Code Read Dyslexia Network Australia strongly advocates for the Year 1 Phonics Check to be mandated in EVERY Australian primary school.

With thanks to our Alliance Partners The Five from Five Reading Project, for this video.