Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh, my goodness, we have slipped!

Oh, my goodness, we have slipped!

At the end of last year international comparisons of student reading levels revealed that Australia had slipped - we are now 27th out of the 50 countries mentioned in the report. This has come as a shock considering Australia's previous high ranking in reading performance within the OECD countries, as reported through the Programme for Student Assessment (PISA) over recent years.

In my last blog entitled 'A decade of lost action in reading; Let's get some balance!' I commented on an earlier article by the Weekend Australian that reflected the shock and horror that rippled through the media, educational establishments, and the public in general. It was obvious that some reactionaries were looking for someone or something to blame, such as the whole language approach to reading,  teacher educators, universities, and who ever else they could possibly think of. The Rowe (or Nelson) Report (2005) was cited as having the answers, however, many of the report's recommendations were never implemented.

The Weekend Australian (19-20th January) article entitled 'Rowe inquiry spelled out how children can be taught to excel in reading' seems to have put this very emotional reaction into some rational perspective. In this article Gregor Ramsey, a prominent Australian educationalist, gives some balance to this debate. He acknowledges the importance of the Rowe Report and articulates that the report focused on both phonics and whole-language strategies as part of a balanced approach to the teaching of reading.

He reminds us that the report viewed parents as having a key role in the development of children's reading outcomes. The question is, "Are parents more involved with teaching reading than they were in 2005?" Possibly not much more!

Generally, research shows that greater parental involvement in assisting children with reading at home will improve their children's reading outcomes. For family tutoring programs to be effective schools need to identify productive home literacy practices and give the necessary training and ongoing support for parents and care givers. Successful family reading programs will help children to read more effectively while fostering positive home and school cultures that promote cooperation and the sharing of resources between homes and schools.

Visit my video interview, "Tutoring: Collaborative approaches to assisted Reading." and also see my blog series called '10 Principles for Assisting Reading" for some tips on how to assist reading at home or at school.


  1. we as parents should inspire a love of reading in children and also make them read more and more.
    It is important to care about it especially when we want to make a child excel at reading.

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