International Studies

 

Studies and articles that shed light on the state of reading around the world.

Training in research-based practices

 

International Studies

PIRLS Before Swine or Why Australia Sucks at Reading (Wheldall K 2013) Notes from Harefield.

The alarming results of the 2011 PIRLS international study for Australia and New Zealand are compared with results in other countries where basing reading instruction on scientific evidence has been taken more seriously.

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Reading Into Reading Recovery (Patterson R 2013) The New Zealand Initiative

Rose Patterson summarises the concerns of Chapman and Tumner in their critique of Reading Recovery in New Zealand, and challenges complaceny about the effectiveness of the programme and the national approach to teaching reading in general. 

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Reading Recovery and the failure of the New Zealand national literacy strategy (Tunmer W E, Chapman J W, Greaney K T, Prochnow J E and Arrow A W 2013) Learning Difficulties Australia 45: 3

In the wake of the results of the 2011 PIRLS international literacy comparison, Tunmer and Chapman responded to the lack of progress in New Zealand literacy between 2001 - 2011 with this critical report on Reading Recovery and a national approach to teaching reading uninformed by scientific findings on teaching reading.

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Literacy and Numeracy Interventions in the Early Years of Schooling: a literature review (Australian Council for Educational Research 2013)

This report found that there was very little long- or short-term evidence to support the use of most literacy and numeracy interventions in early years schooling in Australia. The report recommends that such evidence should be collected, reported and disseminated widely, and that teachers’ ability to evaluate and make use if research should be strengthened.

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Why poor children are more likely to become poor readers: The school years. (Buckingham J, Wheldall K & Beaman-Wheldall R 2013): Australian Journal of Education 57(3) 190-213
This thorough and lucid literature review explores the relationships between low SES (socio-economic status) and other factors that impact on reading. The authors conclude that literacy potential can be supressed by environmental factors and that the combined effect of multiple factors is amplified rather than additive. The presence of multiple SES-related factors in a student’s life is not a reason for lowering expectations of the student, but an imperative for teachers to adopt the most effective methods of instruction.

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Teaching Children to Read (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 2009)
This lucid summary of the state of literacy education in 2009 highlights issues still not yet resolved: the lack of a systematic, good-quality evidence base for interventions, especially at secondary school; and the need to establish much more thorough professional development on reading development and how to intervene successfully with struggling readers. Such professional development should be made available to English teachers, teachers of other subjects, and LSAs.

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Nearly one in four boys at state school has special needs, statistics show (Dixon H 2013): The Telegraph
The large and volatile numbers of students identified as having special educational needs led to claims that schools were resorting to labelling in order to disguise poor teaching. Others said that teachers were trying to get more resources for students. But how can a quarter of the school population have “special” needs?

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Education at a Glance 2014 – OECD Indicators (OECD 2014)

A fascinating snapshot of educational achievement of 25 – 64-year-olds across the OECD. Specific tables on literacy proficiency are on pp 50 – 52. Note that national figures may encompass significant regional variations within each country.

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School literacy hour is a flop, say academics (Lightfoot L 2005) The Telegraph

A news report from 2005 contrasting the success of synthetic phonics in Clackmannanshire with the lack of progress under the Literacy Hour. A key question is how much the classroom has changed since.

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Almost 40% of army recruits have reading age of 11, MPs warn (Sellgren K 2013) BBC Education News

What happens to those who leave school without sufficient literacy? Apparently quite a lot of them go into the armed forces at age 16 and 17 – with the skills of an 11-year-old.

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Training in research-based practices