Research Justifications For The Foundation of READ's Early Childhood Literacy Program

The most effective way to develop accurate and fluent word identification is to learn the code of written English through being taught phonics – the relationships between sounds in speech and the letter patterns in written words – especially through an explicit teaching method called systematic synthetic phonics…The proportion of students reaching the expected standard in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check in England has increased each year since its introduction, and the number of students failing to achieve the expected standard in Year 2 reading tests has fallen by one-third over the same period.  The attainment gap associated with socioeconomic disadvantage has also narrowed.  - Focus on Phonics: Why Australia Should Adopt the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, Jennifer Buckingham, The Center for Independent Studies - Research Report 22, Sydney, Australia, 2016

The synthetic phonics program was by far the most effective in developing literacy skills…It can be concluded that the synthetic phonics program led children from lower socio-economic backgrounds performing at the same level as children from advantaged backgrounds for most of their time in primary school. – A Seven Year Study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment, Insight 17, Scottish Executive Education Department, February 11, 2005

There is much convincing evidence to show from the practice observed that, as generally understood, “synthetic” phonics is the form of systematic phonic work that offers the vast majority of beginners the best route to becoming skilled readers…Having considered a wide range of evidence, the review has concluded that the systematic phonic work is overwhelming and much strengthened by a synthetic approach. – Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading, Sir Jim Rose, Doctor of Laws – Former Director of Inspection for the Office of Standards in Education, England, 2006

In a study, Dr Marlynne Grant, an educational psychologist, analysed the performance of pupils from a Roman Catholic primary school who were taught to read using synthetic phonics from the reception year upwards. The school was designated for children from Irish traveler families and had high levels of special educational needs.  The research found that by the time children reached year two – aged seven – they had a reading age 28 months ahead of what would normally be expected. They were also 21 months ahead in spelling.  Some children were so advanced that they could read as well as the average 13-year-old, it emerged.  The poorest children were an average of two years above their chronological reading age compared with other deprived children, while boys were three years ahead of national averages.  Dr Grant, a committee member of the Reading Reform Foundation, said: “The message from this research is clear – if you are delivering systematic synthetic phonics in a rigorous way, these are the kind of results you can get. – Children Taught to Read Using Phonics “Two Years Ahead” By Age Seven, Graeme Paton – Education Editor, The Telegraph, London, England

It has been found in a number of studies that preschool children with well-developed phonological awareness turn out to be better readers later on…Children trained for 20 minutes a day for 16 weeks had reading levels seven months ahead of what would be expected for their chronological age.  This method of teaching reading led to the best gains in phonemic awareness the synthetic phonics method leads to fewer underachieving children.  Accelerating Reading Attainment. - The Effectiveness of Synthetic Phonics, Joyce E. Watson and Rhona S. Johnson, University of St. Andrews School of Psychology – Scotland, Interchange – Quarterly Education Journal

There is strong empirical evidence in support of phonics for the development of literacy, with phonemic awareness being the strongest predictor of reading capacity.  Teaching and learning interventions using phonics-based methods tend to have a positive impact on students’ literacy skills, with the greatest gains occurring in the early years of schooling.  Furthermore, phonics programs have been effective in assisting students with learning difficulties and those vulnerable to reading difficulties in English. – Phonics – Australasian Research Summary, University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education, Melbourne, Australia