After language, reading is the most important skill for children to acquire. Apart from the joy of reading books, it is the passport to everything - all other school subjects, social interaction, physical and mental health, higher education, employment and even using the computer.
Various surveys put the number of Australians who can’t read well enough to understand newspapers or medication instructions at almost fifty percent, and it is no coincidence that very high rates of illiteracy are found in prisons and among the unemployed, homeless and suicidal. Employer organizations also complain about the low literacy levels of new employees.
However there are signs that the situation is improving. Many schools are now introducing the structured teaching of phonics into the early grades and are seeking training for their teachers from various organisations like LDA, SPELD and private providers.
Children who are taught in the first two years of school that reading is just about visual recognition of whole words also start experiencing difficulties in grade two. Often it is the intelligent child with good visual memory that surprises their teacher and parents by struggling with reading and spelling at this level. All they need is some training in basic skills like phonics to get them back on track.
Another persuasive one from the US. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4LtozMLMNc&feature=youtu.be
Watch Debbie Hepplewhites video 'A commentary on the resistance to research on phonics and reading' on this link.
Alison Clarke's Youtube video 'How phonics got framed'( http://tinyurl.com/a23cwb5 ) is great explanation of how and why the teaching of phonics was discarded in most schools, and why it is so important to restore it to its proper place in the teaching of reading.
See also Alison's website www.spelfabet.com.au which is full of useful information about the teaching of phonics skills.
Articles about learning to read and spell.
Apps which help children improve their reading and spelling skills, including Tricky Spelling by Fay Tran
The readers page is for information about decodeable books which are useful for practising developing phonics skills in context. As a lead article on this page, Angela Weeks writes about choosing the right books for beginner readers. There is information about sets of readers suitable for classroom and home use, including the Australian series 'The Fitzroy Readers' and the Little Learners Love Literacy books. All readers reviewed are graded and vocabulary controlled so that children can develop their skills as they read.
On the software page are reviews of suitable programs for children to practise reading and spelling skills including the children's favourite, 'Word Shark' and the Australian 'Sound Blender'.