The Science of Reading

Centre for Independent Studies (CIS)

Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading. 

There are five essential and interdependent components of effective, evidence-based reading instruction – the five keys to reading.

Research Report by Kerry Hempestall, edited by Jennifer Buckingham. March 2016.


Structured Synthetic Phonics

Read: A Guide for Teachers and Parents

Learning to read is essentially learning a code. The letters we use are simply symbols or written code for the speech sounds of English. Learning about the relationship between the letters of the alphabet and the speech sounds they represent allows us to “crack the code” and learn to both read (decode) and spell (encode).

Five From Five Alliance

Five Keys to Reading

  1. Phonemic Awareness
  2. Phonics
  3. Fluency
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Comprehension

Major reviews of reading not only agree on the key components of reading programs – the five ‘keys’ to reading – but also the most effective way of teaching them. They find that explicit or ‘direct’ instruction is the most effective teaching method, especially for the fundamental code-based components ­― phonemic awareness and phonics.

Explicit instruction in phonics involves systematic and sequential teaching of the letter-sound relationships in written English that allow readers to decode words.

Test your phonics knowledge:

Scope and Sequence:

Read this excellent presentation by Dr Jennifer Buckingham on the Science of Reading Like frogs in a water well: Why it is so difficult to close the research to practice gap in teaching reading.


The International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI) is a not-for-profit organisation. It includes researchers, educators and parents from around the world.

The aim of the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction is to contribute to raising standards of literacy in the English language based on robust research and high-quality instruction in the teaching of reading, spelling and writing.

Our focus is on literacy for learners of all ages wherever in the world English is taught  – regardless of whether English is the first or additional language.

LDA (Learning Difficulties Australia)

Position Statement on Reading Instruction

A position statement on approaches to reading instruction that are supported by Learning Difficulties Australia (LDA).

LDA supports approaches to reading instruction that adopt an explicit structured approach to the teaching of reading and are consistent with the scientific evidence as to how children learn to read and how best to teach them. May 2015.

Molly de Lemos from the LDA also wrote on this topic in  “How Children Learn to Read: a Position Statement”

Learning Difficulties Australia Bulletin

Volume 49, No 1, Autumn 2017 | Early, Explicit and Evidence Based: An Interview with Sarah Asome (Cover Story): Award winning teacher Sarah Asome explains the approach taken at Bentleigh West public school (page 13)

Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert | Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation

National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy:

Ken Rowe’s report and recommendations – Teaching Reading

Report from the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Learning. December 2005.

The Reading League

Advancing Evidence in Practice and on YouTube 

“When we know better, we do better.”

Videos on Reading and Dyslexia

Professor Stanislas Dehaene

How The Brain Learns To Read

Watch this excellent YouTube video on cognitive neuroscience by Prof Stan Dehaene to learn more about how the brain learns to read.

Bill Hansberry

Videos on dyslexia and the teaching of reading in Australia:

Bill’s Rant on Dyslexia and Reading Programs

Evidence Based Teaching of Reading and Intervention: Evidence must trump ideology (This is the keynote that Bill Hansberry presented to the South Australian Catholic Primary Principal’s Association on 26/5/17)


Alison Clarke, Speech Pathologist

Spelfabet is a website aiming to help you teach beginners and strugglers about sounds and spellings using explicit, systematic synthetic phonics, giving them a solid foundation on which to build their fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression.

How Children Learn to Read and Spell: Click here for video

Free Learning Difficulties Including Dyslexia webinars

Summary of David Kilpatrick’s third excellent seminar, “The Nature of Reading Development and Reading Difficulties”, presented at the 2017 Reading in the Rockies conference:

Disclaimer: Please note that Dyslexia Victoria Support (DVS) does not officially endorse, represent, sponsor, or have any legal connection to any of the resources listed. Many parents have found these resources to be very useful in their journey to learn more about dyslexia and how to better advocate for their children.