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Where do you stand?

Last night Professor Pamela Snow and I ran a Bendigo Early Language and Literacy Community of Practice conversation via Zoom. We discussed ten common reading instruction myths. You can view the recording and access readings and resources via Pam's blog.

As part of this conversation I mentioned the continuum of reading instruction and the continuum of phonics instruction models that I have created to use with school leaders and teachers, to better understand their approach to teaching reading more broadly, as well as teaching the specifics of word-level reading. I find it helpful to reflect on where we stand and why, and what that might mean for the students we are tasked with teaching.

These models relate particularly to two common myths that were discussed:

Analytic and synthetic phonics are equally good.

Balanced Literacy is a reasonable compromise between Whole Language and Structured Literacy.

These two (probably imperfect) models can help us to understand why Balanced Literacy and Analytic Phonics are often so hard to define and measure. They exist on a continuum, therefore they mean different things to different people .

Continuum of reading instruction

Reading instruction continuum
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Continuum of phonics instruction

Phonics instruction continuum
Download PDF • 87KB

I am looking forward to writing a reading instruction myths blogpost for Shaun Killian's excellent website later this month.

Start a conversation today. Where do you stand?

1,591 views3 comments


Emina McLean
Emina McLean
Aug 16, 2020

Thanks for your comments, Luqman. I am aware that most students in Australia are learning to read via analytic phonics. This is quite well known here. I outlined in the presentation what balanced literacy means to me. If it teaches the key aspects of reading explicitly and systematically most of the time then it's probably a pretty good model. The problem is that balanced literacy is everything in between structured, systematic literacy teaching and whole language. There is too much variation, which makes it hard for us to know which aspects, if any, are effective.


What does balanced literacy mean to you?


Most of the children around the world are reading via Analytical Phonics. I can prove that to you via videos that I have collected from current students studying in Australia. I am not for it but that is the current situation. You are welcome to email me for a complete discussion on this matter. OR, you may respond here and continue with this.

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