How Phonics Began
Before phonics was born, we didn’t even have alphabets. Instead, many ancient tribes and civilisations like the Egyptians used pictures to tell stories. It is believed that the Phoenicians pioneered the first phonetic alphabet to help make communicating with trading partners easier and more efficient.
Phonics then found its way into Greek and Roman schooling systems, where teachers taught their students their respective alphabets and how it came together to form words. From the late 1600’s phonics was being used within the American public school curriculums. Over the following years different teaching methods were introduced but most fell to the wayside as phonics remained the most effective.
In the mid to late 1900’s many researchers conducted their own studies and compiled their own reports in an attempt to discover if phonics really was the best way to teach children to read. Whilst some acknowledged other methods as helpful, phonics still came out as the clear winner.
In the early 2000’s, here in Australia, we were in the middle of an illiteracy crisis. Then Minister for Education, Science and Training, Brendan Nelson demanded a National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. This inquiry took a close look at the way reading was taught in schools. The executive summary concluded that systematic phonics is an imperative part of helping children to read properly. It also stated that when phonics was used within the early year’s primary curriculum, students had better spelling skills and were less likely to struggle with reading.
Since this National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, every state and territory have begun to support the explicit systematic phonics method, incorporating it into their curriculums. Even more recently, state and federal governments have been providing funding specifically to aid the introduction of phonics. Schools have since told us that our decodable readers are the best on the market!
Contact Decodable Readers Australia to Learn More about Phonics!
For more information on how phonics can help your child learn to read, contact our educators. We’ll happily answer your queries, or offer advice on which of our levels will best suit your child’s ‘learning to read’ journey.