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Bridging the gap between reading theory and innovating teacher practice
Experienced teachers possess wide-ranging knowledge about how best to effectively teach vulnerable children to read. Reading research also provides extensive information on what constitutes best-practice instruction. This paper reports on an ARC research grant that aimed to bridge the gap between theory and practice involving researchers and teachers of Prep (Foundation) to Year 3 working together to develop a set of principles towards optimising reading instruction for all students, and particularly at-risk readers. Now freely available for use by interested parties, the principles document is intended as a resource for ongoing use and exploration by educators and researchers. This paper first discusses the vital need for and the challenges of optimising early literacy learning of at-risk Anglophone students; then details the collaborative research that established the set of principles. It includes discussion of the strengths and challenges of the research, ways forward for enhancing the use of the principles, and models of collaborative knowledge building into the future.