On Wednesday 25 July, leaders in literacy, policy, education and research gathered at the State Library of New South Wales to launch the new book Effective Instruction in Reading and Spelling.
Co-edited by eminent literacy experts, Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM, Dr Robyn Wheldall and Dr Jennifer Buckingham OAM, this comprehensive book ensures that the science behind how reading works and its application is available to all.
Published by MRU Press, the academic imprint of MultiLit, the nation’s leading researcher and developer of literacy programs and services, the book helps to fill the knowledge and capability gap around scientific approaches to teaching reading.
Speaking at the launch, MultiLit Managing Director Iain Rothwell said, “Effective Instruction in Reading and Spelling is our response to the need for teachers to be better equipped in the knowledge of the Science of Reading. It embodies the three underlying principles of MultiLit: it supports evidence, it enhances teachers’ knowledge, and ultimately effective instruction in the classroom.”
He was joined by guest speakers Dr Jenny Donovan, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Education Research Organisation, Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart AM, School of Psychological Sciences, Macquarie University, and Dr Jennifer Buckingham, co-editor and MultiLit’s Director of Strategy.
Introducing the textbook, Dr Buckingham explained, “This book was a long time coming and not just in terms of the time it took from planning to publication – but rather for the length of the time that it’s been needed.”
We wanted to make sure it was accurate, useful and accessible for people learning how to be teachers and teachers who want to be better teachers, which in my experience, is every teacher,” she continued.
The importance of the textbook to both current teaching professionals, and those undertaking training was echoed by Professor Coltheart: “There’s a lot of talk in the papers now about the importance of evidence-based teaching of reading for Initial Teacher Education. If teachers are going to be trained in evidence-based methods, they’re going to need a textbook, and this is what they need. This is the textbook of the future.”
Ensuring children are being taught through proven, evidence-based methods, and the importance of science in education policy and programs was at the heart of Dr Donovan’s message.
“We know exactly how reading should be taught so that every child will learn. Our message should be clear. There will be no wellbeing where kids can’t read. There will be no equity, no student engagement, no teacher satisfaction, no system improvement, no closing of gaps, no lifelong learning.”
She continued “So thanks to Kevin, and Robyn, and Jen, and Max and many other fine people in this room, and the people who have gone before, and others whose contribution is in this book.”