Effective Reading Instruction

What makes an effective reading intervention program?

Students with dyslexia or who have difficulty learning to read benefit from explicit and structured instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics (systematic, synthetic phonics) along with the other essentials skills for reading (oral language, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension).

SPELD NSW recommends, if possible, that students with dyslexia or difficulties with reading work with experienced learning support teachers and/or specialist literacy tutors. These highly trained professionals can work on all areas of difficulty in reading, spelling and writing, as well as use appropriate methods to meet the complex needs of individual students.  

SPELD NSW Specialist Tutors & Professionals

SPELD NSW maintains a Referral Database of specialist tutors and professionals who have received training in learning difficulties and evidenced based reading instruction. We can refer families to tutors and professionals from this Referral Database. Not all families and students are able to access specialist support for students who have difficulty learning to read. 

There are a number of programs available that can be used in the home environment – these programs either com with explicit instructions on how to use them or are straight forward enough that a parent or family member without specialist training can use them. 

Please be aware that no one program will work for all students and no one program will cover all aspects of literacy instruction necessary for proficient reading.

5 key elements of reading

It’s essential children with difficulties  learning to read receive evidence-based instruction focusing on the 5 key elements of reading – phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Skills must be taught clearly, directly and systematically, starting from simple concepts and skills and moving to more complex concepts and skills. Students should be introduced to one concept or skill at a time and given plenty of opportunities for practise and to master the concept or skill before moving on.

"There are no universally effective programs, but there are knowable principles that need to be incorporated in all programs about how we teach written language." Maryanne Wolf, 2007

More information about dyslexia

SPELD NSW Dyslexia InfoSheet
AUSPELD Understanding Learning Difficulties: A Guide for parents
Reading Rockets research information and resources
Five from Five information, research and resources


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Call the SPELD NSW InfoLine to chat confidentially to our friendly support team or for a referral to a tutor


Book an educational assessment with a SPELD NSW Psychologist


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