Primary Reading Pledge: A plan to have all students reading by the end of primary school

Five from Five, AUSPELD, and Learning Difficulties Australia have collaborated on an evidence-based framework for schools to dramatically reduce the number of children who finish primary school unable to read proficiently.

In 2020, more than 50,000 students started their secondary studies with low literacy levels.

Full report

Short-changed: Preparation to teach reading in initial teacher education

This report adds to the evidence supporting the need for urgent and dramatic improvement in initial teacher education by looking at the extent to which literacy units in undergraduate initial teacher education courses provide evidence-based information on how children learn to read; and the most effective ways to teach them

Full report

Reading Recovery: A Failed Investment

Reading Recovery is an early intervention program for students in Year 1 who are having difficulty learning to read. Yet numerous studies of Reading Recovery have provided no sound evidence that it has sustained positive effects on children’s reading achievement, despite its widespread use and high cost. Full report


Setting the Record Straight on the Research on Reading

80 corrections, clarifications and comments on Ewing, R. (2018). “Exploding SOME of the myths about learning to read: A review of research on the role of phonics”. Sydney: NSW Teachers Federation

Download the document


Focus on Phonics.

A simple, five-minute Phonics Screening Check could identify at an early stage school children who are at serious risk of struggling with reading skills.

Read about why Australia should adopt the year 1 phonics screening check . Full report


Read About It: Scientific evidence for effective teaching of reading

Read how scientific evidence for effective teaching of reading can improve instruction that will have significant and sustained impact on literacy in the early years. Full report


Five from Five Research Brief 2 – What is Systematic Synthetic Phonics?

What is Systematic Synthetic Phonics? – (2018) This research brief describes systematic synthetic phonics  and examines the research base behind it. View the Systematic Synthetic Phonics Explainer on the Five from Five YouTube channel.

Five from Five Research Brief 1 – Language Learning and Literacy L3

Language, Learning and Literacy (L3) – (2018) This research brief examines the research base, content and pedagogy for the ‘whole class’ literacy program L3  developed by NSW Government. View the L3 You Tube Video

Selected Publications

Reports and papers

Why Jaydon Can’t Read: A Forum on Fixing Literacy (February 2014), Jennifer Buckingham, Justine Ferrari and Tom Alegounarias

Why Jaydon Can’t Read, Policy Magazine (Spring 2013), Jennifer Buckingham, Kevin Wheldall and Robyn Beaman-Wheldall.

Why poor children are more likely to become poor readers: The early years, Jennifer Buckingham, Robyn Beaman and Kevin Wheldall, Educational Review (2013)

Why poor children are more likely to become poor readers: The school years, Jennifer Buckingham, Kevin Wheldall and Robyn Beaman-Wheldall, Australian Journal of Education (2013)

Recent articles

‘When two tribes go to war’: the reading debate explained, Kevin Wheldall, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 2019

Strong case for evidence-based phonics check for Year 1, Jennifer Buckingham, Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2019

Learning to read and explicit teaching, Jennifer Buckingham and Anne Castles, ACER Teacher Magazine, 6 May 2019

The fight for phonics in early years reading. Jennifer Buckingham. ResearchED Magazine, June 2018

South Australia’s trial of England’s year one phonics check shows why we need it.  Jennifer Buckingham. The Conversation, 10th April 2018.

PISA education rankings challenged by questions over student motivation. Jennifer Buckingham. The Australian Financial Review, 20th N

International Study Shows Many Australian Children are Still Struggling with Reading. Jennifer Buckingham. The Conversation, 6th December 2017.

PISA education rankings challenged by questions over student motivation. Jennifer Buckingham. The Australian Financial Review, 20th November 2017

Year 1 Phonics Check ensures firm foundation, The Australian Financial Review, 30th October 2017

Inquiring about the elephant in the classroom. [email protected], 13th October, 2017

Why we need to phonics check. Jennifer Buckingham, 22nd September, 2017

The facts about the phonics screening check. Jennifer Buckingham. Online Opinion, 19th September, 2017

Phonics provides the best chance of a successful start at school. The West Australian, 6th August, 2017

Smart money should go to teach the teachers, The Australian, 2 August 2017

Our students and teachers deserve better, [email protected], 28 July 2017

10 things to look for in year 4, Sunday Telegraph, Jennifer Buckingham and Greg Ashman, 11 December 2016

New PISA reading, maths and science results confirm Australia’s educational decline,  Jennifer Buckingham, 6 December 2016

The neo-liberals ate my maths homework, Jennifer Buckingham, 1 December 2016

Australia’s maths and science ranking drops to dismal level, Jennifer Buckingham, 29 November, 2016

Australian Government urged to follow England’s lead on Phonics Screening Check, Jennifer Buckingham, 28 November, 2016

Five minutes of phonics to lift child literacy levels, The Australian, 24 November, 2016

Poor teachers beget poor students, Financial Review, 4 August, 2016

NAPLAN results show core learning skills are in retreat, The Australian, 3 August, 2016. Also available here

Putting the teacher front and centre, Financial Review, 28 May, 2016

Teaching phonics to kids is cheap but has a big pay-off, Financial Review, 29 April, 2016

Low literacy cannot be tolerated or excused any longer, The Drum, 22 March, 2016

Too many Australian kids can’t read properly – here’s what we need to do about it,, 10 March, 2016

Five from five: We can end the reading wars, The Weekend Australian, 5-6 March, 2016

10 years of slow progress, [email protected], 11 December, 2015

Spelling tricky for kids, so good phonics programs are vital, The Australian, 8 December, 2015

Funding isn’t everything when it comes to improving school results, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 November, 2015

Lifting literacy needs more than just money, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September, 2015

Ignore the doubters, NAPLAN is important and it’s working, The Drum, 5 August, 2015

Poor students likely to make poor teachers, The Australian, 13 February, 2015

Reading writing on the wall, The Australian, 6 January, 2015