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Education experts call on government to ditch popular school reading program

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Literacy experts and parents are calling on the state government to ditch a popular literacy program designed to help children who are struggling to learn how to read.

More than 800 parents and teachers have signed a petition to ditch the Reading Recovery program.

The program involves daily 30 minute one-on-one reading sessions for grade one students who are struggling to read.

Alison Clarke, speech pathologist and member of Learning Difficulties Australia, told 3AW Breakfast the program ineffective.

“It’s almost all whole language activities … There’s about five minutes of building words with letters, but this business of taking apart words and putting them back together and understanding how sounds are represented by letter is very underplayed,” she said.

“Reading scientists have shown that is absolutely wrong, and sounding out words is crucial to getting your reading engine going.”

“A bunch of children are not being taught that, then they go into Reading Recovery and they get the same kind of presentation in intense form.”

“I see swags of kids who often just haven’t been taught how to read, they haven’t been taught how to unpack our complex spelling code,” Ms Clarke said.

Peter, a parent whose son went through the the Reading Recovery program, disagreed with Ms Clarke.

“What a load of rubbish, my son did Reading Recovery and it was the best thing for him,” he told Ross and John.

Press PLAY below to hear Ross and John’s full chat with Alison Clarke.