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The Yorke and Mid-North Literacy Project

This project aimed to develop the capacity of primary teachers and School Support Officers (SSOs) to deliver a synthetic phonics program to beginning and struggling readers in 12 primary schools in the Yorke and Mid North region of South Australia. It was designed to ‘value-add’ to the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) project which had been implemented in the region over the previous three years, and to build a critical mass of skilled teachers in a region that usually scored below average in reading on NAPLAN assessments.

A synthetic phonics program refers to one that teaches the alphabetic code or phonics - the letter-sound relationships that underpin the English language – explicitly and systematically, and in an order that promotes blending, as recommended by all major reports into literacy development over the past 15 years (DEST, 2005; Johnson & Watson, 2003; Johnson & Watson, 2005; NICHHD, 2000; Rose, 2006). While most primary schools now teach phonics as part of their reading program, many do it in an embedded or analytic manner. In a synthetic phonics approach, the letter-sounds are systematically and explicitly taught in an order that promotes blending or synthesising, and there is a very early emphasis on this important component of the reading process.

Funding agency

Department for Education and Child Development, Yorke and Mid North Region, Aboriginal Literacy Strategy

Project duration

2012 - 2013


Associate Professor Deslea Konza
Ms Helen Dixon
Dr Leanne Fried
Mr Roger Nottage
Ms Denise Higgins

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