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The Yorke and Mid-North Roxby Downs Area School Literacy Project

The Yorke and Mid North - Roxby Downs Area School (YMN-RDAS) Literacy Project was largely an extension of the literacy project conducted with the YMN region of the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development in 2012-2013.The focus was to develop the capacity of primary teachers and School Support Officers (SSOs) to deliver a synthetic phonics program to beginning and struggling readers.

The results of the previous project confirmed that a synthetic phonics approach 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 (or synthesizing), accelerated the progress of most early readers. The results were consistent with the findings of all major reports into literacy development over the past 15 years (DEST, 2005; Johnson & Watson, 2003; Johnson & Watson, 2005; NICHHD, 2000; Rose, 2006).


  1. Build teacher and teacher assistant understanding of the key elements of the reading process, and how these skills are developed in beginning reading.
  2. Develop in teachers and teaching assistants effective teaching strategies around initial reading instruction using a synthetic phonics approach.
  3. Incorporate the expertise of regional teachers to support a synthetic phonics teaching approach.
  4. Accelerate the early reading skills of junior primary students using a synthetic phonics approach.
  5. Identify the most useful aspects of the project, as determined by the participants.

Funding agency

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

Project duration

2013 - 2014


Associate Professor Deslea Konza
Mrs Helen Dixon
Ms Denise Higgins (York and Mid North Region)
Ms Sonya Rankine (York and Mid North Region)
Ms Julia Lloyd Jones (York and Mid North Region)
Ms Beth Crougham (Auburn Primary School)
Ms Sue Prince (Auburn Primary School)
Ms Gabrielle Silvester (Blyth Primary School)
Ms Sue Ryan (Burra Primary School)

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