Do Australian Children Need A ‘Reading Revolution’?

A new Grattan Institute report shows that one in three Australian children can’t read proficiently.

The report calculates that for students today who struggle with reading, the cost to Australia is $40 billion over their lifetimes.

Grattan’s calculations are based on loss of potential earnings and government tax revenue, and the added costs of public welfare, health and justice.

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“Australia is failing these children,” says Dr Jordana Hunter, Grattan Institute’s Education Program Director.

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“It’s a preventable tragedy. The reason most of those students can’t read well enough is that we aren’t teaching them well enough,” Hunter said.

A key cause of Australia’s reading problem is a decades-long debate on how to teach reading. The report claims that all students should use a ‘structured literacy’ approach throughout school, and focus on phonics in early years.

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