Media Releases

Liberal Nationals to fund decodable readers for Victorian schools

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will back Dyslexia Victoria Support’s campaign to fund "decodable readers" for all Victorian preps in state schools.

A good education is the key to opportunity and hope for school children which is why a Liberal Nationals Government will be focused on making sure students with learning difficulties don’t fall through the cracks.

That’s why a Liberal Nationals Government will provide funding of $2.8 million to assist with the purchase of sets of decodable readers for Prep students.

All students can benefit from learning to read with decodable books. Decodable books allow children to practise their decoding skills in a methodical way.

Decodable books are designed to align with explicit, systematic phonics instruction. They are simple stories constructed using almost exclusively words that are phonetically decodable, using letters and letter-groups that children have learned in phonics lessons.

Teachers need to undertake specialist training through PD programs to learn how to explicitly teach phonics, and will be encouraged to use their 4 days of Professional Development to acquire these skills.

Our plan for a one-on-one phonics screening check - to identify if students are attaining the appropriate level of literacy skills to succeed is a widely respected policy.

Phonics tests has been enormously successful in the United Kingdom. Early identification of below-standard reading skills will allow for a program of early intervention.

Early identification of decoding difficulties is essential for identifying children who need extra support and help to overcome existing or potential reading difficulties.

This initiative complements our previous announcement of a compulsory year 1 Phonics screening. 

This 7 minute assessment, which will be conducted one-on-one with the teacher, will identify those students who require a different learning method to learn to read, so that further intervention with teaching methods can begin.

Without early intervention, affected children struggle to learn to read in schools all over Victoria.

In too many cases they fall behind their peers, which can lead to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, school refusal, early dropouts and diminished educational and career options.

If this program helps just one child with dyslexia then it will be worth it.