Implementing a systematic synthetic phonics approach

Many Australian schools are looking to align their literacy instruction with the Science of Reading. Research shows that a key first step in this aim is to follow a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) approach in early years classrooms.  

In 2023, the Literacy Hub is providing free, online professional learning to support schools through each step of building an SSP approach for reading and spelling.   

Designed for Foundation to Year 2 classrooms, each topic includes: 

  • professional reading and videos 
  • practical classroom resources 
  • live sessions with our literacy specialists 
  • support to implement the approach in your school. 

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Make a start

Watch Jocelyn Seamer introduce the Science of Reading and an SSP approach in this series of five videos:

Find your point of need on your SSP professional learning journey using this self-assessment diagram.

2023 topics

1. Getting started with a phonics progression

A phonics progression is the first step in implementing a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) approach in your school or classroom.

This topic covers:

  • the elements of a high-quality, evidence-aligned phonics progression for reading and spelling
  • the component skills required for phonological and phonemic awareness development.

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2. Explicit direct instruction for phonics – an instructional model

If you have chosen a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) progression but are wondering how to begin instruction, this topic will help you understand and implement the elements of explicit direct instruction (EDI).

This topic covers:

  • the principles of EDI
  • a phonics instructional model for reading and spelling, with practical guidance for implementation.

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3. Choosing and using decodable texts

If you have started with a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) approach at your school and you're looking to complement this with decodable texts, this topic can guide you through the process.

This topic unpacks:

  • orthographic mapping
  • decodable texts
  • effectively incorporating decodable texts in an SSP classroom. 

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4. Fluency and progress monitoring

Teachers can help beginning decoders to become competent in reading comprehension by supporting them to develop fluency through systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) instruction and careful progress monitoring.

This topic provides:

  • evidence-based approaches to developing fluency including practical activities for the classroom  
  • SSP-aligned progress monitoring tools, with guidance for teachers on using these tools to inform teaching. 

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5. Assessment and intervention for an SSP approach

Evidence-based approaches to literacy advise assessing specific and individual areas of knowledge and skills to determine the strengths and needs of beginner readers. This approach to assessment is also helpful for pinpointing student needs across the Response to Intervention framework.

This topic unpacks: 

  • key areas for assessment 
  • approaches to using data to plan for instruction across the tiers of intervention. 

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6. Spelling generalisations and SSP

A focus on spelling generalisations as part of your systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) instruction can support students to understand a deeper layer of how the English alphabetic code works.

This topic covers:

  • spelling generalisations that will assist in applying the English alphabetic code
  • how to incorporate instruction on spelling generalisations into your SSP lessons.

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7. Morphology instruction and SSP (coming soon)

A focus on morphology as part of your systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) instruction can support students to develop an understanding of word parts and their meanings, which assists in the development of word-level reading, spelling and vocabulary development.

This topic covers:

  • morphological awareness development  
  • how to incorporate morphology instruction into your SSP lessons.

Available in Term 4 2023.