Getting children off to the right start in reading is crucial, as there is evidence that early differences in reading attainment among those who are initially successful in reading and those who struggle with reading widen with increasing age (I.E., Matthew effect). Our research has examined the most effective instructional approaches for children starting school from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who typically have poorer reading readiness skills (i.e., little knowledge of letter-sounds, poor vocabulary skills). Our research has shown that a phonics focused synthetic phonics approach is particularly effective, as word reading development is less dependent on language skills for success and children learn letter-sounds at a relatively fast pace, allowing them to catch up with their peers.
For more information about our research in this area, please see our posters below.
Medford, E., & McGeown, S. P. (2016). Social, emotional and behavioural influences on pre-reading and initial reading development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, 54-61.
McGeown. S. P. (2015). Synthetic phonics vs an eclectic approach to reading instruction: Implications for the skills predicting reading acquisition and development. Psychology of Education Review.
McGeown, S. P., & Medford, E. (2014). Using method of instruction to predict the skills supporting initial reading development: insight from a synthetic phonics approach. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27, 591-608.
McGeown, S., Johnston, R., & Medford, E. (2012). Reading instruction affects the cognitive skills supporting early reading development. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 360-264.