Victorian children will become the best readers in Australia under a Liberals and Nationals’ plan to improve our children’s literacy skills.
The Better Readers Plan will ensure no child misses out on the foundational skill of reading, by introducing evidence-based literacy programs in Victorian schools, including the use of Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP).
Systematic Synthetic Phonics explicitly teaches children the relationship between the sounds and letter symbols of the written language and does so in a quick, efficient way.
With a Labor Government in Victoria for 17 of the last 21 years, our children have fallen in international standing on reading performance and stagnated across Australian measures.
Literacy education has never been more important after the world’s longest lockdown and seven consecutively interrupted school terms.
The ability to read and write to a high standard is the key foundation that all children deserve for a bright future.
Victorians need confidence that our education system is genuinely world-class.
A Liberals and Nationals Government will commit $220 million to fund this ambitious plan which will be directed towards:
- Fully funded targeted teacher professional learning and resources;
- Ensuring teachers and schools are equipped with classroom-ready teaching resources such as high-quality sample lesson plans, decodable texts for beginning stages and ongoing professional learning opportunities;
- Ensuring reading intervention and support programs for struggling students are backed by evidence and that adequate training is provided to those responsible for delivering these activities;
- Introduction of a Year 1 Phonics Check, with a follow-up in Year 2 where required;
- Providing additional books and resources to schools and families to promote rich literacy experiences in the classroom and at home; and
- Providing a significant boost to specialist school-based support services through an additional 50 school nurses and 150 allied health staff including psychologists and speech pathologists.
In addition, families will be able to take advantage of free health and vision checks through an additional 28,500 Maternal and Child Health appointments each year.
Leader of the Liberal Party, Matt Guy, said now is the time for a real plan to get students’ learning and development back on track.
“Under a Liberals and Nationals Government every single child will have their reading ability made a priority,” Mr Guy said.
“We will work to make Victorian children the best readers by implementing better resourcing and evidence based reading programs, including the use of explicit and systematic phonics instruction as the starting point, and ensuring equally strong instruction on spelling, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension skills.”
“Our Better Readers Plan is exactly what is needed to get our childrens’ development and education back on track.”
Shadow Minister for Education, Early Childhood and Children, David Hodgett, said without a real plan many students would continue to fall further behind.
“Two years of lost classroom learning has compounded the deficits in literacy education in Victoria,” Mr Hodgett said.