Evidence Based Teaching of Reading and Spelling

A Workshop for Schools wanting to sort the science from the scat and revolutionise their teaching of reading and spelling

Full day workshop


To book this workshop please contact Bill Hansberry



Why what’s happening in Australia is not teachers’ fault

  • Teacher training – how it came to lack so much

  • The culture of education and its aversion to science and research


The teaching of reading over the last 30 years – a sordid affair

Developing an understanding of how reading instruction became such a hot mess in Australia to teachers know how to talk to one another and parents about why change is necessary.


  • Clip from Outside the Square: The Evidence

  • How we lost our way – learning to talk=natural; learning to read=not so much!

  • Whole word / Whole language / Balanced literacy – it made perfect sense before we could watch brains as they learn to read

  • 3 cueing word recognition – nobody quite knows where it came from but it’s still everywhere and doing a lot of damage to vulnerable readers

    • Undoing guessing as a word attack strategy

    • Running records

  • Replacing 3-cueing based reading assessment – easy, free and scientific

  • 3 National enquires into the teaching of reading all said the same things, so what has stopped us?

    • Big Business

    • Teacher Unions’ rejection of SSP

    • Whole Language - so popular because it lets us off the knowledge hook

    • The current results – UK (much better), USA (scattered), Australia (pretty bad)



MIDDLE SESSION 11.20am-1pm



The Big 5 of reading with a focus on the first 2!


  • Phonological awareness for all if we’re serious about kids’ learning to read

    • Let’s play with P.A. so we can gain an appreciation of hot it relates to reading and spelling

    • The PA skills ladder

    • Easy ways to develop PA at tier 1 in classrooms


  • Structured, Synthetic Phonics – not analytic, not in context

    • What SSP means (structured, synthesis, phonics)

    • Polished turd phonics – it’s not the best (so why would we?)


  • Fluency – the facts

    • What’s a sight word – not what you though eh!

    • Orthographic mapping – when reading practice finally becomes reading practice


  • Vocabulary – the facts

    • Morphology – getting great bang for buck in vocabulary


  • Comprehension – the end game

    • Scarborough’s reading rope


Gough and Tunmer’s ‘Simple View of Reading’

Incredibly respected in the research and explained simply – because it’s simple!


Syllable Types – heaps important

  • why they should be taught to all kids

  • Spot the syllable game





Spelling – poorly understood and awfully taught


  • What’s orthography and why is it as important as phonology

    • The logic of a good spelling list

    • Diagnostic tests of spelling


  • Making up for poor orthographic processing – spelling rules, concepts, positional frequency

    • Visual memory vs. orthographic memory

    • Some handy rules to know

    • Bill’s Spelling Rules poster

  • Teaching Long vowel spellings


Why some kids struggle to read and what to do about it


  • Developmental dyslexia – and where it sits in the Simple View of Reading

  • The Core Phonological Deficit: how it impacts fluent word recognition

  • A bit on Rapid naming

  • Multisensory, Cumulative, Structured Synthetic Phonics unpicked

    • The Playberry Structure

      • Orton-Gillingham programs

      • Controlled exposure to graphemes


  • It’s all in the cards: drill and thrill


  • Bill teaching footage: Multisensory reading and concept card drill – tier 3 intervention

  • Bill teaching footage: Multisensory spelling card drill – tier 3 intervention

  • Why drill and overearning?

    • The visual word form area (left fusiform gyrus) and exposures of grapheme-phoneme correspondences

    • As fast as possible, as slow as needed

  • Phonology and Orthography – Coleheart’s Dual Route Model



The 4 key components of an evidence based literacy intervention (and good teaching for all)


  • Video: ABC Behind The News story on Dyslexia

  • How do you eat an elephant?

  • Where to learn more:

"A wealth of knowledge - fantastic!"

We have books and resources available.

Check out our SHOP. 

Bill Hansberry

Fullarton House

22 Gordon Street, Glenelg

South Australia 5045


Phone: 0433 399 767

I would love to hear from you.

Send me an email using the form to the right >