The RRF is an organisation dedicated to campaigning for better teaching of reading in the English language. Our website has something to offer everyone who is interested in the teaching of reading.

Our members include people from a wide range of backgrounds with a variety of experiences. We have all been convinced by a wealth of evidence that a method known as synthetic phonics is the most effective for teaching everyone to read.

Partly as a result of RRF campaigning, the UK government has endorsed synthetic phonics for the initial teaching of reading in primary schools in England. This is a huge achievement.

However, there is still a lot to be done. All over the world, wherever children and older students are taught to read in the English language, there is a lack of understanding about synthetic phonics. In England contradictory and less effective methods are being promoted by government for helping young children who have fallen behind their peers.

We believe that the way children are taught is crucial to their success in learning to read. They all need knowledge of the alphabetic code and the skills of blending sounds for reading and segmenting the spoken word for spelling whether they learn to read easily or find it difficult.

For too long now the teaching of reading has been affected by the idea that children should learn by discovery, leading to the rejection of systematic, explicit instruction. This idea is deeply ingrained in education and still has a powerful influence on how reading is taught, despite having no scientific validity.

Further information..

RRF Governing Statement

The Reading Reform Foundation is a non-profit making organisation. It was founded by educators and researchers who are concerned about the high functional illiteracy rates among children and adults in the United Kingdom and in the English-speaking world.

Based on a wealth of scientific evidence, members of the Reading Reform Foundation are convinced that reading failure is caused by faulty instructional methods. A particular fault of these methods is that they under-emphasise the need for children to be taught the alphabetic code: the way in which individual speech-sounds (phonemes) are represented by letters and combinations of letters.

The United Kingdom chapter of the Reading Reform Foundation was set up in 1989 to promote the teaching of the alphabetic code in a research-based way, and this remains its main aim.

RRF Governing Principles

to promote research-based principles of reading instruction

to promote the use of scientifically proven reading instruction programmes

to promote the use of standardised reading tests at frequent intervals

to provide information about effective teaching methods

to work to ensure that governmental departments become accountable for the effectiveness of the educational programmes they promote

to disseminate information through the website and message forum on an ongoing basis


A Report on British Dyslexia Association Training courses for Reading and Spelling

It is usually recommended that dyslexic pupils are given structured, multi-sensory phonics instruction to help them to improve their reading and spelling skills.

Synthetic Phonics appears to fulfill these criteria but is SP teaching in line with established practice in the teaching of reading and spelling to dyslexic pupils?

Elizabeth Nonweiler from the RRF attended BDA courses in teaching reading and spelling and reports on how the two methods compare.

RRF Response to the Draft English Curriculum

Writing on the IOE London blog, Wyse, professor of early childhood and primary education at the Institute of Education, London, said that the Government's draft programmes of study for English should be completely rewritten: "Pleasure, love and an emphasis on meaning all appear to be secondary to the mechanics of phonics, spelling and grammar," he warned.’’  The RRF would agree that the Draft Curriculum has insufficient emphasis on developing comprehension skills and an appreciation of  literature.

Detailed proposals for amendments to the Draft  English curriculum

Detailed proposals with explanatory notes


Newsletter of the Stepping Stones Nigeria Project

RRF member, Naomi Foxcroft, sent us this update on the introduction of SP teaching in Akwa Ibom State Nigeria.

Stepping Stones Nigeria

Technical Report of the 2012 Phonics Screening Check now released by the DfE

From the Introduction to the report

"What is this document about?
This document provides further evidence of the validity and reliability of the Year 1
phonics screening check via a quantitative item analysis of the data from the live 2012
administration. This document should be considered alongside the first technical report
on the pilot that was published in February 20121 and the Statistical First Release2
published in September 2012."

"The Department has commissioned an independent evaluation of the phonics screening
check over the next three years. This will provide valuable information about the impact
of the check on phonics teaching. The first interim report will be available in spring 2013."



The DfE publishes the results of the 2011 pilot for the Y1 Phonics Check

Despite the vociferous objections of some in the Education world the pilot schools for the Y1 Phonics Check seem, in the main, to have found it simple to administer, non stressful for pupils and useful for identifying problems which they had not previously known about.

For reactions and links to news articles see the RRF message board

Follow-up results from Dr Grant's study reported below

New on the Resources page.

Dr Grant follows up the children in her 2010-2011 study and also summarises the results of her earlier, 1997-2004, longitudinal study


Matched Funding for Teaching Phonics - Opportunity or Straightjacket

Dr Marlynne Grant (EP) reports on the results of studies of YR children taught to read with one of the structured, systematic synthetic phonics programmes (Sound Discovery) elegible for government matched funding.

Also of interest is the longitudinal data of another eligible programme, Sounds~Write

£9bn spent on Adult Literacy programmes since 2001 and an estimated 5 million adults still cannot read

A very old News item but we must never lose sight of the consequences of poor teaching of reading.

The Times Educational supplement reported that the results of an inquiry by adult education body Niace found the Skills for Life programme was not wholly successful. In fact, it failed to reach many of the people most in need of improving their reading and writing.

Phil Beadle, who taught a class of illiterate adults for the Ch 4 TV programme 'Can't Read Can't Write', pointed to possible causes of this failure on P21 of RRF Newsletter #61 . Niace's conclusions may be put in more temperate terms, but are similar!






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Reading Reform Foundation 2010
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