· In October 2003, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the principal of a primary school in ‘an exceptionally disadvantaged area’ had ‘overseen an extraordinary transformation’ by introducing ‘a reading programme that includes rigorous phonics instruction’. Previously, more than 80% of his pupils were reading below an acceptable level for their age. By 2003, statewide literacy tests put this school in the top 10% in Victoria .
· On 21 April 2004 , the Higher Education section of The Australian printed an edited version of a letter sent to the federal Education Minister. This was signed by twenty-six ‘researchers, psychologists, linguists and educators’, who wrote ‘We would like particularly to draw your attention to the continuing discrepancy between the model of reading development that forms the basis for most of our school curriculums and teaching methods, and the model of reading development that is emerging as a result of the research into reading that has been undertaken during the past 20 to 30 years’. Such research showed ‘that mastery of the alphabetic code is essential to proficient reading and that methods of instruction that teach this code directly are more effective than those that do not’. The letter to the federal Education Minister was accompanied by explanatory notes which quoted the Rayner et al. article from RRF Newsletter No. 50 in full (original letter and explanatory notes can be viewed on RRF website).