Jennifer Buckingham

Senior Research Fellow and Director of FIVE from FIVE project, The Centre for Independent Studies
Speaking at


What is the evidence on effective reading instruction? And why is it not followed?

Both New Zealand and Australia have a long-term problem with low literacy. Australian and Kiwi students in mid-primary are at the bottom of the rankings among English speaking countries on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). This is largely due to the gap between what we know is effective, evidence-based reading instruction and intervention, and what actually happens in classrooms. Jennifer will describe the evidence on effective reading instruction and explain why it is the only way to reduce the number of children who leave school unable read.


Dr Jennifer Buckingham’s main area of work is school education policy, and she is currently heading up the CIS’s FIVE from FIVE Reading Project which aims to have effective reading instruction in every classroom, every day. Jennifer is the author/editor of numerous reports and articles including Why Jaydon Can’t Read (2014), Read About It: Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading (2016), and Focus on Phonics: Why Australia Should Adopt the UK Phonics Check (2017). She is a board member of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), an Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders.


Like frogs in a water well: Why it is so difficult to close the persistent research-to-practice gap in teaching children to read

The body of evidence about how children learn to read and the most effective ways to teach is extensive and remarkably consistent, drawing on research from a number of disciplines including education, speech pathology, experimental psychology, and cognitive science. Yet there remains a high level of variability in the extent to which this evidence is reflected in education policy and classroom practice, leading to wide disparities in reading acquisition among students in schools. This presentation will look at some of the reasons for the persistent research to policy and practice gap in reading instruction and in teaching generally.