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Australian students are struggling to read, with new research revealing a third of children cannot read proficiently and their poor performance could cost Australia $40 billion over their lifetimes. Source: The Australian.

A new Grattan Institute report, The Reading Guarantee: How to give every child the best chance of success, shows students who struggle with reading are more at risk of falling behind their classmates, becoming disruptive or dropping out of school. 

The institute wants to set a long-term target for 90 per cent of kids to be reading proficiently, with the proportion of proficient readers increasing by at least 15 percentage points over 10 years.

It comes as the 2023 NAPLAN (National Assessment Program, Literacy and Numeracy) testing identified 130,000 students requiring “additional support” to keep up with their classmates.

Grattan Institute Education Program Director Jordana Hunter said Australia was failing these children, and the key cause to the reading problem had been decades of disagreement about how to teach reading.

Dr Hunter was on the panel of experts set up by federal Education Minister Jason Clare to advise on priorities for a 10-year National School Reform Agreement, which is being negotiated with state and territory governments this year.

“It’s a preventable tragedy – the reason most of those students can’t read well enough is that we aren’t teaching them well enough,” she said.

The institute believes all schools should use the “structured literacy” approach, which includes a focus on phonics in the early years.

The Grattan report has called on all Australian state and territory governments, and Catholic and independent school sector leaders, to commit to a six-step “reading guarantee”.


Grattan Institute setting target for 90 per cent of kids to be reading proficiently in long term (By Mikaela Mulveney, The Australian


One third of Australian children can’t read properly as teaching methods cause ‘preventable tragedy’, Grattan Institute says (ABC News)