Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun

Shirley Houston
Promoting a sound start to learning
Look at models of synthetic phonics instruction and learn about effective resources and fun-filled strategies for use in research-based teaching.
Target Audience
Early Childhood and Primary teachers
35 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Systematic Synthetic Phonics has been identified in Australia and other English-speaking countries as the most successful approach to the teaching of reading and spelling. This part-to-whole approach involves ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes which can then be blended together to read or spell a written word. In December 2005, DEST published the results of its National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. It determined that if synthetic phonics was taught first, “the combined effects” of phonics instruction and whole language instruction was significantly more effective than phonics instruction on its own. Sadly, six years later, many teachers do not know what synthetic phonics is and work in schools where there is nothing systematic about the way in which phonics is taught. This course provides participants with an opportunity to look at models of synthetic phonics instruction and become familiar with effective and fun-filled strategies for such instruction.


Early Childhood and Primary teachers

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Course Access - This course is available 24/7. Once your enrolment is complete you will be emailed with details to give you course access. You can complete the course when it suits you, and you will have ongoing access to revisit the course at any time.

My school has TTA School Membership - If your school has TTA School Membership and will be paying for your course, please enrol in the normal way. Upon submitting your enrolment confirmation, your enrolment request will be sent to your PD Coordinator for approval. Once they approve the enrolment you will be emailed with details for course access. The school will not be charged until the PD Coordinator approves the enrolment.

Did you know that courses are 50% off with TTA School Membership? - Click here to learn more about School Membership

Are you paying for this PD yourself? - If so, you might benefit from TTA Online Individual Subscription. Pay $299 + GST and access up to 20 PD hours over 12 months. Click here to learn more about Individual Subscription.

Money Back Guarantee - If you complete less than 25% of an online course and aren’t impressed, simply visit to let us know what happened, and we will cancel your enrolment and provide a full refund.

Teaching Standards

1.2.2 Proficient Level – Understand how students learn
1.5.2 Proficient Level – Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities
1.6.2 Proficient Level – Strategies to support full participation of students with disability
2.1.2 Proficient Level – Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
2.5.2 Proficient Level – Literacy and numeracy strategies

Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you


Completing this course will contribute 6 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing 12.1, 1.5.2, 1.6.2, 2.1.2 & 2.5.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

This course contributes to 6.0 professional development hours.


  Start Date Location Availability Price    
Enrol Now Now Online Places available $269 + GST Enrol Now


Welcome and Overview

30 minutes

Course Overview
Course Requirements
Technical Requirements
Reference to Professional Standards
Join the Online Community

Phonics instruction at our school

30 minutes

Defining systematic phonics instruction
The differences between analytic and synthetic phonics
Phonics instruction at your school.

Synthetic phonics - the research

1 hour

Research findings on effective literacy instruction in English-speaking countries
Research findings on synthetic phonics instruction.

Principles and structure of synthetic phonics programs

30 minutes

A checklist of principles of synthetic phonics instruction
The structure of daily synthetic phonics instruction
Evaluating the phonics program in your classroom/school

Comparing synthetic phonics programs

1 hour and 30 minutes

Comparing components of two synthetic phonics programs: Letters and Sounds (UK) and Get Reading Right (Australia).

Multisensory activities and resources for teaching synthetic phonics

1 hour and 30 minutes

Trialling and assessing multisensory activities and resources that can be used in a synthetic phonics program
Sharing activities and resources

Course Summary -the place of synthetic phonics in a balanced literacy program

30 minutes

Determining ways in which you can incorporate synthetic phonics principles and teaching in your literacy program.

What To Bring

See Technical Requirements

User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Anne LeMerle on 22/03/2018

The course has been brilliant – informative, inspiring and motivating. Shirley Houston was supportive, encouraging and provided outstanding guidance.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Sabine Bolick on 28/12/2017

The course gave an excellent background to synthetic phonics and the research that supports it. I really liked the videos showing lessons in action. It was interesting that so much of the course focussed on outlining and comparing programs, however, some key programs available in Australia weren’t included. I think some of the comments about programs were also a bit subjective.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Lisa Kohler on 04/12/2017

The Synthetics Phonic course provided a great introduction to the use of synthetic phonics in the classroom.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Bruna Krstulovic on 14/09/2017

It was a very interesting course and it strengthened my strategies to teach synthetic phonics. The course also provided a range of good educational resources for the participants to use and put into practice. Shirley was also always prompt to respond to our comments and to provide a feedback and guidance. Excellent materials for professional development!

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Ben Wiggins on 30/08/2017

The ‘Synthetic Phonics Fast and Fun’ course really lived up to its name. The course was set out in a systematic, sequential and practical manner. The course began with an in-depth look at the theory and research behind the importance of synthetic phonics in reading instruction. The videos used to demonstrate theory in practice really contexualised the learning. With a broader knowledge of phonics, I was able to more effectively trial the phonics programs, teaching methods and resources provided within the modules. The final task of designing my own action plan highlighted the knowledge and skills I had gained from the course. Shirley, the presenter, was there to answer any questions and always provided timely feedback on the tasks I completed throughout the course.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Melissa Medlicott on 30/08/2017

Synthetic Phonics Fast and Fun was an informative course on synthetic phonics and also provided many useful tools that can be used in the classroom.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Jacqueline Davies on 12/06/2017

Parts of the course were suitable for Preschool Educators and Primary School Educators. The websites such as Phonics Hero and Letters and Sounds are wonderful and will be used often in my classroom. I found some of the videos very valuable, e.g. segment from Today Tonight showing parts of lessons. Shirley replied promptly to my comments and requests.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Alexandra McGain on 08/06/2017

This course was informative and engaging. It provided wonderful resources on synthetic phonic instruction and how to implement a successful phonics program to students. The support that the Tutor provided was outstanding, which allowed you to ask questions and to trial skills learnt during the course and receive feedback on your implementation and results. I would highly recommend this course to anyone teaching young students.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Sam O'Kane on 08/06/2017

The course very informative. It was set out in a clear order, that made learning easy. I like the idea of synthetic phonics and appreciated the opportunity to read other teachers feedback and comments on how it worked in practice. This was a good course to be involved in as you could do it at your own pace within the required yet flexible time frame. I now have a better understanding of synthetic phonics and the student’s in my class are really benefiting from this approach.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Shahla Wahid on 20/01/2017

This course provided the opportunity to look at models of synthetic phonics instruction and become familiar with effective and fun-filled strategies for such instruction. I found it a very useful course as it made my mind very clear about this terminology and how I can apply it effectively in the class room.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun

This course provided the opportunity to look at models of synthetic phonics instruction and become familiar with effective and fun-filled strategies for such instruction. I found it a very useful course as it made my mind very clear about this terminology and how I can apply it effectively in the class room.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Louise Burden on 14/09/2016

I found the resources fascinating because they were up to date and relevant but more importantly they were underpinned by recent research material which enabled me to review and consolidate my teaching philosophy. Combine this with the preparedness of the instructor to engage in deep discussion in relation to the complexities of my low functioning disability students I have been able to apply this newfound knowledge to the individual students in my class. Knowing that my class dynamics can change in future years I now feel prepared to meet their learning needs with a vast array of tools in my new toolkit.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Faeza Samnakay on 29/07/2016

I found this course very comprehensive in providing a good overview of best evidence based practice in reading. It was systematic and hands on. There are opportunities to check out several resources and adapt them to individual contexts. I found this course particularly useful for my special needs setting.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Kristie Fleeting on 30/03/2016

I found the course very informative and it was a great reassurance for myself to know that I am on the right track when teaching phonics. I loved being able to search through the websites given and found some very useful resources.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Michelle Campbell on 02/12/2015

Found the course to be very informative. The documents on the relevant research were interesting and a source of valuable information, very relevant to my teaching. The Websites are a valuable resource and handy to be able to access and learn about.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Erin Marriott on 02/12/2015

The content of the course was great. Relevant with an informed and passionate teacher. I liked that it was based on loads of research, which was readily available to us. This course has not only been of high value to myself but will be to my colleagues also as we make changes to how we teach phonics at my school. I am however really disappointed at the lack of participant interaction, it seemed like there was hardly anyone else who did all of the required tasks. This would maybe sway me towards face to face courses in the future, peer teaching is of such great value.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Matthew Densley on 30/11/2015

The course offered a lot of very good resources that you are able to quickly adopt and implement into your practice. I liked the data that was given to demonstrate how effective Synthetic Phonics can be.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Casey Simpson on 12/10/2015

I found the idea of Synthetic Phonics very interesting though at times challenging. There was a lot of information made available and much I found very interesting reading but at times it was quite repetitive. It has been good to know what recourse are out there and available to us though if we choose to go this way in our phonics program.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Victoria Tannock on 06/10/2015

I found this course very resourceful. It had a lot of valuable resources to download or links to click on to use to gather information. I especially enjoyed hearing from other teachers in the forums about what they do or have tried. I printed out a lot of the information that I could and have been able to start a resource folder to refer back to.

Synthetic Phonics - Fast and Fun
by Fiona Yeo on 06/10/2015

I thought the course was great, it certainly broadened my knowledge of synthetic phonics and provided excellent discussion points for us to use at our school amongst staff.

About the team

Shirley Houston


Shirley has a Masters degree in Special Education and has been teaching in the area of Special Needs for 30 years. She has taught in government and independent schools, primary and secondary, universities and TAFE. Shirley has also taught in several states of Australia and in the U.S. Her particular interests are specific learning difficulties, early childhood, education of young gifted children and literacy. She loves travel, reading and music.