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
Primary school teachers, especially those working in early childhood, will benefit from this workshop.

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 seminar 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.


Primary school teachers, especially those working in early childhood, will benefit from this workshop.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

This course is always open and you can join at any time.

Please note that we run this online course on the Open Learning platform, and you should expect an invitation to the course within 2 working days. There are no set times when you must attend any webinars etc, everything you need will be ready to access inside the course. If you have any problems accessing the course please contact and we will assist you.

This course contributes to 6.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Face to Face - Individual in Australia (WA) at this time.


Phonics instruction at your school

25 minutes

Participants are presented with a definition and comparison of synthetic and analytic phonics instruction (includes video). They discuss the form of phonics instruction at their school.

Synthetic Phonics - the research

25 minutes

Presentation on research findings from English-speaking countries

Principles of synthetic phonics programs

40 minutes

Participants evaluate their phonics program using a checklist of principles

Morning tea

30 minutes


Comparing synthetic phonics programs

1 hour and 10 minutes

Participants look closely at and compare components of 2 programs: Letters and Sounds
Get Reading Right


50 minutes


Multisensory activities for teaching synthetic phonics

1 hour

Participants take part in multisensory activities and games they can use in a synthetic phonics program

Resources for teaching synthetic phonics

30 minutes

Participants are shown a range of resources including Dandelion Readers, ReadWrite Inc and Phonics Hero

The place of synthetic phonics in a balanced literacy program

30 minutes

Participants discuss ways in which they can incorporate synthetic phonics teaching in their literacy program

What To Bring

Dice, counters, pencils

No Reviews

There are no reviews of this format at this time.

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.