Now that Developing early literacy: Assessment and teaching is in its second edition, the area that really engages me is how to teach early reading and child-centered approaches to learning. When most five-year-olds begin school they expect to learn to read quickly. How can we build on the knowledge that children bring to school, their interests, oral language, vocabulary and understanding of how print works?

Evidence-based assessments are useful and won’t go away, but an evidence-based approach needs to be combined with a child-focused approach to learning. I think that unless we focus on children as individuals who bring a huge range of experiences to early reading, then the English curriculum may become too mechanistic.

Let’s focus on children and what they can do. Children are very different today – think about how they are engaged today compared to ten years ago. A friend sent me this link of a one-year-old who thinks that a magazine is a broken iPad! Read the article here.

Watch the one-year-old on video here.

What does this one-year-old know about reading? Imagine this child’s experiences in the years before school – iPads, books, magazines and lots of talk. We will need to find out about what young children already know so that our teaching can be more successful.

The Australian National Curriculum will be implemented in 2012. Read about what all states in Australia will be doing to implement the curriculum here.