Structured, Explicit Literacy Teaching

posted in: Reading | 0

In his article, Odegard (2020) discusses the importance of the structured, explicit teaching of literacy, He notes that this approach is particularly beneficial for students with dyslexia who require more intense and sustained instruction compared to their typically developing peers to become proficient readers. However, it is an approach that is also beneficial for all beginning readers.[divider]

There are two key aspects to be considered: What to teach and how to teach.

What to teach: It is now well-established that an effective literacy program should target:

  • Phonological awareness (and in particular phoneme manipulation)
  • Sound-symbol connections (i.e., phonics)
  • Word structure and patterns
  • Morphology
  • Semantics
  • Grammatical structure

How to teach: Explicit instruction is characterised by the sequenced delivery of the content whereby specific concepts are taught:

  • Directly (students are not expected to figure it out by themselves)
  • In a logical progression from the more basic concepts to the more difficult concepts
  • In manageable chunks based on the needs of the student
  • At a delivery rate consistent with the student’s learning
  • Using active engagement (students are expected to respond and demonstrate skill acquisition)
  • With deliberate, multiple and spaced practice so ‘overlearning’ occurs
  • By providing immediate and corrective feedback which highlights the area of confusion and provides strategies for remedying this area of weakness
  • While continually monitoring students’ understanding, which in turn informs future instruction
  • In conjunction with providing ample opportunities to apply concepts learned to reading real texts


Odegard, T. (2020).  Structured literacy is exemplified by an explicit approach to teaching. Perspectives on Language and Literacy. 46 (1):