MultiLit’s approach to improving the literacy skills of struggling students is to combine research and theory with program development and service delivery. The approach we take is non-categorical, which means that we do not focus on the causes underlying or reasons why a child may have failed to make progress in reading. These labels have not been found to be useful in determining how a child can best be helped to learn.
Our approach is to find out what skills students do have and which areas are cause for concern, and to then fill in their knowledge with direct, systematic and intensive teaching and/or tutoring of these skills.
The methods used by MultiLit are based on over 30 years of research undertaken by members of the MultiLit Research Unit.
MultiLit was coined as an acronym for ‘Making Up Lost Time In Literacy’ in 1995 to refer to the ongoing program of research and development into more effective instruction for low-progress readers conducted by Professor Kevin Wheldall and his colleagues at Macquarie University Special Education Centre. The MultiLit Research Unit was then established to provide a focus for systematic scientific inquiry into how best to meet the instructional needs of students who are struggling to acquire basic reading and related skills, for whatever reason.
One of the products of this enterprise has been the development of the MultiLit Reading Tutor Program. More recently, the focus has turned to the development of small group versions of the program for both younger and older low-progress readers.
But MultiLit is more than just the name of a literacy program for low-progress readers. It is an educational approach that has as its core belief the conviction that effective instruction is the key to growth in any area of the curriculum. In this sense, MultiLit is more accurately conceptualised as an approach, or a determination, to bring about rapid learning for low-progress students by whatever means scientific research has shown to be most effective. Consequently, it is a continually evolving approach to literacy instruction, changing as more scientific evidence becomes available from either within the MultiLit research team per se or, more generally, from the international scientific reading research community.
MultiLit is then a data driven approach to education, employing programs of proven efficacy and continually collecting data on the effectiveness of the programs deployed. By engaging with parents, teachers, schools, and government, our aim is to bring about major educational change so that far fewer children are left to struggle in school with inadequate reading and related skills, the skills essential for academic success in all areas.
As well as training parents and teachers to work with low-progress readers, we are also working on community projects in partnership with community organisations and government to bring about fundamental change in the educational prospects of low-progress readers, particularly those from socially disadvantaged and Indigenous backgrounds.
“We believe that what low-progress readers need is good effective instruction and that is what we can best provide.”
BA, PhD, CPsychol, MAPS, FBPsS, FCollP, FIARLD, FASSA
Chairman, MultiLit Pty Ltd
Director MultiLit Research Unit