Case Study: Toowoomba Anglican School, Qld

Based on extensive research into how children learn to read, MultiLit has been supporting educators to provide effective literacy instruction for more than 30 years.

This case study demonstrates how MultiLit programs are having a significant impact: both in building teachers’ knowledge and capacity and lifting student learning outcomes.


Toowoomba Anglican School, QLD

Toowoomba Anglican School is proud of its stated goal for all students, regardless of where they begin in their learning journey, to achieve their best. It backs this up with a commitment to learning programs that reflect current educational evidence and quality instructional methods.

So, it’s no surprise the school was one of the first in the Sunshine State to partner with MultiLit, rolling out InitiaLit programs across Prep to Year 2 classrooms in 2018.

Since then, there has been a 14 per cent improvement in its average Year 3 NAPLAN reading score. While the number of students struggling to learn to read – requiring additional and costly reading intervention – has fallen dramatically.

“Previously, we would have about a third of Year 1 students taking part in literacy intervention outside of the classroom to try to get them up to minimum standard,” said Toowoomba Anglican School head of primary, Jason Locke.

“However, within one year of adopting InitiaLit, only 15 per cent of Year 1 students required intervention.”

The effectiveness of InitiaLit, an evidence-based whole-class literacy program, comes down to its systematic and sequential teaching of the essential core knowledge and skills needed to become successful readers and writers.

Children are explicitly taught phonics in a set sequence that starts with the simple alphabetic code and works towards more advanced letter-sound correspondences. InitiaLit decodable readers help them practice this important skill and become confident readers.

Children are also taught common morphemes and simple grammatical concepts, vocabulary, oral language, and listening comprehension through quality children’s literature. Detailed lessons, including writing tasks, are provided for each of the storybook titles selected.

In 2022, five years after adopting the program, Toowoomba Anglican School achieved its highest-ever Year 3 NAPLAN reading result. This has again translated into 2023 NAPLAN results and has been correlated against other standardised testing results such as PAT.

“It was a significant milestone for us because it was the first cohort of students to have benefitted from the continual provision of InitiaLit from the time they started school, so that was confirmation that what we’ve been doing has worked,” Mr Locke said.

“It was especially pleasing to see this trend improve over 2023 data and our future data predictions tell us that this upward trend will continue in the future.”

“Our partnership with MultiLit has meant that all our teachers across all classes from Prep to Year 2 are equipped to provide evidence-based instruction and all students are supported to learn to the best of their ability.

“Importantly, parents can see that the difference is palpable.”

According to Mr Locke, the approach has also had flow-on effects for other areas of the curriculum.

“In addition to our NAPLAN literacy results being off the chart, our students’ numeracy scores have also improved,” he said.

“And that comes down to their improved decoding skills, which are important when it comes to being able to interpret problem-solving questions in mathematics.”

Toowoomba Anglican School has recently started opening its doors to educators looking to improve their literacy teaching and see the program in action.

MultiLit has seen uptake of InitiaLit program by Queensland schools jump almost 30 per cent over the past 12 months.

To find out more about InitiaLit, please visit our website or contact [email protected]

Enjoyed this case study? Read about Upwey South Primary School in Victoria.

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