MultiLit to provide programs under Closing the Gap Implementation Plan

Leading Australian literacy education provider, MultiLit Pty Ltd, is delighted to have been invited by the Australian Government to provide reading and spelling programs for students in majority Indigenous schools as part of the school education measures outlined in the Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.

Originating as a research initiative of Macquarie University, MultiLit is an Australian success story working with thousands of school communities, students and educators each year. MultiLit has been developing and publishing literacy programs for schools for more than 25 years and has offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.   

Over this period, MultiLit has worked extensively with government and non-government school systems to improve reading outcomes for students using its programs. This includes a long history and deep experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and educators in urban and remote settings.

These efforts began in the early 1990s, when MultiLit Directors and Co-Founders Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM and Dr Robyn Wheldall worked with Redfern Public School on improving the literacy outcomes of their students.

Professor Wheldall and Dr Wheldall went on to collaborate with Indigenous leader Noel Pearson on pilot studies in 2005 using MultiLit programs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Coen, Cape York. In 2007, this relationship was formalised through the funding of MultiLit programs in four Cape York schools by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Welfare Reform Trial. The project saw MultiLit tutorial centres operating in three school sites in Cape York – Hope Vale, Mossman and Coen – from 2008, with an additional school site, Aurukun added in 2009. These tutorial centres offered formal literacy programs, including the MultiLit Reading Tutor Program and MiniLit program, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to help fast-track their reading and related skills.

MultiLit partnered with the Exodus Foundation over a 20-year period to offer the Schoolwise Program, primarily at sites in Sydney’s Ashfield and Redfern, to students at risk of becoming disaffected from school. This partnership included work demonstrating the efficacy of MultiLit’s programs with Indigenous students, and in 2009, the program was expanded to three sites in Darwin, sponsored in part by the Commonwealth Government, with a specific focus on supporting Indigenous youth.

MultiLit also collaborated with the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence in 2012 on a trial of the Online Reading Tutor Program with Indigenous students in remote locations across Australia, as well as a trial of the MacqLit program with the Northern Territory Department of Education.

Most recently, in 2021, MultiLit commenced a research and implementation partnership with a multi-campus flexible learning centre in the Northern Territory, which caters predominantly for marginalised Indigenous young people.

“MultiLit looks forward to working with majority Indigenous school communities to provide the highest quality literacy instruction for their students. We know successful literacy outcomes underpin all other academic achievements,” said Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM, Chairman of MultiLit and Director of the MultiLit Research Unit.

Commitment to evidence-based instruction

MultiLit is committed to an exceptional standard of evidence-based instruction. The company’s program development is guided by a dedicated Research Unit, which comprises seven members with PhDs and other tertiary qualifications in literacy, speech pathology, and linguistics. MultiLit Directors Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall and Dr Robyn Wheldall maintain academic affiliations with Macquarie University.

During the program development process, MultiLit works with partner schools to ensure all programs are subjected to a rigorous and scientific process of development, field trial, pilot, and formal evaluation. Results of program evaluations are published in peer-reviewed academic journals and independent evaluations have been conducted.

Also underscoring MultiLit’s commitment to lifting the bar on evidence-based education is our community education project, Five from Five, which provides free general resources, professional learning and consultancy on literacy teaching, planning, and policy to teachers, schools, school systems and education authorities.

For more information:

Dr Jennifer Buckingham
Director of Strategy and Senior Research Fellow, MultiLit
e: [email protected]
m: 0438 608 451

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