MultiLit is a research initiative of Macquarie University, Sydney

Since 1990, a research team led by Professor Kevin Wheldall AM from Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC) has been researching how best to teach children who struggle to learn to read and more effective  ways of managing children’s behaviour in the classroom.

In 1995, Professor Wheldall launched the Making Up Lost Time In Literacy (or MultiLit) Initiative at MUSEC as a focus for a program of research and product development. The MultiLit Research Unit was established in 2006 within MultiLit as the focus for continuing research.

The early MultiLit research (1996 – 1998) is detailed in the report commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA, now DEEWR) entitled An Evaluation of MultiLit (Wheldall & Beaman, 2000).

An independent evaluation of MiniLit was undertaken the NSW Department of Education and Evidence for Learning, with the results published in 2019.

MultiLit has as its core belief the conviction that effective instruction is the key to growth in any area of the curriculum. Our aim is to bring about learning by whatever means scientific research has shown to be most effective. We subscribe to a continually evolving approach to literacy instruction, changing as more scientific evidence becomes available from either within the MultiLit research team or from the international scientific reading research community.

MultiLit Research Unit (MRU)

The MultiLit Research Unit (MRU) provides a focus for systematic scientific enquiry into how best to meet the instructional needs of students who have difficulty learning to read. It comprises eight experts with doctorates in the fields of reading and related skills. Read more about MRU members here.

Formally established in 2006 by Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM, and Dr Robyn Wheldall, the MRU provides a vital link between the development activities of MultiLit as a publisher of literacy programs and resources, and the ongoing body of scientific research.

One of the main aims of the MRU is to research the efficacy of MultiLit instructional programs. In 2021, program trials were conducted to examine the progress of students receiving instruction in MiniLit Sage (see summary here) and MultiLit’s new program, LanguageLift (see summary here). These programs are now undergoing more rigorous evaluation via research trials.

Members of the MRU contribute regularly to the publication Nomanis, and to the growing collection of Nomanis Notes, which are one-page summaries of evidence relating to instructional practices.

To get in touch with the MultiLit Research Unit regarding participating in a trial, requesting articles or references, publishing with MRU Press, or working with us, please contact the MRU here.

What’s New at MRU?

Recent news from MRU includes:

Two books edited or written by MRU members have been published in 2023. You can order these academic publications from MultiLit Bookshop.

Effective Instruction in Reading and Spelling, edited by Kevin Wheldall, Robyn Wheldall and Jennifer Buckingham, provides an accessible, up-to-date guide to evidence-informed practices in teaching reading and spelling.
Developing Spelling Skills Across the Age Range: An Introduction by Peter Westwood, steps through the skills required to be an accurate speller and how teachers can impart these skills to students of all ages.

Read the news about MRU’s new publication Effective Instruction in Reading and Spelling here.

Dr Jennifer Buckingham from the MRU has been quoted in recent articles in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, and The West Australian.

In 2021, journal articles by MRU members were accepted for publication in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties and the Australian Journal of Education. See below for details.

Recent research publications

Journal articles

Kishida, Y., Main, S., Carter, M., Kemp, C., & Campbell, A. (2022). Preservice teachers’ accuracy in measuring child engagement using a digitised momentary time sampling measure. Learning and Motivation, 80, 101839.

Korner, H., Carter, M., & Stephenson, J. (2023). Coaching parents of young children with complex communication needs to implement aided language stimulation using Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display communication books. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, Advance online publication, 1-18.

Loschiavo, K., Danchin, M., Murrihy, C., Williams, K., Ure, A., Carter, M., Carlon, S., Goin-Kochel, R. P., Bagot, K. L., & Kaufman, J. (2022). Exploring the routine vaccination experience of Australian autistic children and their families: A qualitative study. SSM – Qualitative Research in Health, 2, 100193.

Stephenson, J., Carter, M., Webster, A., Waddy, N., & Morris, T. (2022). Supporting students with disability: Learning and support teachers and learning support teams in NSW schools. Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, Advance online publication, 1-13.

Sng, C. Y., Carter, M., Stephenson, J., & Sweller, N. (2022). Conversations with individuals with ASD: Effect of relationship, contact regularity, and age on partner perceptions. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 69(2), 415-434.
Click to view accepted manuscript

Anderson, A. H., Stephenson, J., & Carter, M. (2022). A qualitative study of the transition to employment of former university students on the autism spectrum from Australia and New Zealand. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities. Advance online publication.
Click to view accepted manuscript

Haas, K., Carter, M., Stephenson, J., & Gibbs, V. (2022). Benefits and challenges of a hybrid distance education program for autistic school-age students: Parent, Student and teacher perspectives. Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education, 46(1), 61-73.
Click to view accepted manuscript

Conference paper presentations

Buckingham, J. (2022, October 23). Effective, evidence-based reading instruction for every student, every day: How far have we come and what remains to be done? Learning Difficulties Australia Conference (Melbourne).

Notley, A. (2022, October 22). Preliminary demonstration of student progress using LanguageLift. ResearchEd 2022 (Sydney).

Buckingham, J. & Young, J. (2022, September 28). What does the MultiLit Closing the Gap initiative look like in your school? Anangu Lands Partnership conference (Adelaide).

Buckingham, J. (2022, September 22). The Right to Read Inquiry: Responding to Opposition (Reading Recovery). [Videoconference presentation]. The Right to Read Inquiry: Responding to Opposition (Ontario).

Buckingham, J. (2022, September 17). Efficient and accurate word reading: A close look at the scientific research evidence for systematic synthetic phonics instruction. Sharing Best Practice (Sydney).

Publications by members of the MultiLit Research Unit: Copies of most of the research articles are available on request from MultiLit Pty Ltd.  Contact the MRU for a copy.


Nomanis is a magazine targeted towards educationalists interested in reading instruction and development. Nomanis is published twice yearly.
All issues can be found here.

Nomanis Notes

Nomanis Notes are written for use by parents, educators and other professionals who work with children. They contain concise descriptions of the evidence pertaining to specific educational practices, some of which may be regarded as controversial. Many of the articles consist of revised and updated versions of the MUSEC Briefings, previously published by Macquarie University Special Education Centre. All Nomanis Notes can be found here.

MultiLit Evaluation Report

The early research on MultiLit (1996 – 1998) is detailed in the published research report commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA, now DEEWR) entitled ‘An Evaluation of MultiLit’ (Wheldall & Beaman, 2000).

The Evaluation Report contains the theoretical background to the MultiLit Reading Tutor Program in addition to providing detailed outcome studies for a number of MultiLit efficacy studies carried out between the years 1996-1998.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Executive Summary of the Report.

Limited copies of the complete report are available from MultiLit Pty Ltd. Please contact the MRU for a copy.

Wheldall, K., & Beaman, R. (2000). An evaluation of MultiLit: ‘Making Up Lost Time In Literacy’. Canberra: Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs.

MiniLit Evaluation

MultiLit partnered with the NSW Department of Education and Evidence for Learning to undertake an independent evaluation of our literacy intervention program for struggling Year 1 readers, MiniLit, in 2017.

The evaluation was conducted by researchers from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The study found MiniLit had positive effects on foundational reading skills.

Read a summary of the research from the University of Melbourne and MCRI team: Click here

Read MultiLit’s two-page explainer, highlighting the key findings of the study: Click here

Read an extended analysis of the evaluation and its results from the MultiLit Research Unit: Click here

Watch a video on how MiniLit works and the research behind the program: Click here

In MultiLit Research

Conference Papers

Return to Research Publications MultiLit Research Unit (MRU) Madelaine, A., McMurtrie, A., Reynolds, M., Arakelian, S., Wheldall, R., & Wheldall, K. (2018, October). Effective initial instruction in reading: An Australian

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MultiLit Research Unit (MRU)

MRU Members The MultiLit Research Unit (MRU) was established within Macquarie University Special Education Centre in 2006 to co-ordinate continuing research into effective instruction for low-progress readers. The MRU is directed

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What’s New at MRU?

Recent news from MRU includes: A book containing a chapter by Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Dr Robyn Wheldall and Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall was awarded the 2019 Australian Educational Publishing Award for Reference Resource. The chapter,

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MultiLit Evaluation Report

The early research on MultiLit (1996 – 1998) is detailed in the published research report commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA, now DEEWR) entitled

Read More

Research Publications

Recent publications by members of the MultiLit Research Unit since 2006:Academic journal articlesBooks, published reports and edited special issues of journalsChapters in edited booksConference papersInstructional materialsOther public outputUnpublished research reportsCopies

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MUSEC Briefings

MUSEC Briefings were provided as a community service to inform educators and other professionals about the evidence base for a variety of educational practices, some of which were regarded as

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