Efficacy of an evidence-based literacy preparation program for young children beginning school

Robyn Wheldall, Katharine Glenn, Sarah Arakelian, Alison Madelaine, Meree Reynolds, Kevin Wheldall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to provide evidence regarding the efficacy of an early literacy preparation program, PreLit, designed to improve the skills of young Australian children. Participants comprised 240 children in eight schools attending their first year of schooling. Children in the four experimental group schools received instruction in the program while children in the four comparison group schools continued with typical literacy activities in their classrooms. All children were assessed on measures of emergent literacy and language skills prior to and following intervention. It was found that 91% of students were in the bottom quartile for phonological awareness at pre-test. While neither the children nor their schools were randomly allocated to groups, the mean scores for the two groups were very similar at pre-test on all measures. Analyses showed that although the means for the two groups were not statistically different on any of the measures at post-test, significantly fewer students in experimental schools remained in the bottom quartile and more moved into the top quartile for phonological awareness skills, compared with students in the comparison schools. Fine grain analyses, taking into account additional qualitative data about the schools, helped to clarify these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-39
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Learning Difficulties
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


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