'Mind the gap': Effective literacy instruction for indigenous low-progress readers

Kevin Wheldall*, Robyn Beaman, Elizabeth Langstaff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A large gap is evident between the reading and related skills performance of Aboriginal students compared with that of their nonindigenous peers and this gap increases over the primary years of schooling. In this study, 34 students attended a tutorial centre in Sydney for older low-progress readers in Years 5 and 6, for two school terms. All students were referred by their schools on the basis of their reading difficulty and low socioeconomic status. The parents of 14 of these students self-identified as being Aboriginal. All students received an intensive, systematic skills-based remedial reading and spelling program (mornings only) and were assessed on a battery of literacy measures both prior to and following the two term intervention. The pre and posttest raw scores on all measures were analysed to determine the efficacy of the program. The group as a whole made large and highly significant gains on all measures of reading accuracy, comprehension, single word reading, nonword reading, spelling and oral reading fluency. There were no significant differences in gain between the two subgroups indicating that the program of instruction was equally beneficial for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAustralasian Journal of Special Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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