Page 3161 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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Education—national literacy centre
(Question No 223)

Ms Hunter asked the Minister for Education and Training, upon notice, on 17 June 2009:

(1) How many children have benefited from the establishment of the National Literacy Centre.

(2) Is this more than under the Parents as Tutors Program.

(3) Is there evidence of better outcomes for students than under the previous program.

(4) How many teachers have received personal development or mentoring to assist students on a day to day basis.

Mr Barr: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Currently 58 students have benefited from the U-CAN Read program offered by the National Capital Centre for Literacy Research. This includes 23 students who enrolled in the first cohort and 35 in the second. More enrolments will occur in terms three and four.

(2) Consistent with arrangements that existed for the Parents as Tutors program, the new U-CAN Read program aims to meet the needs of at least 80 families on an annual basis. The current program is on track to exceed this target in 2009.

(3) U-CAN Read has an improved focus on assessment and outcomes for students when compared with the Parents as Tutors Program. The new program has a strong research base and all students complete an intensive assessment schedule on entry and exit, which includes the following assessment tools: PM Benchmark Kit, Developmental Assessment Resource for Teachers, South Australian spelling test, writing samples, Dolch word list, observation schedule, miscue analysis, and an attitudinal questionnaire. Initial results from these assessments show there has been improvement in reading, writing and spelling.

(4) The U-CAN Read program offered by the National Capital Centre for Literacy Research commenced in January 2009. The program employs two consultants experienced in professional development, with a third consultant due to commence in July 2009. The teachers of all 58 students enrolled in the program have had the opportunity to enhance professional knowledge through:

• email and phone communication from the program consultants during the course

• attendance at ‘teacher observation’ workshops to observe a consultant working with parents and students in the program and see the approaches which best support parents

• attendance at the Parent Seminar Series

• professional development workshops which take place during stand-down periods (the first of these workshops is being offered in the July stand-down period).

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