Macquarie University
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Literacy and social disadvantage: an evaluation of research-based literacy interventions for low-progress readers in a school with high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:48 authored by Jennifer Buckingham
This thesis has three main components. First, a literature review investigating the links between socioeconomic disadvantage and literacy, published in two parts. Part I looks at the early (prior to school) years and finds that the relationship between socioeconomic status and literacy is largely due to proximal factors associated with social disadvantage, including the quality of the early home learning environment and parenting practices. Part II focuses on the school years, finding that literacy gaps associated with socioeconomic status are mediated by other factors at both the individual level and, more powerfully, at the school level. This includes quality of literacy instruction. Second, results of experimental studies of school-based reading intervention trials are reported in four papers. Two papers report the results of randomised control trials of two small group interventions — one for young struggling readers (MiniLit) and one for older low-progress readers (MultiLit). Both found especially strong effects on measures of phonological recoding. Follow up studies of participants in these trials are also reported in two papers,which compare the responses to the intervention in the two phases. A fifth paper provides a case study of the implementation of the trials in the context of the participating school. A discussion chapter synthesises the findings of the literature reviews and the experimental studies, and draws conclusions for research and practice. Finally, a paper is included that argues that the literacy gap associated with socioeconomic status can be ameliorated with good instruction and intervention, and that these are still lacking in many schools due to inadequate teacher preparation and misguided policy.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Why poor children are likely to become poor readers : the early years -- Chapter 3. Why poor children are likely to become poor readers : the school years -- Chapter 4. A randomised control trial of a Tier 2 small group intervention ('MiniLit') for young struggling readers -- Chapter 5. Evaluation of a two-phase implementation of a Tier 2 (small group) reading intervention for young struggling readers -- Chapter 6. A randomised control trial of a MultiLit small group intervention for older low-progress readers -- Chapter 7. Evaluation of a two-phase, cross-over study of a small group ("MultiLit") reading intervention for older low-progress readers -- Chapter 8. Discussion -- Appendix 1. Why Jaydon can't read : the triumph of ideology over evidence in teaching reading.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University Special Education Centre

Department, Centre or School

Special Education Centre

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kevin Wheldall

Additional Supervisor 1

Robyn Beaman

Additional Supervisor 2

Mark Carter


Copyright Jennifer Buckingham 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (x, 220 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:52572 2200609 | (AuNrM)2200609-macqdb-Voyager