The Young Learners Project

The Young Learners Project is a collaboration between The Melbourne Graduate School of Education and the Australian Scholarships Group. This research is also being supported under the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects funding scheme (Project number LP0883437).

The personal and community benefits of achieving high levels of literacy are widely recognized, as are the costs of low achievement. However, some students leave school-education systems without achieving adequate levels, thereby limiting both their employment and life-style options. This project gives attention to the preschool years in which there is potential to develop skills within young children that will guard against future literacy failure.

The Young Learners' Project is a six year (2007-2012) research project which aims to identify factors in a four-year-old preschooler’s educational program, home-life or personal characteristics that are positively associated with the development of strong literacy outcomes in the first year of school-education.

Through investigating factors within preschool children, their family and educational settings, this project addresses a significant need to ensure all children have the necessary early literacy skills to enable them to achieve to their fullest potential.

Research Team

Past and present members

Steering Committee

Conference Presentations

2012

Patton, D. & Raban, B. (2012). Feedback as a teaching strategy for learning. Presentation delivered at the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Biennial Conference, Perth, October, 2012.

2011

Care, E. & Barringer, E. (2011). ELKS: Development of a Measure of Early Literacy. Presentation delivered at the annual conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Canberra, October, 2011.

Watson, L. (2011) The Role of Parents in the Reading Process. Keynote address presented at the European Federation of Associations of Teachers of the Deaf (FEAPDA) Conference, Sint-Michielsgestel, The Netherlands, October, 2011.
In her address, Dr Watson included aspects of the YLP research and was able to show that this work was applicable to specific groups, including families with a child with a disability, as well as mainstream.

Chan, E. M.-C. (2011). Young learners: Understanding children's early literacy reasoning using two-tier tasks. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Literacy Research Association, Jacksonville, FL, November–December, 2011.

Paatsch, L. Scull, J. & Raban, B. (2011) Young Learners: Teaching that supports pre-school children's oral language through talk about text. Presentation delivered at the annual conference of the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (PECERA), Hong Kong, December, 2011.

2010

Brown, M., Bortoli, A., & Byrnes, L. (2010). Young Learners’ Project. Symposium presented at the 17th ARECE Conference. Melbourne, January, 2010.

Scull, J., Nolan, A., & Raban, B. (2010). Young learners: Embedding literacy teaching in rich contexts for learning. Paper presented at the 17th ARECE Conference. Melbourne, January, 2010.

Scull, J., Paatsch, L., & Raban, B. (2010). Young learners: Enhancing children’s oral language through talk about text. Paper presented at the 17th ARECE Conference. Melbourne, January, 2010.

Church, A & Raban, B. (2010) Young Learners: Inspiring storybook reading environments respond to children. Paper presented at the Early Childhood Australia Conference. Adelaide, September, 2010.

2009

Scull, J., Brown, R., & Deans, J. (2009). Literacy in the preschool: Teachers’ beliefs, theories and practices. Paper presented at the AATE/ALEA National Conference for teachers of English and Literacy. Hobart, July, 2009.

Raban, B., Brown., P.M. & Scull., J. (2009). The Young Leaner’s’ Project: Learning and literacy in the early years. Papers presented at The Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education. Canberra, November - December, 2009.

Scull, J. (2009). Young Learners’: Mapping preschool teachers’ beliefs, theories and practices. Paper presented at the AATE/ALEA National Conference for teachers of English and Literacy. Hobart, July, 2009.

2008

Church, A. (2008). Contiguity in child-teacher talk. Paper presented at the Australian Linguistics Society Conference. Sydney, July 2008.

The 16th Annual Australian Research in Early Childhood Education Conference (ARECE).

6th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education.

Australian Linguistics Society Conference.

Seminars

2011

Associate Professor Margaret Brown – At the University of Birmingham

In May, Associate Professor Margaret Brown presented a seminar at the University of Birmingham, UK entitled “From macro to micro: Leading a large research programme – the team, colleagues and students in the Young Learners’ Project.” Professor Brown used this project to illustrate the nature of Linkage projects and how these types of projects support early career researchers and students to become part of a research community.

Professor David Dickinson – At the University of Melbourne

Professor David Dickinson from Peabody College of Education, Vanderbilt University USA, visited the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and delivered a seminar – Early Language and Literacy Development Among Children Learning a New Language – presenting data from a project which explored patterns of growth among children’s competencies and the results of on-going analyses seeking to identify features of classrooms that might predict growth. His book Beginning Literacy with Language, reporting US data resonates well with our work here in Australia.

Publications

Articles & Refereed Papers

Raban, B. & Scull, J. (2013) Young Learners: Defining literacy in the early years - a contested space. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood 38(1) 100-106.

Brown, P.M., Byrnes, L.J., Raban, B. & Watson, L (2012) Young Learners: The home literacy environments of Australian four-year-olds. Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

Brown, R., Scull, J., Nolan A., Raban, B. & Deans, J. (2012). Mapping the beliefs and practices of early childhood teachers in relation to early literacy development. Australian Educational Researcher, Online First ™, 23 April 2012.

Raban, B. (2012). Early Literacy - Audience, Context and Purpose. Practically Primary, 17(2), 4-5.

Raban, B., Scull, J., Nolan, A., & Paatsch, L. (2010). Young Learners: Teaching that supports Learning about literacy in the preschool. Invited Publication in the School of Continuing Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, 35th Anniversary Anthology of Educational Research, December, 2010.

Church, A., (2010). Opportunities for learning during storybook reading at preschool. Applied Linguistics Review, 1 (1), 225-251.

Scull, J., Brown, R., & Deans, J. (2009). Literacy in the preschool: Teachers’ beliefs, theories and practices. Paper presented at the AATE/ALEA National Conference for teachers of English and Literacy. Hobart, July, 2009.

Raban, B., Brown, M., Care, E., Rickards, F. & O'Connell,T. (2009) Young Learners: Learning and Literacy in the Early Years. AARE International Education Research Conference.

DEST Early Childhood Learning Resources (2005). Summary of the literature – Information for parents and carers. A summary of the extensive literature review undertaken by Professor Marilyn Fleer and Professor Bridie Raban