The Young Learners Project

Research Fellow

Renata Aliani

Project Details

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.


Past and present members

  • Associate Professor Margaret Brown (Team Leader)
  • Ms Emelie Barringer
  • Dr Anna Bortoli
  • Mr Robert Brown
  • Dr Linda Byrnes
  • Associate Professor Esther Care
  • Ms Esther Chan
  • Dr Amelia Church
  • Ms Jan Deans
  • Ms Lucy Jackson
  • Dr Anne-Marie Morrissey (now at Deakin University)
  • Associate Professor Andrea Nolan (now at Victoria University)
  • Dr Louise Paatsch (now at Deakin University)
  • Mr Derek Patton
  • Professor Bridie Raban
  • Dr Maria Remine
  • Dr Janet Scull
  • Ms Lena Tan
  • Dr Linda Watson (University of Birmingham, UK)
  • Renata Aliani

Steering Committee



Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects funding scheme (Project number LP0883437)

Published Research

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 developmentAustralian 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


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