Our Story

MultiLit is dedicated to improving the literacy skills of all students. To do so, we have developed books and resources that are easy to use for parents, caregivers and teachers to support any child’s literacy development journey.

Our programs are grounded in scientific evidence-based best practice. The research team that makes this possible is continually broadening their knowledge and has done so for over 25 years. Our research team, led by Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM, provides crucial insights to help us create and curate our high-quality literacy resources.

MultiLit (Making Up Lost Time in Literacy) Pty Ltd was spun out of Macquarie University in 2006 and is a leading provider of effective literacy instruction in Australasia.

All our resources take an explicit, systematic approach to teaching reading.

Our Approach to Reading
MultiLit’s approach to improving the literacy skills of struggling students is to combine research and theory with program development and service delivery. The approach we take is non-categorical, which means that we do not focus on the underlying causes or reasons why a child may have failed to make progress in reading. These labels have not been found to be useful in determining how a child can best be helped to learn.

Our approach is to find out what skills students do have and which areas are cause for concern, and to then fill in their knowledge with direct, systematic and intensive teaching and/or tutoring of these skills.

The methods used by MultiLit Pty Ltd are based on over 30 years of research undertaken by members of the MultiLit Research Unit.

MultiLit was coined as an acronym for ‘Making Up Lost Time in Literacy’ in 1995 to refer to the ongoing program of research and development into more effective instruction for low-progress readers conducted by Professor Kevin Wheldall and his colleagues at Macquarie University Special Education Centre. The MultiLit Research Unit was then established to provide a focus for systematic scientific inquiry into how best to meet the instructional needs of students who are struggling to acquire basic reading and related skills, for whatever reason.

One of the products of this enterprise has been the development of the MultiLit Reading Tutor Program. More recently, the focus has turned to the development of small group versions of the program for both younger and older low-progress readers.

MultiLit is more than just the name of a literacy program for low-progress readers. It is an educational approach that has, as its core belief, the conviction that effective instruction is the key to growth in any area of the curriculum. In this sense, MultiLit is more accurately conceptualised as an approach, or a determination, to bring about rapid learning for low-progress students by whatever means scientific research has shown to be most effective. Consequently, it is a continually evolving approach to literacy instruction, changing as more scientific evidence becomes available from either within the MultiLit research team per se or, more generally, from the international scientific reading research community.

MultiLit is a data driven approach to education, employing programs of proven efficacy and continually collecting data on the effectiveness of the programs deployed. By engaging with parents, teachers, schools and government, our aim is to bring about major educational change so that far fewer children are left to struggle in school with inadequate reading and related skills, the skills essential for academic success in all areas.

As well as training parents and teachers to work with low-progress readers, we are also working on community projects in partnership with community organisations and government to bring about fundamental change in the educational prospects of low-progress readers, particularly those from socially disadvantaged and Indigenous backgrounds.

“We believe that what low-progress readers need is good, effective instruction and that is what we can best provide.”

Other MultiLit websites

MultiLit Literacy Centres
Our Literacy Centres implement the MultiLit reading programs for low progress readers who either do not have access to MultiLit through their schools or need additional support to build their skills and confidence. MultiLit tutors lead readers through one-on-one programs designed to complement other reading interventions. All MultiLit tutors have completed or are in the process of completing studies in education, psychology, special education, speech pathology or related disciplines. MultiLit then provides extensive training and mentoring for all tutors. Ongoing observation and feedback is conducted to ensure consistent program delivery is being achieved across all MultiLit programs.

Nomanis is a literacy periodical that promotes the ideas and evidence about effective instruction in reading and related skills for teachers, parents, fellow professionals and policy makers. Nomanis provides readable and engaging accounts of developments in the teaching of reading and writing, distilled from the sometimes rather esoteric and dry research literature. Nomanis is published and totally funded by MultiLit Pty Ltd and is provided free to anyone who is interested.

Five from Five
The Five from Five project was developed with the objective of promoting effective, evidence-based reading instruction, by providing free resources to teachers, principals and parents and advocating for evidence-based policy with politicians and policy makers.

Dr Jennifer Buckingham founded Five from Five in 2016 after completing her PhD research at Macquarie University. Her research was an experimental study of a reading intervention for struggling readers in a socioeconomically disadvantaged school. Five from Five was started at The Centre for Independent Studies with the support of Macquarie Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, Belalberi Foundation, Kate and Peter Mason (Phase 1 – 2016/17), Eureka Benevolent Fund and Paul Ramsay Foundation (Phase 2 – 2018).

Five from Five is now supported by MultiLit Pty Ltd as a community project to promote evidence-based reading instruction and improve literacy.

Our Founders

Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM


Prior to his retirement from Macquarie University at the end of 2011, Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall, AM served as Professor and Director of Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC) for over twenty years. He continues to serve as Chairman of the Board (and as a director) of MultiLit Pty Ltd, a university spin-off company established in 2006, and is the Director of the MultiLit Research Unit.

Dr Robyn Wheldall


Until her retirement from Macquarie University at the end of 2011, Robyn was a Research Fellow at Macquarie University Special Education Centre (MUSEC), where she now continues as an Honorary Fellow. Prior to being a Research Fellow, Robyn was the Research and Development Manager at MUSEC. She is a founding director of MultiLit Pty Ltd, a university spin-off company, and is also the Deputy Director of the MultiLit Research Unit. 

Iain Rothwell

BBus, MAcc, CPA

Iain played a key role in the commercial development of MultiLit as Managing Director of Access MQ, the commercial arm of Macquarie University where he guided the expansion of MultiLit literacy programs with various partners including the Exodus Foundation and Cape York Partnerships. He was instrumental in the formation of MultiLit Pty Ltd as a spin-off company of Macquarie University and was a founding director. Iain continues to provide commercial guidance to ensure MultiLit can continue to be the leader in effective literacy instruction.

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