The Reading Tutor Program

Who is this for?

Year 2 through to 1st half of Year 8

What is the program? 

It  is a baseline assessment using the South Australian Spelling Test, the York Assessment of Reading and Comprehension, and the MULTILIT Word Attack Skills test determines placement in this program. Parents receive a written report following this assessment.

The MultiLit Reading Tutor Program (RTP) caters for students who have not acquired the basic skills needed to become functional readers. Children who have failed to learn to read in the first few years of schooling need intensive, systematic reading instruction if they are not to fall further behind or even become complete non-readers.

Research shows that the most effective programs of reading instruction for low-progress readers involve intensive, systematic and explicit instruction in three main areas:

  1. ‘Phonics’ (or word attack skills);
  2. Sight words recognition; and
  3. Supported book reading.

Word Attack Skills

When teaching students with learning difficulties to become independent readers, teaching phonic word attack skills is an essential component of any literacy intervention program. These skills help students to decode text by associating sounds with letters or groups of letters.

The three components of Word Attack Skills are accuracy, fluency, and spelling.

A placement test is used to determine the appropriate starting point in the program. A specific sequence is adhered to and is presented in a hierarchical order of difficulty, where essential pre-skills knowledge is taken into consideration.

It should be noted that the teaching intervention used in Word Attack Skills is explicit and systematic and takes a ‘synthetic’ approach in line with contemporary best practice.

Word Attack Skills Extension Program

The Word Attack Skills Extension Program is particularly suited to students who have finished the Reading Tutor Program but still need help, as well as older students who have learnt basic decoding skills but are finding it hard to improve their reading to a level where they can access the more academic demands of the curriculum, or who are finding reading laborious, lack fluency and have become de-motivated.

After completing the Word Attack Skills component in the MultiLit Reading Tutor Program many students are able to generalise the strategies they have learnt to all text. However, in some cases students do need further assistance to continue to make progress.

Sight Words

The basic premise behind teaching a bank of high-frequency sight words is to enable low-progress readers, who have previously had very little exposure to text, or indeed the success in reading, to access text quickly. Knowledge of the most frequently occurring words in text allows poor readers to access a great deal of the text they encounter without having to resort to decoding skills that they might not have yet mastered.

Sight Words includes 200 words presented in 20 groups of 10 cards at each level. Sight Words is organized into three teaching sections: Current List, Revision, and Cumulative Review. These sections incorporate learning the new words, achieving automaticity, and ensuring the words are in the student’s longer-term memory.

Sight Words is an important component of the Reading Tutor Program but it is important to note that the implementation of Sight Words should not replace instruction in phonological recoding skills, the remedy for the key deficit in reading. Rather it should function as a complementary component, along with Word Attack Skills and Reinforced Reading.