Literacy Acquisition for Pre-Primary Students (LAPS)
The Literacy Acquisition for Pre-primary Students (LAPS) program aims to help Kimberley schools achieve the best possible literacy outcomes for children in their first year of compulsory schooling. It involves up-skilling Pre-primary teachers and assistants in using specific small-group teaching procedures for reading and writing. Working with students in a small group allows teachers to closely observe children’s learning and effectively cater to their needs, providing them with more individualised support. The LAPS approach is based on a successful New South Wales program called Language Learning and Literacy (L3).
In the second semester of 2014, seven schools took part in the LAPS pilot program developed by Waardi. This included primary schools in Broome plus three remote West Kimberley schools. Based on the outcome of this pilot, Waardi decided to launch a one year trial of the program in 2015.
The 2015 trial involved participation of three Broome-based schools. The number of schools was impacted by the introduction of Good to Great Schools Australia’s Direct Instruction and Explicit Direct Instruction programs in the region; schools that signed up to these programs in 2015 were unable to also commit to LAPS. The LAPS trial was supported by research under the auspices of Monash University, to ensure the integrity of the data and to measure the impact of the program on students’ learning.
In 2015, Pre-primary teachers determined goals for their students to reach in relation to text level, aspiring for 50% of students to be able to read independently at text level 5 or above by the end of the year. Student results proved the success of the initiative, with 53% of students achieving this goal.
Waardi is continuing the project in 2016 with 4 schools in Broome and 1 remote school, with Department, Independent and Catholic schools represented. Monash University continued the research of the LAPS program during 2016.
Pre-primary teachers from the schools involved attend regular training in addition to receiving support in the classroom with demonstration lessons and feedback on their teaching. Assistance is provided with planning and opportunities to ask questions and discuss how their teaching is going. Pre-primary assistants also receive training so they understand the procedures being used and can help to support these. Schools are provided with funding to purchase resources that will support children’s literacy learning.
The feedback from schools on the LAPS project has been overwhelmingly positive. Teachers have said that they found the teaching procedures very useful and enjoyed the chance to have both training and classroom support. Many teachers have said that the best thing about participating in LAPS was the progress for students. Monash University’s report on the 2015 trial of the program has been released and is available via the following link:
For a brief summary of the report, please click on the link below: