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Scientifically validated literacy practices for teachers and improved student reading outcomes are at the heart of Australian Catholic University’s new Australian Centre for the Advancement of Literacy, which was officially launched yesterday.

Amid a panel discussion about the future of early literacy education, the Centre’s role as a leader in high-quality literacy research, evidence-based teaching methods, and targeted interventions was formalised. 

ACU Executive Dean of Education and Arts, Mary Ryan, said the launch of the Centre – including a reading clinic to be open to the public in the new year with literacy supports also available online – signalled an exciting time for the future of literacy education in Australia.

“We know how important literacy education is to young people’s success at school and in life, which is why we’ve developed this Centre to ensure teachers and students have access to research-driven and effective reading strategies and practices,” Professor Ryan said.

“The field of literacy research, existing and future teachers, including those we graduate at ACU as Australia’s largest provider of teachers, and students of all ages will benefit from this important aim.

“This Centre and our reading clinic, which will be staffed by expert clinicians, will help us to better prepare teachers and support students’ foundational literacy to meet their needs as 21st century learners.”

Inaugural Director Rauno Parrila said the Centre was unique in that it had the capability to conduct rigorous research and embed it directly into initial teacher education courses, post-graduate certificates, and professional learning opportunities designed to upskill existing teachers.

“Our goal is simply to increase the reading achievement in Australia – that’s it. But to do it, you need to approach it from all levels and that’s what we are already doing,” Professor Parrila said.

ACU Centre to advance reading instruction and student outcomes (ACU)