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Is there another solution to Australia’s writing problem?

The downward trend in Australian writing is widely reported.  Solutions, however, are not so forthcoming.  Writer's Toolbox founder Dr Ian Hunter is leading the call to take action—to roll up our sleeves and create practical classroom solutions that inspire students and offer them a profoundly different future.

Writer’s Toolbox: the programme doubling state NAPLAN results

“When we put together the Writer’s Toolbox programme,” says Dr Hunter, “we surveyed a century of educational research to find the best writing instruction methods.  Then designed a writing system relevant to modern classrooms.  We weren’t interested in fanciful ideas—we wanted proven methods.”

Powered by patented Educational AI, Writer’s Toolbox is a complete system to advance student writing abilities—without doing the work for them.  It gives real-time, individualised feedback at scale: in every topic, for every student, at their most teachable moment.

But does it work?

In a recent four-year study of 71 Australian schools and 79,000 students, Writer’s Toolbox lifted NAPLAN writing results between double and ten times those achieved by the state of Queensland across every year level.  Whether state, private, independent, single-sex or co-ed, inner-city or outback, school writing outcomes improved.  And for boys in Year 9, this was especially true.  Writing improvement for boys using Writer’s Toolbox was 9.6 times greater compared to Queensland state average.

Concerning trends in writing

While Writer’s Toolbox is making headway in the writing problem, many teachers and students are still struggling.  A 2022 Australian Education Research Organisation report (AERO) showed a declining trend in literacy among Australian students.  Student achievement in persuasive writing skills—even among high-achieving students—declined.  The gap between low and high achievers had widened, leaving struggling students likely to fall further behind.  Moreover, teachers state they're not supported to teach good writing.  Indeed, large-scale studies of teachers in NSW report that two-thirds felt ill-equipped to teach, assess, or give effective feedback on writing.  With a dearth of whole-school writing programmes, no wonder teachers rely on outdated methods such as teaching structured grammar or PEEL.

It’s time for practical solutions

Dr Hunter is convinced schools deserve more.  That’s why the team at Writer’s Toolbox has brought together top minds in literacy and education from around the globe for the Australasian Literacy Summit.  In thought-provoking keynote addresses and hands-on workshops, you’ll learn the best evidence-backed approaches from around the globe.  Across two action-packed days, build a tangible solution for your school.

Real change for student achievement—and futures—is within our grasp.

Dr Ian Hunter invites you to the Australasian Literacy Summit, 18 & 19 September in New Zealand, and explains why the outcomes of the summit are important to the future of Australia’s education.

Join us at the Australasian Literacy Summit

Together, we can solve our literacy problem.  Register now for the Australasian Literacy Summit—18 & 19 September in New Zealand—to build a brighter future for Australia’s students.

Australasian Literacy Summit Speaker Line Up

Hear from the brightest minds in education and literacy as they share their latest research and what really works in the classroom.

Professor Richard Andrews, Emeritus Professor of Language Education at the University of Edinburgh

Keynote address:  Research in learning to write: how far have we come? 

Professor Judy Parr, Emeritus Professor at the University of Auckland

Addressing underachievement in writing: There is no "one size fits all" solution; it's complex!

Christine Jackson, Principal Researcher at the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO)

Data, Curriculum, and Practice: What alignment conditions are necessary for enabling student writing success?

Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, Managing Director of Pūrangakura Ltd

Pūrākau: The pedagogy of Māori storywork.

Dr Rae Si’ilata, Director at Va'atele Education Consulting

Creating space for heritage languages and literacies with culturally sustaining pedagogies.

Dr Ian Hunter, Founder Writer’s Toolbox

Crossing the theoretical divide: making writing work for teachers and students.

Find out more about our speakers

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