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Personal profile


Associate Professor Janet Scull is an experienced language and literacy educator and, as a key author of the Victorian Early Years Literary Program, has contributed to the design of systemic approaches to literacy teaching and learning. Janet's teaching and research focuses on areas of literacy acquisition, literacy teaching and assessment, effective teaching practices in the early years of schooling and exploring relationships between language, literacy and learning. She is also a Reading Recovery Trainer and continues support the implementation of this early literacy intervention. Janet's PhD was directed to obtaining an account of how children learn to read with comprehension and how researchers can measure, analyse and theorise reading. Janet is currently involved in a number of research projects with a specific focus on language and literacy in the early years.

Two separate projects support Indigenous students' literacy learning, one investigating the implementation of the Abecedarian Approach Australia - 3A, incorporating local cultural and educational practices with children aged 0-3, and another with a focus on enhancing literacy teaching practice in the early years of schooling. Her research into children's early writing involves the analysis of texts to identify students' performance trajectories and support effective assessment and teaching. Janet is also currently working projects with a focus on bilingualism and biliteracy and teacher selection.

Research interests

Janet's research interests coalesce in the fields of language and literacy acquisition, literacy assessment, and effective teaching practices in the early years of schooling, while exploring relationships between language and literacy learning. Recent and current projects include:

Janet's PhD was designed to obtain an account of how children learn to read with comprehension. The findings from this research suggest that reading curriculum and pedagogy design should be based on a model of development that embeds reading comprehension in literacy acquisition processes and which positions oral language development and talk as central to the instructional process.

Janet is currently investigating the teaching of phonics in early years classrooms.  This project funded by Catholic Education, Melbourne is designed to examine effective practices that support students’ understanding, development and use of phonics within the context of reading and writing in the early years of schooling. The project also examines professional learning processes and structures that facilitate teacher learning and classroom teaching improvement efforts. 

Her research into children's writing commenced with a request from Oxford University Press (OUP) to examine the words used in children's writing. In collaboration with Professor Lo Bianco a study of children's writing was undertaken to document the words children write first, to examine their word choices and to explore what these word choices indicate about children's personal identities and social experiences.

The study of Year One Writing aims to identify students' attainment levels and performance trajectories in early writing. In collaboration with colleagues from Charles Sturt University, writing samples were collected from 1700 Year One students across NSW and Victoria at two points in time in 2010. The research has team developed an analysis tool to assess students' writing that considers control over aspects such as text structure, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and handwriting.

Janet is a CI on an ARC Linkage Project (LP130100001, Building a bridge to preschool in remote NT communities, with colleagues Prof. Sparling, Prof. Tayler, Prof Hattie and Dr Page. This project will be directed towards increasing the language and literacy learning of young Indigenous children in two remote communities in the Territory.

Janet research includes an investigation into the language and literacy learning outcomes experienced by young children participating in a Karen-English bilingual education program. It is anticipated that findings from this research will influence future language policy, and inform practice in bilingual preschool and primary school settings.

Janet also contributed to the TeacherSelector Research Project, led by Dr. Bowles. This project was designed to assist in identifying the attributes and skills of candidates as they commence teaching courses.
Janet was an active member of the The Young Learners' Project, a six year (2007-2012) ARC/ASG funded research project which aimed to identify factors in a four-year-old preschooler's educational program, home-life or personal characteristics positively associated with the development of strong early literacy outcomes.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or