Reading as Constructed and Enacted: What Counts for Australian Students
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At the time of this study, reading improvement was espoused in media, political and educational arenas as a national priority and empirical sources such as National reading achievement data and State and territory distributions of Australian achievement on PISA underscored the reasons for this priority. The study reported in this thesis contributes to action on this priority. It is a case study of what constitutes reading and what students in one middle years’ classroom in an Australian school take up as reading. A review of the literature found more contestation than concordance in conceptualisations of reading. Although attempts (e.g., Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Durrant & Green, 2000; Freebody & Luke, 1990, 2003; Kalantzis & Cope, 1997; Kress, 2000; Lankshear & Knobel, 2004; Luke & Freebody, 1999a, 1999b; The New London Group, 1996, 2000; Unsworth, 2002) have been made to clarify the confusions that arise from the contestations in the field, few have resulted in general take-up within the teaching profession of a procedural conceptualisation. Luke and Freebody’s ‘four roles/practices’ has been an exception. Nevertheless, it too, has had several changes in name as educators have tried to communicate broadly about what it is readers do when they read. Another finding of the literature is a tendency to legitimatise and privilege school and schoollike literacy to the detriment of other forms of literacies. Privileging school and school-like literacy formalises and sanctions the use of particular texts and ways of doing literacy, while marginalising and silencing other forms of literacy, their texts, and the ways of doing these literacies. This finding is problematic in that (a) it does not align with contemporary theories of literacy which show that there are multiple and multi-modal literacies; (b) it privileges school literacy to the detriment of other literacies, and (c) it restricts the potential for children to be flexible and competent users of a diverse range of literacies as required to participate effectively in contemporary society.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status
The Appendices have not been published. They are available upon request through the Lending Service.
National reading achievement data
Children as readers