Overarching Principles  I  Levels of Engagement  I  Reading Cycle  I  Comments


The notes from the first section come from the following book:

  • Rose, D. & Martin, J. (2012). Learning to write, reading to learn: genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney classroom. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing.

Overarching Principles 

Knowing how to support meaningful reading is an important skills regardless of the age group with whom you are working. Effective reading strategies and sequences should (a) aid comprehension, (b) assist language development and (c) encourage reflection and language use.

An effective reading moment requires preparation, focus, task engagement, reflecting and learning.

  •   the teacher prepares the environment and the students for the upcoming reading activity;
  • the teacher focuses the class on the text (on the task at hand). Not only are students sitting still, but there is confidence that the students are attending (and know what to attend to);
  • once preparation and focus have been achieved, it is time to engage vividly in the task (of reading, in this instance)
  • it is important to collaborative evaluate/articulate the task by giving students to process and reflect upon the activity;
  •   a teacher should provide an opportunity to elaborate on the activity by provoking the students to draw connection with previous experiences and knowledge as well as drawing conclusion and viewpoints about the recent tasks.

For each of the stages mentioned, think about how they apply to a reading task, which requires joint attention and engagement with form, meaning and learning.

The following diagram (Figure 1.4) also recognises three items:

  • First, it is important to establish learning routines, so that students have the opportunity to (a) practice skills on multiple occasions, (b) learn to self-regulate and prepare/focus for the expected task,  (c) develop the practice of a learning sequence (rather than seeing it as an isolated activity), and (d) have a known and safe routine through which to build knowledge with a trusted adult/peer.
  • Second, through a repeated cycle, the move toward independent learning is facilitated through the stages of (a) apprenticeship, (b) guided participation and (c) participatory appropriation.
  • Third, there also might be multiple learning cycles/stages in a single reading activities. For instance, imagine that you are reading a textbook chapter with a student. You might find that you are stopping at regularly intervals to “take stock”, “summarise”, and “contextualise and connect”.

Levels of Reading Engagement (back to top)

When speaking about “reading”, one can easily be confused if one has the desire to see reading as one essential skill. It is not. Instead reading involves multiple parallel processes (or different tools in a toolkit), as indicated in Figure 4.4 below (and refer to the Attributes of a Reader).

In an instance of reading:

  • The reader must attend to the text, and decode as he or she reads, which requires a knowledge/familiarity with sounds, words and grammar
  • At first sight a proposition - one set out on the printed page, for example - does not seem to be a picture of the reality with which it is concerned. But neither do written notes seem at first sight to be a picture of a piece of music, nor our phonetic notation (the alphabet) to be a picture of our speech. And yet these sign languages prove to be pictures, even in the ordinary sense of what they represent.”
  • The reader must process the sentences and the content to make literal meaning (e.g. processing the words of a novel in order to vividly experience - for instance - a character rafting down a river)
  • “A sentence is given me in code together with the key. Then of course in one way everything required for understanding the sentence has been given me. And yet I should answer the question “Do you understand this sentence?” : No, not yet; I must first decode it. And only when e..g. I had translated it into English would I say “Now I understand it.”
  • “Certainly I read a story and don’t give a hang about any system of language. I simply read, have impressions, see pictures in my mind’s eye, etc. I make the story pass before me like pictures, like a cartoon story.”
  • The reader must be knowledgable and purposeful in order to (a) draw inferences from the information provided and (b) assess the intentions of the text
  • There is always the danger of wanting to find an expression’s meaning by contemplating the expression itself, and the frame of mind in which one uses it, instead of always thinking of the practice. 
  • The reader is a user who takes the knowledge extracted from the text to (a) use/apply it and (b) to evaluate and reflect on the ideas that have been presented. The students should learn, which means the students must take in the information and see its relevance to prior knowledge, prior experiences, current investigations and immediate needs and interests.

Another way of looking at the above (from the perspective of comprehension) is to think of the following types of questions that we ask whilst we read:

Sourced from the International Reading Association @


Reading Cycle (pre, during and post) (back to top)

The following provides a teaching model, which provides another look at the initial figure on Page 1. For the following sequence, imagine a shared/collaborative reading setting with a child or a group of children.

  • You prepare the reading moment;
  • You establish the focus/attention of the readers;
  • As you jointly read, you identify linguistic and other meaningful items on the page;
  • When you identify, you prompt the child or children to engage in some way and you affirm/validate the response(s).
  • At intervals, you speak beyond the text and elaborate on the themes/items/issues being presented in the text (often linking to existing knowledge or recent experience).

In a fuller,  elaborated sequence, a teacher needs to consider a reading event as consisting of pre-, during and post-reading activities. 

NOTE: The  sequence applies across age levels and KLA. It involves the following three levels of reading process, and it aim to encourage motivated, knowledgable, strategic and socially collaborative readers.

  • Level 1: Pre-reading : preparing for reading by exploring / building field knowledge that will be called up during the reading activities (e.g. brainstorming, concept maps, the text types, walk through the text, predictions, question generation, etc)
  • Rationale: It is important to “Build the Field” or - rather - explore the ideas of text before reading. By building the field, you are building the experiences that will be called upon during the collaborative reading activities.
  • Level 2: Collaborative Reading : reading texts in detail together, following by joint and individual activities to summarise, paraphrase, depict, respond and/or mimic elements of the text 
  • Rationale: Shared reading is vital at all ages and levels. By collaboratively reading, discussion and responding, the “teacher” can model how one reading “that text” in a “particular way” for a “ particular purpose”.
  • Level 3: Post-Reading Activities : establishing time to summarise, respond to,  evaluate, and/or appropriate the reading, verbally and/or in writing, jointly and/or individually.
  • Rationale: It is important to provide ample opportunities for students to process a text in multiple ways so students are able to render the text in a range of ways so as to make it more meaningful.
  • Level 4 : Close Examination of Language : Extract core language from the text and engage in target activities for the students to master and use the words, spelling convention and sentence forms through a core group of target words
  • Rationale: So far the focus has been a “whole language” approach with little to no explicit focus on language features. All learners benefit from a regular review of language features including reviews of vocabulary, expression and style.