Adult reading teachers’ beliefs about how less-skilled adult readers can be taught to read.

Main Article Content

Janet McHardy
Elaine Chapman


Despite large-scale interventions, significant numbers of adults worldwide continue to have problems with basic literacy, in particular in the area of reading. To be effective, adult reading teachers need expert knowledge at practitioner level. However, practices in adult reading education vary widely, often reflecting the individual beliefs of each teacher about how an adult can learn to read. In this study, phenomenographic analysis was used to identify categories of approaches to teaching adult reading, used by a group of 60 teachers in Western Australia and New Zealand. Four approaches were identified: reassurance, task-based, theory-based and responsive. It is argued that for teachers to become effective and consistent in responding to learner needs, they must understand their own beliefs and the consequences of these. The identification of different approaches in adult reading education is an important step in this process.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Janet McHardy, Doctoral student at University of Western Australia

Doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education, University Of Western Australia.

Janet has extensive experience working as an adult literacy teacher and has a particular interest in the teaching of reading to less-skilled adult readers.

Elaine Chapman, University of Western Australia

Associate Dean of Research at the Graduate School of Education at University Of Western Australia. Elaine has extensive experience supervising post-graduate research in the area of reading difficulties