Critical reading comprehension in an era of accountability

Comber, Barbara & Nixon, Helen (2011) Critical reading comprehension in an era of accountability. Australian Educational Researcher, 38(2), pp. 167-179.

View at publisher


This paper argues for the need for critical reading comprehension in an era of accountability that often promotes reading comprehension as readily assessable through students answering multiple choice questions of unseen texts. Based upon a 1 year study investigating literacy in Years 4–9 the ways strong-performing primary schools develop serious and in-depth reading for learning are explored. School and teacher features which allow for the development of sophisticated pedagogical repertoires and space for critical reading comprehension, without losing the complexity of curriculum offerings, are outlined. How one experienced middle primary teacher operates strategically, ethically and critically in supporting her ESL students to learn to read is illustrated. The teacher’s work is situated within the complex accountability demands faced by classroom teachers. This was accomplished by a teacher whose pedagogical repertoire has been assembled across a career teaching in low-SES high ESL communities in a school with a balanced literacy program and high level of collegial support. Risks for schools and teachers whose circumstances work against their capacities for prioritisation and strategic decision-making are identified and discussed.

Impact and interest:

14 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

586 since deposited on 08 Apr 2011
64 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 41162
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: critical literacy , reading comprehension, literacy curriculum, ESL learners, teachers' work
DOI: 10.1007/s13384-011-0022-z
ISSN: 0311-6999
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc
Deposited On: 08 Apr 2011 05:50
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2013 00:35

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page