Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy


Research and practice in the vast field of school-family-community relations have evolved dramatically over the last thirty years. Schools throughout the world face enormous challenges due to demographic changes and societal problems, making partnerships among schools, families and community groups a necessity. Specific issues such as poverty, school dropout, violence and suicide, the wider diversity of students and parents, the higher accountability demanded of school systems, the implementation of school reforms and a multitude of government strategies and policies all contribute to a rapidly changing educational world. But as this book shows, even though research is often being undertaken independently in different countries, strong similarities are apparent across countries and cultures. School-family-community collaboration is no longer a single country issue.

The book brings together contributions from culturally and linguistically diverse countries facing these common situations and challenges. It details practices that have proved effective alongside relevant case examples, and covers a wide variety of topics, including:

  • challenges arising from the application of parent-school legislation at national level
  • the work of schools with migrant groups, low-income parents and parents with behaviour problems.
  • evaluation of various family-school-community partnerships programs
  • the way ahead for Family-School-Community Relations

With contributions from distinguished researchers from throughout the world (including the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, China and Australia). It is a perfect companion to International Perspectives on Student Outcomes and Homework, also edited by Rollande Deslandes, and published simultaneously by Routledge.


Kathy Hall

This introductory chapter explains the background to the book and the rationale for its focus and themes. It then goes on to map the terrain of reading pedagogy, drawing attention to significant lines of enquiry, some of which are picked up and developed more specifically in subsequent chapters in the volume. The chapter highlights the pedagogic steers arising from what could be classed as three recognized, though not discrete, traditions in reading education: psycholinguistic, cognitive, and cultural. The status accorded by policy and practice to these various aspects of reading pedagogy is also noted. Finally, the chapter outlines the main sections of the book.

Background and rationale

Few other areas of children’s learning have had more research attention than reading development and pedagogy, and the disciplinary lines of research that have evolved on the subject are now many and diverse. Though not confined to these, reading research spans sociocultural, semiotic, educational, linguistic, historical, political, psychological, and neuro-scientific/biological traditions. It is difficult then for researchers and users to have an overview, much less an in-depth knowledge, of the theoretical and pedagogical implications of such a diverse field. And few opportunities are available for sustained cross-disciplinary engagement among reading researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, the tendency being for researchers from the same disciplinary background to communicate and work together in relative isolation from those coming from other disciplinary lines of enquiry. For example, the scholarly volumes The Science of Reading (Snowling and Hulme 2005) and The Voice of Evidence in Reading Research (McCardle and Chhabra 2004) as well as key research journals (e.g. Scientific Studies in Reading) draw almost exclusively on psychological and biological perspectives on reading and do not incorporate sociocultural or sociological ones. Equally scholarly volumes and journals, for example, the Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy (Hall et al. 2003) and the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, tend not to incorporate . . .

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