Reading to Learn or R2L is a set of strategies that enable teachers to support all the students in their classes to read and write at the levels they need to succeed. The strategies vary according to the needs of students, their year levels, the subject area, and the kinds of texts they are expected to read and write. But the aim is for all students to be reading and writing at the levels they need to succeed in their grade and subject areas.
What is Reading to Learn
In the first year of school, the strategies support all children to become independent readers and to write successful texts. They use the illustrated story books that teachers read with their classes, to teach all the skills involved in reading and writing, such as comprehension, word recognition, spelling, letter formation, sentence construction and story writing. Because these skills are learnt in the meaningful, engaging context of shared reading books, children can acquire them much faster than through traditional early years activities such as alphabet, phonics and sight word drills. Early years strategies are described in the Reading to Learn Teacher Resource Book 6.
In the primary school, the strategies support all children to engage in reading and writing stories for pleasure, to learn from reading and writing factual texts, and to evaluate texts, issues and points of view in their reading and writing. They use texts in the subject areas that the class is studying, to teach skills in reading and writing, at the same time as learning the content of each subject area. They support all students to read and write texts at the same high level, rather then giving them texts at different ‘ability levels’. In this way they ensure that all students are ready to succeed in secondary school.
In the secondary school, the strategies support all students to learn the content of each curriculum area through reading and writing. They use the texts that students are expected to read in each subject area, to guide them to learn through reading, and to demonstrate what they learnt through writing. They enable teachers to balance the curriculum demands for ‘covering the content’, with teaching the skills that students need to independently learn the curriculum from reading and writing. They are designed to ensure that all students are well prepared for further education after school. Primary and secondary school strategies are described in the Teacher Resource Package Books 1, 2, 5 and 9.
In further education, including university and vocational education, the strategies are designed to embed skills in reading and writing in teaching and learning the curriculum content. They enable tertiary teachers to support all students in their classes to read academic texts with comprehension, and to use the information they learn from reading to write successful texts for assessment.
PETAA Paper 202
PETAA Paper 202 outlines a set of strategies that are designed to help teachers meet all these demands successfully, by teaching through reading and writing. The strategies are based on decades of practical research in classrooms and teacher professional learning programs, and are currently being used by thousands of teachers in Australia (Courier Mail, 2014; Culican, 2006; Rose, 2011a, 2013, 2015) and internationally (Aga Khan Foundation, 2015; Coffin, Acevedo & Lövstedt, 2013).
The Potential of Reading to Learn for Transforming Educational Practice
Below is a video of David Rose presenting ‘The potential of Reading to Learn for transforming educational practice’ in 2013 to a group of teachers in Denmark. The presentation was recorded by the National Knowledge Centre for Reading