International Symposium on Reading and Reading Engagement—Data-driven, Evidence-based Accounts
A message from the Symposium Planning Committee
We take this opportunity to thank our national and international experts who openly shared their experiences and findings as well as over 100 symposium attendees who joined us for the two days of the symposium. The success of this event was due to the rich and productive dialogue that emerged during the two days with the mutual acknowledgement that we need to move forward innovatively if we want to improve reading achievement and engagement.
Below we revisit the founding ideas for the symposium and introduce you to the experts. We are pleased to let you know that the experts have provided their presentations to ensure these messages continue to be shared.
This Symposium also launched the LSIA International Reading Engagement Network (iREN). This network is designed to facilitate international research-practice collaboration between educational researchers, policy makers and the practitioners working with students. We hope you will join iREN (see end of page) as we look forward to continuing conversations with a shared view that:
Promoting reading achievement is a globally-shared concern as students’ abilities and motivation to read are fundamental to academic advancement, and critical for success in future employment and other life opportunities.
Background to the Symposium
In the five rounds of PISA assessment to date, Australia has been ranked among the top 10 performing countries. While this can be taken as an indication of our quality reading education, Australia is also one of the high-performing countries that have shown a significant decline in reading scores over recent times. Further evidence of Australia’s challenges came in the 2011 PIRLS results, which showed that many of our Year 4 students have substantial literacy difficulties with around one-quarter of them not meeting the Intermediate benchmark, the standard generally considered to be the minimum level of proficiency. Adding to these concerns is the issue of a widening gap in performances of students from high and low achieving groups, disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds, and different cultural and gender groups.
In Australia, a current focus is to monitor students’ literacy and numeracy development through national testing of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Locally, school leaders, teachers, families and communities are working with a range of strategies to engage children and young people in reading and to improve literacy achievement scores, especially in communities where reading achievement is traditionally poor. Collaborations also exist among researchers, teachers and system administrators around various points of emphasis, including focus on new literacies, discovering how emerging technologies are shaping how and what children read, and how children interact with and create different kinds of texts. Top-performing countries in PISA and PIRLS such as Hong Kong and Singapore have continued to improve their overall reading outcomes. Other high-performing countries such as Finland and Ireland, have maintained very high overall reading performances during this time.
The International Symposium on Reading and Reading Engagement drew on the expertise of educational researchers, educators, and policymakers to engage in a productive dialogue and exchange of innovative ways for improving reading achievement and promoting reading engagement. The symposium’s international and national presenters shared their evidential stories about how countries were responding to the dual challenge of promoting high levels of literacy, and how to best support developing readers and the global issues around ensuring continual engagement with reading
Meet our national and international experts
Experts from across nine countries presented their reflections on current reading policy, practices and reforms based on data-driven and evidence-based accounts, shared evidence-based reading innovations and pedagogical models, and discussed significant issues and efforts at improving reading and promoting reading engagement.
Featuring the keynote presentation by Professor Barry McGaw
Presentations by national and international experts
- Anne Looney – St. Kevin and the Blackbird: Reading and Reading Engagement in Education Policy in the Republic of Ireland
- Barley Mak – A University-School Partnership Teacher-Teaching-Teacher Intervention Model to Promote Reading in Hong Kong: Issues and Challenges
- Brendan Bartlett – Looking at What Our Language Does As We Read
- Cathy Burnett – Reading the Future: The Contribution of Literacy Studies to Debates on Reading and Reading Engagement
- Clarence Ng – Understanding Students’ Declining Reading Motivation in Upper Primary School: A Longitudinal Case Study
- Eithne Kennedy – Transforming Literacy Outcomes in High-Poverty Schools: An Evidence-Based Approach
- Esther Ho & Kit-ling Lau – Reading Engagement and Reading Literacy Performance: Effective Policy and Practices in Hong Kong
- Hideki Maruyama – Reading Literacy in Japan: Stand-Alone Skills to Reflectivity
- Ivar Braeten – Key Issues in Research on Students’ Critical Reading and Learning in the 21st Century Information Society
- Jouni Välijärvi – The Trend of PISA Results – Implications for Education Development in Finland
- Julie Coiro – Advancing Reading Engagement and Achievement Through Digital Inquiry, Critical Reading, and Argumentation
- Sue Ellis – Using Knowledge to Author Professional Identity: Experiences in the Strathclyde Literacy Clinic
- Sue Thomson – PISA Reading: Challenges for Australian Education
- Riitta-Liisa Korkeamäki & Ukkola Korkeamaki – Engaging Students in the “Joy of Reading” Programme