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READ-Project: Improving literacy outcomes in low performing students in Danish state schools

Dr Mette Vedsgaard Christensen, VIA University College, Denmark

Learning outcomes in Danish state schools correlate systematically with students’ sociocultural background, a very disappointing result for a public school system in a welfare society. Hence, researchers and school authorities look for (cost-)efficient ways to raise learning results in general, but especially among low-performing students. The READ-project, a large scale pedagogical experiment aiming at raising literacy results in year 2 and 3, was designed to address this challenge. The intervention – an at-home literacy support for parents – is underpinned theoretically by the sociocultural view of learning in the Vygotskyan tradition (Vygotsky 1978) and is informed by the work on maternal discourse carried out by Painter (1994; 19999 and Hasan (2002). The study is a large scale intervention study including almost 3000 students and their parents. Data includes standardized reading tests, interviews, questionnaires and pre- and post-intervention writing samples. The presentation will introduce the literacy intervention and the overall design of the study and will examine how this kind of study can contribute both to educational research and development and more specifically, how the insights from literacy and literacy pedagogy can inform large-scale intervention studies like the present study.

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