The role of whole school literacy policies supporting reading engagement in Australian schools

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

English in Australia


Australian Association for the Teaching of English


School of Education




Merga, M., & Gardiner, V. (2018). The role of whole-school literacy policies supporting reading engagement in Australian schools. English in Australia, 53(3), 37-50. Available here


The Australian Curriculum positions literacy as a general capability to be taught across all subject areas. While schools may design agreements and policies to formalise the position of literacy as a whole-school priority, there is relatively limited research guiding the structure and content of these planning documents. We contend that reading engagement should have an important place in such planning documentation, despite the Australian Curriculum's relative silence on this aspect of literacy learning, as it is a valuable facet of literacy promotion, with research strongly supportive of the relationship between reading skills and will. We conducted a content analysis to determine if available whole-school literacy policy plans, agreements and policies were supportive of fostering reading engagement at school, and the extent to which they fostered home and school partnerships around reading engagement. Mirroring absences in the curriculum, we found that few schools promoted reading engagement strategies as a whole-school priority, and where strategies did feature, these varied widely.

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