Adult Literacy Teachers' Perspective on Reading Difficulties and the Origins of These Perspectives

Janet McHardy, Elaine Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of the teaching practices used in adult reading programs suggest that these practices often reflect
the personal perspectives of teachers on factors that contribute to less-skilled reading development.
In this study, 19 adult reading teachers were interviewed to explore their perspectives on how adults
become less-skilled readers and the origins of these perspectives. Four themes were identified in terms of
teachers’ perspectives, which attributed less-skilled reading respectively to: (a) learners’ distinct needs not
being met, (b) readers’ “life baggage”, (c) under-developed sense of joy in reading, and (d) inappropriate
learning environments. Four main types of experiences appeared to have contributed to the development
of these perspectives: (a) teachers’ own experiences in learning reading, (b) teachers’ general teaching
experience, (c) teachers’ experiences of teaching reading specifically, and (d) teachers’ knowledge of
formal reading theories and/or empirical research findings. Potential implications for enhancing the
outcomes of adult reading instruction programs are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-18
Number of pages13
JournalAdult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language and Numeracy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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