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T-shaped literacy skills: An emerging research-practice hypothesis for literacy instruction

Aaron Wilson and Rebecca Jesson

Ongoing research-practice conversations between teachers and researchers have identified a practical tension faced by teachers of upper primary/early secondary students whose progress has slowed. Teachers report that a researcher-led push to develop more sophisticated readings of complex texts results in less reading mileage, potentially impacting negatively on students’ skills. This article proposes a T-shaped model for literacy instruction to mitigate these risks. We posit the hypothesis that reading of multiple texts with a relatively narrow focus can simultaneously deepen understandings, widen the breadth of texts engaged with, and promote higher order skills.

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