The politics of the teaching of reading

Soler, Janet (2016). The politics of the teaching of reading. PROSPECTS, 46(3-4) pp. 423–433.



Historically, political debates have broken out over how to teach reading in primary schools and infant classrooms. These debates and “reading wars” have often resulted from public concerns and media reportage of a fall in reading standards. They also reflect the importance placed on learning to read by parents, teachers, employers, and politicians. Public and media-driven controversies over the teaching of reading have resulted in intense public and professional debates over which specific methods and materials to use with beginning readers and with children who have reading difficulties. Recently, such debates have led to a renewed emphasis on reading proficiency and “standardized” approaches to teaching reading and engaging with literacy. The universal acceptance of the importance of learning to read has also led to vested interests in specific methods, reading programmes, and early literacy assessments amongst professional, business, commercial, and parental lobbying groups. This article traces these debates and the resulting growing support for a quantitative reductionist approach to early-reading programmes.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions