Becoming well-read or reading well?: Academic Reading Circles as an innovative and inclusive practice

Milena Marinkova & Alison Leslie | Leeds University

Academic Reading Circles (ARC) are an innovative strategy for supporting students’ academic reading practices (Seburn, 2011). Based on reading circles used in more general contexts to develop students’ engagement with reading extensively, ARCs have been adapted to the academic context to help students engage with more complex texts in their discipline.  

This workshop will consider how ARCs can play a strategic role in students becoming well read or in their learning process of reading well. The presenters will use their experiences of embedding ARCs in their teaching within different disciplines (in the Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences) to explore with the audience how ARCs can guide learners to develop a critical lens through which to examine denser academic texts, and encourage them to recognise and make the most of the multidimensionality of the reading experience. 

Workshop participants will be invited to take part in a small group activity with relevant supporting materials and scaffolded guidance: 

  • An abridged version of an ARC in order to experience first-hand how this technique might enhance students’ reading practices. 
  • A short discussion in order to explore ways in which ARCs can become more inclusive.

At the end of the activity, we will share our reflections on the benefits and challenges of using ARCs based on feedback from tutors and students in our teaching contexts, as well as our responses to some of the challenges we have encountered. Participants should leave feeling equipped to implement ARCs in their own inclusive teaching practice in different disciplines.