Wednesday 8th June 2022

We invite you to join us for a practice-focused day where we can share innovative methods, reflect on our practices and continue to network nationally and beyond.

(Wednesday 8th June | Teams | Free)

Register here


09:00 - 09:15   Registration / Joining

09:15 - 09:30   Welcome and Becoming Well Read Update, Angela Rhead

09:30 - 10:20   Opening Session

Reflecting Back: Return of the Pledge 1
Three delegates from Becoming Well Read 21 who published reflections in last year’s special edition of the Journal of Academic Development in Education (JADE) open this year’s symposium with a presentation focusing on the theme ‘Academics reading academically’. (

Rachel Lee, Keele University
Jane Saville, University of the West of England
Charlotte Stevens, The Open University

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 10:30 - 10:40   Screen break

10:40 - 11:50   Parallel Sessions - delegates will be asked to choose from the following sessions:

Parallel A
 Parallel B

To hack or not to hack: The ethical dilemma of teaching reading hacks to students

Ryan Arthur
Birkbeck College, University of London

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Making space for reading in practice-focused programmes

Moira Maguire, Brid Delahunt, Ann Everitt Reynolds
Dundalk Institute of Technology

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Parallel C
Parallel D

Decolonising Reading Theme


Encouraging Engagement in Academic Reading by Destroying the Source

Rachel Gippetti
Plymouth College of Art

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11:50 - 12:00   Screen Break

12:00 - 12:45   Keynote and Provocation: Dave Middlebrook

Rethinking the Book

Starting with the premise that the books we use in our classrooms were not designed for readers and reading, Dave will draw on all our BWR themes to provide us with classroom strategies to explore and questions to consider. 

Dave Middlebrook invented the textmapping method and pioneered the use of scrolls and textmapping for classroom instruction. He has been collaborating in classrooms and conducting workshops for teachers since 1994, and is the founder of The Textmapping Project:

12:45 - 13:30   Reading (T)Walks & Lunch

Shared reflecting and walking: not necessarily bipedally…or very far…or even using Twitter

This extended comfort break will offer the opportunity to share reflections on the keynote provocation with fellow delegates using #WellReadHE on Twitter, the chat function in the Teams TWalk channel, with Dave @,  or all three. 

13:30 - 14:00   Final Session

Reflecting Forward: Return of the Pledge 2

Drawing delegates together at the end of the symposium, we invite you to reflect on the day’s learning and to formulate some inspirational plans, or at least hopes. The Team meeting will remain open for networking and discussion for those keen to continue.

Angela Rhead, Keele University
Rachel Lee, Keele University
Jane Saville, University of the West of England
Charlotte Stevens, The Open University

14:00   Closing Remarks: Angela Rhead

Undergraduate academic reading continues to resonate as an almost universally ‘sticky’ (Schon, 1987) threshold concept for higher level learning, with many students struggling to select, read and then use literature in their own research and writing. Saltmarsh and Saltmarsh’s (2008), ‘Has anyone read the reading?’ responds locally to flawed undergraduate reading practices, but also reflects a wider concern in HE about the academic ‘skills’ students enter university with (Hermida, 2009). A significant aspect of academic reading for students across all levels is often the challenge of discerning the levels of credibility or influence of particular sources (Moore, 2013). The requirement for independent reading, with increasing expectations of ‘criticality’, presents further challenges regarding the process of selection and the purpose of academic reading, compounded by the apparent discord between perspectives of students and staff on reading lists (Brewerton, 2014). This is particularly significant where a disciplinary view of criticality emerges from a student’s individual engagement with reading and their positioning in terms of its discourse, which locates reading as a social practice (Lea & Street, 2006).

Additionally, academic reading as a social practice can be considered a ‘conceptual threshold’ (Wisker and Robinson, 2009) that, unlike discipline-specific threshold concepts, describes epistemological cross-disciplinary knowledge that supports interdisciplinary discussion. Becoming Well Read hopes to draw together practitioners from diverse contexts and institutions to support an investigation of shared experiences and expertise, and to forge communities of practice that will continue to explore the development of academic reading beyond the event.

Locally, recent innovative strategies to encourage the development of critical academic reading include scrolling and textmapping within an extended timeframe to enable deeper learning (Marton & Säljö, 1976; Middlebrook, 1994; Singer & Alexander, 2017) in the form of Academic Reading Retreats. These retreats are small, one-day interdisciplinary workshops that bring undergraduates, postgraduates and academics together to explore the processes of reading for enquiry, in which we attempt to precede (or circumvent) narrative reading and encourage “dialogic engagement with the text “(Abbott, 2013, p.198) to uncover the easily recognisable, but difficult to explain, intuitive practices of confident academic readers (Moore, 2013). We are eager to situate our emerging findings with other educational practitioners and to contribute to a debate about this significant, and persistently troubling, aspect of learning.

Abbott, R. (2013) ‘Crossing thresholds in academic reading’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Vol. 50 (2), 191-20.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Brewerton, G. (2014) Implications of Student and Lecturer Qualitative Views on Reading Lists: A Case Study at Loughborough University, UK. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 20, 78–90.

Hallett, F. (2013). Study support and the development of academic literacy in higher education: A phenomenographic analysis. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(5), 518-530.

Hermida, J. (2009) The Importance of Teaching Academic Reading Skills in First-Year University Courses. The International Journal of Research and Review, 3, 20-30.

Hill, L. & Meo, A.I. (2015). A Bourdieusian approach to academic reading: reflections on a South African teaching experience. Teaching in Higher Education, 20(8), 1–12.

Hockings, C. (2010) Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: a synthesis of research. HEA, April 2010.

Lea, M. & Street, B. (2006). The "Academic Literacies" Model: Theory and Applications. Theory Into Practice, 45(4), 368-377.

Macmillan, M. (2014). Student connections with academic texts: a phenomenographic study of reading. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(8), 943-954.

Marton, F., & Säljö, R. (1976). ON QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES IN LEARNING: I—OUTCOME AND PROCESS *. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46(1), 4-11.

McAlpine, L. (2012). Shining a light on doctoral reading: Implications for doctoral identities and pedagogies. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49(4), 351-361.

Saltmarsh, D. & Saltmarsh, S. (2008). Has anyone read the reading? Using assessment to promote academic literacies and learning cultures. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(6), 621–632.

Singer, L., & Alexander, P. (2017). Reading on Paper and Digitally: What the Past Decades of Empirical Research Reveal. Review of Educational Research, 87(6), 1007-1041.

Wingate, U. (2006). Doing away with ‘study skills’. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(4), 457-469.