This is the first book to focus exclusively on an examination of early 21st-century adult reading aloud. The dominant contemporary image of reading in much of the world is that of a silent, solitary activity. This book challenges this dominant discourse, acknowledging the diversity of reading practices that adults perform or experience in different communities, languages, contexts and phases of our lives, outlining potential educational implications and next steps for literacy teaching and research.

By documenting and analysing the diversity of oral reading practices that adults take part in (on- and offline), this book explores contemporary reading aloud as hugely varied, often invisible and yet quietly ubiquitous. Duncan discusses questions such as: What, where, how and why do adults read aloud, or listen to others reading? How do couples, families and groups use oral reading as a way of being together? When and why do adults read aloud at work? And why do some people read aloud in languages they may not speak or understand?

This book is key reading for advanced students, researchers and scholars of literacy practices and literacy education within education, applied linguistics and related areas.

List of illustrations



Chapter 1 Introduction

Part 1

Chapter 2 The Reading Aloud in Britain Today (RABiT) project

Chapter 3 The questionnaire: Surveying contemporary reading aloud

Chapter 4 Mass Observation

Chapter 5 The interviews and recordings

Part 2

Chapter 6 Family, friends and lovers: Community, domesticity, intimacy and mediation

Chapter 7 Working life

Chapter 8 Religion

Chapter 9 Literary life: Production, performance, experience and the Wordhord

Chapter 10 Solitude: Aloud alone

Chapter 11 Oral reading and education

Chapter 12 Conclusion