Opening Texts for Discussion: Developing Dialogic Reading Stances

Matan Barak, Adam Lefstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dialogic pedagogy, in which students and teachers voice thoughts, co-construct meanings, and generate multiple interpretations of texts, can promote literacy skills and reasoning. Yet, such teaching is challenging and requires, among other changes, adopting dialogic stances. In the language arts, expressive and critical reading stances have been shown to encourage and support dialogic discussions. How can teachers develop such dialogic reading stances? In this study, we investigated the processes through which teachers negotiated reading stances in a professional development program. Specifically, we studied teachers’ participation in rereading discussions designed to open texts to multiple interpretations as preparation for leading productive dialogue in language arts lessons. We used systematic observation and microethnographic methods to analyze nine rereading discussions among 17 teachers, coaches, and researchers. Five reading stances emerged in the discussions: expressive, critical, instrumental, moralistic, and historical. Focusing on three case studies, we investigated the interactional conditions under which dialogic stances did and did not emerge and the opportunities and limitations of different reading stances for opening texts to dialogue. Our analysis shows that dialogic stances gained legitimacy during discussions in which leadership and facilitation supported gradual elaborations of the text. In contrast to our initial assumptions, we found that expressive and critical stances sometimes narrow interpretive possibilities, whereas instrumental and moralistic stances can be generative of dialogue during rereading discussions. We show the potential of cultivating dialogic stances for the promotion of dialogic pedagogy in the language arts and discuss the advantages and limitations of rereading discussions as professional development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-468
Number of pages20
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • 6-Adult
  • Bakhtinian
  • Case Studies
  • Classroom Discourse
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Discussion
  • Ethnographic
  • Ethnographic
  • Instructional Conversations
  • Instructional strategies; methods and materials
  • Literature
  • New Literacy Studies
  • Professional Development
  • Socio-linguistic
  • Teacher education; professional development
  • Video/Audio Transcript Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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