The Supporting Schools and Teachers to Improve Students’ Reading Achievement in Rural Communities project was conducted over four years from 2011 and 2014 in schools in rural and mining communities in the Bowen Basin in Queensland, with funding provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage LP100200215), and the funds and in-kind contributions from the partners, the Central Queensland Region of Department of Education and Training (DET), and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA). The partnership between The University of Queensland Research Team, the Central Queensland Region of the Department of Education and Training, and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) was unique in providing professional learning to teachers in the Bowen Basin and contributing to the creation of research findings around students’ reading comprehension achievement and teachers’ professional knowledge and practices.
The Project has demonstrated change related to: students reading comprehension achievement, teachers’ professional knowledge and pedagogical practices around reading comprehension, the development of school-community links around reading and the promotion of outreach practices, and the building of school capacity and the promotion of sustainability of whole-school instruction and intervention in reading. The impact of the Project has been seen in various ways, including in the use by classroom teachers of a handbook produced during the Project (van Kraayenoord, C.E., Galvin, J.L., Miller, Z.L., & Moni, R.W. (2013). Pedagogical practices for the teaching of reading comprehension strategies: A resource book. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: The University of Queensland, School of Education), and in the development of professional learning for teachers comprising six Platforms where ideas related to enhancing teachers’ knowledge and practices around reading comprehension are presented in workshops and through in-school professional learning and teachers’ classroom-based design experiments.