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Sociocultural Theory/Model of


READ 650 Group Presentations -

NAMES: Laurie Shapiro and
Meredith Seay
Principles of Sociocultural Model
of Reading
• Main principles:
• Knowledge occurs on a multitude of dimensions.
• Unschooled (prior) knowledge is more relevant to
students than formal school knowledge (scientific
• Investigation of the conditionality of knowledge.
• Reading is a collaborative learning
experience that utilizes multiple dimensions
of knowledge.
Aligning Sociocultural Models
of Reading With Historical
• The sociocultural model best correlates with
research and changes in reading practices
made during the 1980’s.
• Experts wanted to discontinue the use of
commercial basal texts.
• Commercial basal texts did not fit the needs of
individual students, which were the focus of
sociocultural idealists.
Aligning Sociocultural Models
of Reading With Historical
Eras (Continued)
• More fields became interested in linguistics. This
included cognitive psychology, sociolinguistics,
and reader’s response.
• During this time, more social and cultural writings
impacted language instruction.
• Marie Clay founded the reading recovery program
in 1985, which found that vocabulary acquisition
involves prior knowledge, and multiple and
meaningful exposures to a word.
• Sociocultural research indicates that informal
knowledge plays a dominate role in developing
formal knowledge.
Conditions that prompted
Sociocultural Models of
• Shift in cognitive psychology from
information processing to a
constructivist view.
• Shift in social and cultural anthropology
writings, like Vygotsky, changed views
of literacy and educational researchers.
• Increase in distrust of traditional
Leading Researchers of
Sociocultural Research in
• Alexander, Schallert, & Hare; de Jong &
Ferguson-Hessler; Greene & Ackerman
(1991; 1996; 1995): Multitude of Knowledge
• Alexander; Reynolds et al. (1996):
Collaborative Learning
How does a sociocultural
model inform research in
• Research Questions
• How does a student’s background impact
their learning process? Culture, society,
school? Ethnographic and qualitative
modes of inquiry?
• Methodologies
• Researchers studied student’s literacy
within naturally occurring texts used within
naturally occurring environments.
How does a sociocultural
model inform research in
reading? (continued)
• Instructional Recommendations:
• Students should be given opportunities to
interact socially and collaboratively in a
classroom setting.
• Teachers should be facilitators of learning,
scaffolding students to develop self
direction and autonomy.
Visual of Sociocultural Theory