Scaffolding instruction for reading the Web

Denise E. Murray*, Pam McPherson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Research has found that text reading and Web reading, while sharing some similarities, require a different balance of strategies. Adult language learners, especially those with limited previous experience with the Web, may therefore need explicit, scaffolded instruction in order to read the Web. This article reports on teacher action research and demonstrates the scaffolded activities teachers developed to help learners read and navigate the Web. First, a linguistic analysis of web pages was conducted. Through this analysis, it was determined that, while there is much published research on web page design, many web pages that could be used in order to support the ESL curriculum do not employ a readable design. The study then followed a collaborative action research model (Burns, 1999) with five teachers across Australia. The study revealed two distinct, but interrelated, reading activities learners need to engage in to use the Web: reading web pages to find their way around a website (that is, reading to navigate) and navigating web pages in order to find and read information to achieve some other language learning goal (that is, navigating to read). The research indicates that learners can read and navigate with fewer problems and less stress for them and their teachers, if instruction includes carefully scaffolded activities that help learners become independent readers and navigators of the Web.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)131-156
    Number of pages26
    JournalLanguage Teaching Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

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