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.

chapter 1|14 pages


part 151|66 pages

chapter 3|21 pages

The questionnaire

Surveying contemporary reading aloud

chapter 4|15 pages

Mass Observation

chapter 5|15 pages

The interviews and recordings

part 812|111 pages

chapter 826|21 pages

Family, friends and lovers

Community, domesticity, intimacy and mediation

chapter 7|14 pages

Working life

chapter 8|18 pages


chapter 9|16 pages

Literary life

Production, performance, experience and the Wordhord

chapter 10|11 pages


Aloud alone

chapter 11|16 pages

Oral reading and education

chapter 12|13 pages