The four resources model for reading and viewing

​The Four Resources Model was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke.

Effective reading draws upon a repertoire of practices and resources that allow learners, as they engage in reading and writing activities, to:

  • break the code of texts: Text decoder
  • participate in the meanings of text: Text participant
  • use texts functionally: Text user
  • critically analyse and transform texts: Text analyst

Breaking the code of texts: Text decoder

‘How do I crack this code?’

Breaking the code of language is about recognising and using the fundamental features and architecture of written texts including: alphabetic knowledge, sounds in words, spelling, conventions and patterns of sentence structure and text.

Text decoders:

  • know the relationship between the spoken and written language
  • interpret graphic symbols and their contexts of use.

Focus questions for teachers

  • What knowledge of written language do students bring to this text?
  • What explicit teaching will support students to decode and understand the language and structure of this text?

F- Level 2 readers use text decoder practices to understand concepts of print and build phonics and vocabulary knowledge. They read short texts with a progressive range of sentence structures. Students use letter-sound matches, recognise high frequency words and use sentence boundary punctuation to assist their decoding. They understand that texts can be organised differently and identify language features used to describe characters, settings and events or communicate factual information.

Level 3-4 readers use text decoder practices to read texts that contain varied sentence structures, respond to a range of punctuation conventions and confirm, re-read and cross-check based on what looks right. Readers build on their sound-letter knowledge to include blending and segmenting of more complex words with less common graphemes. They use morphemic knowledge such as prefixes and suffixes and use knowledge of the origins of words.  They understand and explain how language features, images and vocabulary choices are used for different effects and to engage readers.

Level 5-6 readers use text decoder practices when they confidently draw on their phonic, morphemic, orthographic and etymologic knowledge to decode new vocabulary and technical words in more complex texts. They explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used to influence readers and represent ideas, characters and events.

Participate in the meanings of text: Text Participant

‘What does this text mean to me?’

Participating in the meaning of text involves understanding and composing meaningful written, visual and spoken texts from within the meaning systems of particular cultures, institutions, families, communities, and nation-states.

Text participants:

  • know the meaning patterns operating in written texts
  • make literal and inferential meanings of texts.

Focus questions for teachers

  • What experiences and prior knowledge of the topic of the text do students bring to the text?
  • What is their knowledge of similar texts?

F- Level 2 readers use text participant practices to make meaning from text. They know that images support meaning, can recall literal and implied meaning, identify the main idea and some supporting detail. They draw on personal experience and/or prior knowledge to help them make connections to text. Their use of phrasing and fluency indicates their understanding when reading familiar and some unfamiliar texts.

Level 3-4 readers use text participant practices when they can connect different parts of a text to understand the literal and implied meaning. They select information, ideas and events in texts that relate to their own lives. They also monitor meaning in texts by thinking about what makes sense. Their use of phrasing and fluency indicates their understanding when reading an increasing range of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts.

Level 5-6 readers use text participant practices when they compare and analyse information in texts, explaining literal and inferential meaning. They use evidence from texts to support their responses. Their use of phrasing and fluency indicates their understanding when reading increasingly complex texts.

Use texts functionally: Text user

“What do I do with this text?”

Using texts functionally is about negotiating the social relations around texts. It is about knowing about and acting on the different cultural and social functions that various texts perform both inside and outside school and knowing that these functions shape the way texts are structured, their tone, their degree of formality and their sequence of components.

Text users:

  • know and use social and cultural functions of reading and writing practices
  • understand text types are used for particular purposes in and out of school.

Focus questions for teachers

  • What knowledge do students bring of the social purposes and uses of this kind of text?
  • What explicit teaching will support students in using this text for particular purposes?

F- Level 2 readers use text user practices when they can identify some differences between imaginative and informative texts. They also recognise similar texts by their common language features and organisation. F-2 readers could be using a recipe to make popcorn or an information text to find out about animal facts.

Level 3-4 readers use text user practices when they recognise differences in text structure depend on the purpose and context of use. They also understand how language features, images and vocabulary are specific to different text types. Level 3-4 readers use this knowledge to help them to understand when language is used persuasively, to state information or used imaginatively.

Level 5-6 readers use text user practices when they select a text for a particular social purpose. They could be reading an explanation to find out how volcanoes erupt or researching a famous Australian through an historical recount. Their knowledge of how texts are constructed also enables them to respond to text and justify their responses.

Critically analyse and transform texts: Text analyst

“What does this text do to me?”

Critically analysing and transforming texts involves understanding and acting on the knowledge that texts are created for specific purposes, for example, to entertain, explain or influence.  Therefore, it is important students understand that texts are not neutral, that they represent particular views and silence other points of view, and that their designs and discourses can be critiqued and redesigned, in novel and hybrid ways.

Text analysts:

  • understand that texts are crafted according to the values, views and interests of the writer or creator
  • know that texts position readers differently, and both constrain and influence them.

Focus questions for teachers

  • What knowledge do students bring of the ways this text is designed to represent particular views and interests?
  • What explicit teaching will support students in developing critical language awareness of the ways language works to create particular meanings?

F-Level 2 readers use text analyst practices to recognise that authors create texts which may reflect similar or different experiences from their own. They are able to identify the target audience for everyday texts (eg: advertisement for toys or fast food) and discuss how they know.  They can discuss character stereotypes through analysing pictures and simple texts.

Level 3-4 readers use text analyst practices when they compare the ways different authors represent similar storylines, ideas or relationships. They also can express preferences for different kinds of texts and suggest alternative viewpoints from those presented. They view images and discuss how shot size, camera angle and text layout influence a reader’s understanding.

Level 5-6 readers: use text analyst practices to recognise that ideas in texts are generated from authors with different viewpoints. These viewpoints can influence a reader to interpret and respond to text in specific ways. They also notice what viewpoint is missing and why. They discuss images and how different representations or techniques can effect a viewer’s interpretation. They can discuss similarities and differences between texts by the same author and identify what the author thinks/feels/believes about a topic.