Four Roles of Literacy Learners

Peter Freebody and Allan Luke developed a four-tiered approach to early reading instruction that expands the traditional focus on decoding texts towards a critical literacy constructing meaning and analysing texts in socio-cultural contexts (Freebody & Luke, 1990; Freebody, 1992). The extended model (Luke & Freebody, 1999; Luke, 2000) was influential in the design of the AC literacy education (Ludwig, 2003). The ‘Four resources model’ is now widely adopted in Australian classrooms (Riddle, 2015) and further re-conceptualised and expanded for multi-modal (Serafini, 2012) and digital literacies (Hinrichsen & Coombs, 2014).

The Four Resources Model of Reading

The Four Resources Model of Reading by Freebody & Luke (1992) as compiled by the Barefoot Literacy Project.


  • Freebody, P., & Luke, A. (1990). Literacies programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect: Australian Journal of TESOL, 5(7), 7-16
  • Freebody, P. (1992). A socio-cultural approach: Resourcing four roles as a literacy learner. In A. Watson, & A. Badenhop (Eds.), Prevention of Reading Failure. Lindfield, NSW: Scholastic Australia. 48-60.
  • Hinrichsen, J., & Coombs, A. (2014). The five resources of critical digital literacy: a framework for curriculum integration. Research in Learning Technology, 21. 21334.
  • Ludwig, C. (2003). Making sense of literacy. Newsletter of the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, 1-4.
  • Luke, A., & Freebody, P. (1999). A map of possible practices: Further notes on the four resources model. Practically Primary, 4(2), 5-8.
  • Luke, A. (2000). Critical literacy in Australia: A matter of context and standpoint. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 43(5), 448-461.
  • Riddle, S. (2015). A teacher’s spelling doesn’t necessarily affect their teaching. The Conversation.
  • Serafini, F. (2012). Expanding the four resources model: Reading visual and multi-modal texts. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 7(2), 150-164.