Associate Professor Laura Scholes

Associate Professor, ACU & Principal Research Fellow, Australian Research Council
Educational Semiotics in English and Literacy Pedagogy

Laura Scholes

Areas of expertise: Fields of educational expertise; Evaluative reading and sourcing in the digital age; Epistemic cognition for critical reading; Development of children’s epistemic cognition; Boys, masculinity, and reading; Girls, femininity, and reading; Masculinities and schooling; Reading and social disadvantage; Reading in science classrooms;
Expertise in qualitative, quantitative and mixed research design methodologies; Survey design and analysis; Interview research design and analysis; Large scale longitudinal mixed method design; Stimulated recall interview methods; Scenario based interview methods; Ethnography – early childhood and primary school settings

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8849-2825

Phone: +61 07 3861 6177


Location: ACU Brisbane Campus

Laura Scholes is an Associate Professor researching gender and literacy at the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, ACU, Brisbane. Her research contributes to gaps in knowledge about literacy with a focus on gender and literacy, reading in the digital age, the development of critical thinking, and student learning in diverse contexts. Drawing on mixed method approaches to answer critical questions in education she draws on theories of New Literacy Studies, social justice frameworks, place-based theory, and theories of epistemic cognition. A/Professor Scholes has contributed to over 80 scholarly works, including several books. Her sole-authored 2018 monograph Boys, masculinities and reading: Gender identity and literacy as social practice, was published by Routledge. She has published in high quality journals including Teaching and Teacher Education, Cambridge Journal of Education, British Educational Research Journal,  International Journal of Educational Research, Research in Reading Research, British Journal of Sociology of Education, and Critical Studies in Education.

A/Professor Scholes is currently leading an Education Horizon grant funded by the Department of Education to produce evidence-based innovations to inform Future Education for Queensland schooling.  She is also finalizing research publications as Principal Fellow of the Australian Research Council researching how to challenge masculinities associated with boys’ failure in reading. A/Professor Scholes was awarded a prestigious 3-year Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) in 2017 (DE 170100990). As part of this program of research she implemented mixed methods to identify the multiplicity of influences on boys' masculine reading identities and pedagogies to improve disadvantaged boys' reading outcomes. Findings from this study are currently being disseminated in peer reviewed education journals, news and social media, and international education conferences.  In addition, A/Professor Scholes recently lead funded research projects examining student sourcing of information online, boys’ and girls’ experiences of reading in middle school science classrooms, , the influence of teaching pedagogies on literate identities, and children’s development of critical thinking. She serves as a research grant assessor for the Australian Research Council (ARC), co-president of an American Education Research Association (AERA) SIG, and on the Editorial Review Board of the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. She also maintains a strong public voice translating educational research for impact through national radio, news and social media, in Australia and internationally.

Curriculum Vitae

Select publications


  • Mills, K., Unsworth, L. & Scholes, L. (in press 2022). Literacy for Digital Futures: Mind, Body, Text. New York, NY:  Routledge. 
  • Scholes, L. (2018). Boys, masculinities and reading: Gender identity and literacy as social practice. Critical studies in gender and sexuality in education series. New York, NY: Routledge.

Journal articles

  • Scholes, L. (2021). Year 3 boys’ and girls’ enjoyment for reading across economic demographics in Australia. Implications for boys and students from lower SES communities.  International Journal of Inclusive Education. 
  • Scholes, L., Mills, K., & Wallace, E.  (2021). Boys’ gaming identities and opportunities for learning. Learning, Media and Technology. https:doi:10.1080/17439884.2021.1936017
  • Scholes, L., Stahl, G., Comber, B. & McDonald, S. (2021). We don’t read in science. Student perceptions of reading for learning in science classrooms. Cambridge Journal of Education.
  • Scholes, L., Spina, N. & Comber, B. (2020). Disrupting the “boys’ don’t read” discourse: Primary school boys’ stories of a love of reading fiction. British Educational Research Journal.
  • Scholes, L. (2020). Recognition of boys as readers through a social justice lens. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 41 (7), 975-991.
  • Scholes, L, (2019). Differences in attitudes towards reading and other school-related activities among boys and girls.  Journal of Research in Reading.  42 (3-4), 485–503.
  • Scholes, L. (2019).  Popular Girls Aren’t into Reading: Reading as a Site for Working-Class Girls’ Gender and Class Identity Work. Critical Studies in Education. 62 (2), 179-194.
  • Scholes, L. (2019). Working-class boys’ relationships with reading: Contextual systems that support working-class boys’ engagement with, and enjoyment of, reading, Gender and Education, 31 (3), 344-36.


  • 2021 Education Horizon Grant, Department of Education, Queensland. CI Scholes, L., Mills, K., Gutierrez, Friend, L. Future Education: Evidence-based innovations for Queensland schooling and workforces, $129,000.
  • 2017-2021 Australian Research Council. Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) DE170100990: CI Scholes, L. Investigating how to challenge masculinities associated with boys' failure in reading, $377,900.
  • 2018-2021 Brisbane Catholic Education: CI Scholes, L., Lunn, J., Walker, S. Johansson, E. PI: Lawson, V. Helping children to reason about moral values for social inclusion: A longitudinal study, $10,000.
  • 2018-2019 URIPA Funding, University of Adelaide: CI Stahl, G., Scholes, L., Comber, B & Lunn, J. The nexus of literacy and science epistemic beliefs: Understanding students' gendered science participation, $10,000.
  • 2018 QUT Seed Funding: CI Walker, S., Lunn, J. & Scholes, L. Executive function and epistemic cognition in early childhood, $10,000.
  • 2013-2015 Australian Research Council. Discovery Scheme DP130102136: Lunn, J., Walker, Johansson, E & Berthelsen, D with Scholes, L. Changing relationships between children's moral reasoning for inclusion and epistemic beliefs in early years primary classrooms, $380,000.
  • 2014 QUT Faculty Project: CI Lunn, J., Davis, J., Farrell, A. & Scholes, L. Understanding teaching, learning and leadership in elementary teacher education in Papua New Guinea.
  • 2013 Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. CI Johnson, D, Jones, C., & Scholes, L. Gaming in the lives of boys, $53,850.
  • 2012-2013 Telstra Foundation: CI Jones, C., Scholes, L. et al. Orbit: The feeling safe sexual abuse prevention project, $538,000.

Accolades and awards

  • 2018 QUT Publication First Award. Faculty of Education. Scholes, L. Sole authored monograph.
  • 2017 Discovery Early Career Research Award (2017-2019) ($377,000). Australian Research Council.
  • 2014 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the category of “Mixed team” (academic and professional staff) for “Partnerships and Engagement” for the JIFEE (Jiangsu International Foundation for Education Excellence) program at Hongwen College, Suzhou, China. 
  • 2011 The University of Queensland Dean’s Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence, Thesis. Fewer than ten per cent of PhD graduates are recognized. 
  • 2011 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Postgraduate Student Research Award ($1,000). Award for paper based on originality, contemporary significance and /or scholarly relevance, conceptual, methodological and theoretical innovation.
  • 2011 The University of Queensland Carolyn D Baker Research Scholarship ($2,500).
  • 2010 The University of Queensland, School of Education, Postgraduate Publication Award, PhD publishing – recognition of quality publications.

Appointments and affiliations

  • Associate Professor & Principal Research Fellow ILSTE, ACU and the Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow 2019-present
  • Senior Research Fellow Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) & Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow 2017-2018
  • Research Fellow Faculty of Education, QUT 2013-2016
  • Senior Research Assistant Faculty of Education, QUT 2010-2012

Editorial roles

  • Editorial Board for Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

International journal review panel

  • Journal of Reading Research
  • Australian Journal of Language and Literacy
  • International Journal of Inclusive Education
  • Pedagogies: An International Journal
  • Masculinities and Social Change
  • Critical Studies in Education
  • Teaching and Teacher Education

Grant agency review panels

  • Australian Research Council

Public Engagement

  • Twitter@ScholesLaura1


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