One of the major catalysts prompting the specific formulation of the research study that is to be described in this paper was the reading of a short story, The Weapon, arrived at by the Junior Secondary students at an inner city school. This incident had now been discussed in a number of different papers by Cranny-Francis (1992) and Martin (1992). The students reading diverged markedly, and for the teacher at the time inexplicably, from what Cranny-Francis describes as the institutionally approved reading. The studentsÕ reading appeared to draw entirely on their personal experiences as adolescents. It took no account of the generic and intertextual resources drawn on to construct the text nor the wider cultural context in which it was written. It was a reading that would have been assessed as unacceptable and which the students would have had difficulty supporting in ways that explained the presence of all the participants in the story or most of the activities of those participants.