Pedagogy for reading for pleasure in low socio-economic primary schools: beyond ‘pedagogy of poverty’?

Hempel-Jorgensen, Amelia; Cremin, Teresa; Harris, Diane and Chamberlain, Liz (2018). Pedagogy for reading for pleasure in low socio-economic primary schools: beyond ‘pedagogy of poverty’? Literacy, 52(2) pp. 86–94.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12157

Abstract

New research findings are presented in this paper to inform current debates about the role of pedagogy in tackling persistent educational inequalities. The paper examines the potential of Reading for Pleasure (RfP) pedagogy to disrupt ‘pedagogy of poverty’ in low socio-economic schools (SES) and to enable children to reap the cognitive, wellbeing and social benefits of RfP. Children’s volition and social interaction as readers are central to RfP and have been found to be particularly constrained by pedagogy common in low SES schools. The research examined how pedagogy for RfP was instantiated in four low SES English primary schools to understand both how this potential might be realised and its effects on children’s engagement with RfP. The schools were selected because they had invested recently in RfP, yet the study found their RfP pedagogies did not in practice support children’s volition and engagement as readers because teachers’ understandings of reading were primarily about proficiency. The paper argues that to engage children in RfP, to enable them to reap the benefits and disrupt ‘pedagogy of poverty’ in low SES schools, teachers need to reconceptualise reading as social and volitional and ensure their RfP pedagogies reflect this.

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