Dual Audiences, Double Pedagogies: Representing Family Literacy as Parental Work in Picture Books

  • Elizabeth Bullen
  • Susan Nichols
Original Paper


Narrative for a dual audience of children and adults is a field of expanding interest among children’s literature scholars. A great deal of the extant research is implicitly or explicitly informed by longstanding anxieties about the status of children’s fiction, a context that shifts the parameters of the analysis to questions of literary sophistication. Whilst some attention is paid to the reader-subject position of the child reader, rather less is given to the positioning of the adult reader in relation to the pedagogical agendas of such texts. This article examines picture books featuring parents reading to preschool children. In the context of family literacy, it is an instance in which the pedagogical address to the adult reader is as significant as the address to the child. Drawing on distinctions between double and dual address, the article examines the ways in which representations of parents reading to children position adult and child reading-subjects to understand reading as work and leisure, respectively. We conclude with some observations about how the dual address might in fact subvert the literacy agendas in these texts.


Narrative address Picture books Dual audience Parental work Literacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Communication and Creative ArtsDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of South AustraliaMagillAustralia

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