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Reading the Future: The Contribution of Literacy Studies to Debates on Reading and Reading Engagement for Primary-Aged Children

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Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century

Abstract

Reading in everyday life is commonly understood to be changing rapidly. It is increasingly multiple, multimodal and associated with constellations of participatory literacy practices that include the digital. This chapter argues that the field of literacy studies, and the study of new literacies in particular, has much to offer to contemporary debates related to reading and reading engagement. New literacies research not only implies a broad conceptualisation of reading but a broader conceptualisation of ‘evidence-based approaches’ than is generally accepted in the arena of school improvement. Studies in the field draw primarily on qualitative methods, often ethnographies, that describe literacies that are hard to gauge in terms of fixed measurable outcomes: literacies that are mobile, fluid, multimodal and meshed with other social practices. Drawing on a review of studies focused on intersections between literacy and technology for newborns to 11-year-olds from 2010 to 2015, this chapter explores five sets of ‘entanglements’ illuminated by research in the field which problematise simple conceptualisations of literacy. It ends with a series of principles for literacy provision which acknowledge these complexities. These are framed as a Charter for Literacy Education.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The search was conducted using British Education Index. Search terms, as appearing in titles or abstracts of peer-reviewed articles, included ‘literacy’ combined with each of the following: ‘technology’, ‘technologies’‚ ‘digital’‚ ‘touchscreen’‚ ‘iPad’‚ ‘tablet’‚ ‘game’‚ ‘Web 2.0’‚ ‘social media’‚ ‘virtual’‚ ‘participation’‚ ‘ICT’‚ ‘multimodal’‚ ‘multimedia’‚ ‘web’‚ ‘internet’‚ ‘mobile’‚ ‘online’‚ ‘film’‚ ‘media’‚ ‘multiliteracies’‚ ‘affect’‚ ‘production’‚ ‘creativity’. Studies which did not reflect a social model of literacies were screened out. Analysis generated five themes characterised as entanglements and explored here using exemplar studies.

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Burnett, C. (2017). Reading the Future: The Contribution of Literacy Studies to Debates on Reading and Reading Engagement for Primary-Aged Children. In: Ng, C., Bartlett, B. (eds) Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-4331-4_6

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