Wider reading at Key Stage 3: happy accidents, bootlegging and serial readers

Westbrook, Jo (2005) Wider reading at Key Stage 3: happy accidents, bootlegging and serial readers. In: The Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association, 14-17 September 2005, University of Glamorgan.

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This paper reports a small-scale study of wider reading
at Key Stage 3 in current English classrooms in
secondary schools in the south of England. Six English
teachers, three of whom were relatively new to
teaching, were interviewed on what they thought
about wider reading. The findings indicate that
because of a lack of time and absence of demand for
such reading in the current English curriculum, the
more experienced teachers felt ambivalent about
encouraging and assessing wider reading. The less
experienced teachers were uncertain about how to
encourage it and whether to respond positively to
students’ preferred reading patterns, such as the serial
reading of books by a particular author. In several of
the schools concerned, it appeared that school librarians had taken over the role of encouraging wider
reading, as the English teachers focused on the
technical skills required by the National Literacy
Strategy. Where teachers did initiate wider reading,
this was sometimes against departmental practice, a
semi-illicit addition to their workload and could thus
be seen almost as a form of ‘bootlegging’. In addition to
wider educational effects, the lack of support for this
practice has implications for students’ future success in
English at General Certificate of Secondary Education
and Key Stage 5 (16–18) as both require students to
read whole texts widely and confidently. The paper
argues that it might be more productive to prepare
students for this than to expect such reading to develop
spontaneously as a ‘happy accident’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Jo Westbrook
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:45
Last Modified: 29 May 2012 11:03
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18147
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