Disrupting the 'boys don't read' discourse : Primary school boys who love reading fiction

Journal article


Scholes, Laura, Spina, Nerida and Comber, Barbara. (2021). Disrupting the 'boys don't read' discourse : Primary school boys who love reading fiction. British Educational Research Journal. 47(1), pp. 163-180. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3685
AuthorsScholes, Laura, Spina, Nerida and Comber, Barbara
Abstract

This article disrupts dominant discourses around boys and reading that often homogenise young males as reluctant, disengaged and, at times, adversarial readers. Rather than essentialising boys, we argue there is a need for a more sophisticated knowledge base about the influences, constraints and diverse experiences of boys as readers in society today. Drawing on interviews (n = 30) with Year 4 (8 to 9-year-old) boys at six schools, we consider their personal recounts of their enjoyment in reading, their preferred reading choices and narratives related to their experiences as readers at school. Analysis highlights boys' emerging reading interests, sophisticated and specific reading preferences, and changes in reading identities over time. Boys' preferences for particular fiction authors, novel series and genres dispute the common assumption in educational contexts that boys prefer to engage with non-fiction books. This finding is significant, as negative gendered stereotypes can impact on boys' reading self-concepts. It is also critical given Jerrim and Moss's recent research highlighting the importance of fiction in the development of reading skills. We consider implications for pedagogical practices that broaden reading experiences for the diversity of emerging masculine reading identities in nations such as Australia, where there is an absence of reading for pleasure in education policies.

Keywordsboys and reading; fiction; reading enjoyment; schooling
Year2021
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Journal citation47 (1), pp. 163-180
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
ISSN0141-1926
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3685
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85096697400
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range163-180
FunderAustralian Research Council
Author's accepted manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Oct 2020
Deposited25 Jun 2021
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DE170100990
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