Giving up reading: re-imagining reading with young adult readers.
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AbstractAlex is associate dean at the University of Wolverhampton with responsibility for undergraduate awards, post-compulsory teacher education and the Black Country Skills for Life professional development centre, BLEND. Alex also teaches [less than she would like] on the literacy & language CPD programmes at Wolverhampton. Background: In this article I explore the thoughts and reflections of young adults from the Black Country in the West Midlands about what it means to read and to be a reader. Beginning with discussions of newspaper reading I suggest that whilst the participants in this study were likely to feel comfortable with their 'technical skills' as readers they were not always so confident in their abilities to 'grasp', as they saw it, the 'correct' meanings of the texts they read, most Especially those they encountered in the course of their studies at college. Drawing on data collected in relation to 'reading for pleasure' begin to consider the ways in which new media textualities, in this case gaming, may offer young adults new ways of being as readers that although both pleasurable and motivating find little legitimate expression within educational spaces. I make use of Gee's notions of active and critical learning to suggest that if the reading subject identities constructed through schooled literacy are to be meaningful (valued) and useful (permit learners to exercise power as readers perhaps even in ways that are not predictable, or we I dare to say, desirable) to young adult readers then a broader range of theoretical understandings must be brought to bear on practice. These seem pertinent in the environment of Web 2.0 (O'Reilly, 2007) and Media 2 .0 (McDougall, 2007; Gauntlett 2008) which seems at once to offer both exciting new possibilities for young people to enact reading (and writing) and to further trouble the possibility of a proximal relationship between educational and cultural life world literacy identities. I go on to consider what might usefully be learnt about reading by beginning to theorise the enjoyment young adults find in out of college textual experience. The findings of this article may be of interest to those involved in the teaching of reading as they illustrate compellingly the need for pedagogical approaches to reading and literacy that not only take serious account of the social practices through which readers experience text but which rigorously theorise the making and taking of meaning and in so doing teach learners to "really read" ( Gee, 2003: 16).
CitationRaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacy) Journal, 65: 14-22.
JournalRaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacy) Journal
DescriptionA scanned copy of this article is attached to this record, with the kind permission of the copyright holders, RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacy). Back issues of RaPAL Journal are available from Avantibooks. Membership of Research and Practice in Adult Literacy (RaPAL) includes a subscription to the RaPAL journal.