Examining why disadvantaged students in low-SES schools avoid reading: A person-in-context perspective

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Ng, Chi-Hung Clarence
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2012
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Osaka

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Disadvantaged students' low achievement in reading and other literacy assessments has posed a national challenge to Australian education. In the previous two rounds of national testing on literacy, students from linguistically, culturally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionally represented among those who failed to meet the minimum reading benchmarks. Developing effective classroom practices to promote reading for disadvantaged students certainly needs substantial research attention. However, the extant literature on reading motivation and engagement seldom has taken disadvantaged students as its major focus and therefore there is a gap in reported research evidence to inform the design of reformative classroom practice to overcome reading avoidance. The proposed paper addresses this research gap from a person-in-context perspective and explores the issue of reading engagement and disengagement based on carefully-selected case studies of Year 5 students drawn from schools situated in low-SES suburbs in Queensland. Drawing from repeated interviews and observations over an academic year, this paper provides detailed descriptions of students' reading profiles, revealing their perceptions, preferences, and intentions in relation to reading. It also highlights the dynamic influences of various contextual factors such as teacher in-time support, distraction by peers and design of classroom activities on students' reading behaviours. The results challenge “inevitability” descriptions where disadvantaged students are depicted simplistically as victims of personal deficit in reading motivation and resources.

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Program and Abstract Book of Asian Conference on Education

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English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)

Learning Sciences

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