Negotiating identities: classroom picture book discussions with diverse learners

Sue Wilson, Jennifer Rennie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Contemporary classrooms comprise a diversity of learners who come from different lifeworlds, with different dispositions and literacy abilities. Many argue that working in these diverse spaces as classroom teachers requires complex pedagogical work. In primary classrooms, picture book discussions are promoted as being ‘good’ for students’ literacy development. For example, they have been shown to develop oral language (Wu, 2010), vocabulary and comprehension (Edwards-Santoro, Chard, Howard, & Baker, 2008), written competence (Pantaleo, 2010), and critical literacy (Clarke & Whitney, 2009). Social issues picture books engage with real-world issues about society, culture or the environment. Further, picture book discussions also promote student development more broadly in areas such as discipline-specific knowledge, higher-order thinking skills and collaboration. Despite this, these reading events are presented as being largely unproblematic, and there is little work which explores these kinds of discussions in terms of the lived experiences of the students and teachers involved, or the complexity of the pedagogical work undertaken. In this chapter, we report on one aspect of a larger study that investigated how students and teachers experienced such reading events. Using discourse analytic techniques, we show how the identity work of two very different students operated during a discussion around a picture book, at times promoting, and at other times inhibiting, planned learning intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformation and Empowerment Through Education
Subtitle of host publicationReconstructing our Relationship with Education
EditorsRaqib Chowdhury
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429431050
ISBN (Print)9781138364851
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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