11 to 46: The reading life histories of twenty avid readers

Year: 2001

Author: Fitzsimmons, Phil, McKenzie, Barbra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Beginning initially with an exploration and a recreation of the work undertaken by Evans (1993), when he interviewed a series of American college students in respect to their literacy memories of schooling,, this project soon became transformed into a more focused set of interviews in regard to 'reading memories'. The respondents in this project ranged in age for eleven years to forty six, and each set of interviews undertaken with them revealed an immediate acute disparity between their home 'reading life' and their school experience. More importantly, what also emerged from the data was the awareness of the reading process that these 20 'avid readers' possessed and the impact that a single carer or teacher had had on these individuals. Not only had the carer or teacher been influential in creating the initial impetus to read, but for each of these individuals a reflective cycle of reading with an 'inner vision' had also been developed. This paper not only describes the respondent's personal reading knowledge but also discusses possible teacher characteristics necessary for optimal learning and implications for the teaching of reading.