Author: Harris, Pauline
Type of paper: Refereed paper
Crossing the boundary between adult and child perspectives of literacy at school, this paper presents findings of research that engaged children's voices about their classroom reading experiences in the early school years. The purpose of this research was to explore how children construed a common set of classroom reading situations from the standpoint of their differential experiences with these situations in their respective reading groups. For this purpose, the researcher developed a photo-sorting activity based on the use of photographs of classroom reading experiences. This protocol was framed by the view of children as active constructors of and key informants about their realities. From this viewpoint it was assumed that multiple realities would emerge, not only between adult and child perspectives, but indeed among the children themselves. Children were individually invited to engage with the researcher in conversations about these photos. As part of these conversations, children were invited to sort the experiences depicted in the photos according to criteria related to their sense of learning, engagement and wellbeing. Data were triangulated with classroom observations of children engaged in literacy experiences. The efficacy and benefits of this protocol are carefully discussed in the context of eliciting children's authentic voices and documenting these voices in legitimate ways. Key findings include how children construe classroom reading experiences and their own sense of identity and wellbeing as reader and classroom participant in these experiences. The value of engaging children's voices is highlighted in terms not of only crossing boundaries between adult and child perspectives, but also in terms of elucidating boundaries between children and their classroom reading tasks.