“I Don’t Really Have a Reason to Read Children’s Literature”: Enquiring into Primary Student Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Literature


Research into in-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature indicates there is a powerfully symbiotic relationship between teachers’ perceptions and projections of themselves as readers and students’ engagement with reading as a pleasurable activity (Commeyras et al., 2003; Cremin et al 2014). Less is known about pre-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature or their attitudes towards reading and the Scottish context is unexplored in this regard. Inspired by and aligned with the work of Cremin et al. (2008) with in-service primary teachers in England, this project investigated the personal reading habits of more than 150 student teachers over a two-year period by capturing snapshots of their knowledge of children’s literature and perceptions of themselves as not only readers, but as readers of children’s literature, at various stages of their initial teacher education. Framed by understandings of literacy practices as socially and locally constructed (Barton & Hamilton, 1998) and of literate identities as fluid, contingent and plural (Moje et al., 2009), this paper also outlines how project findings linked to knowledge of texts for children and reader identity have informed the teaching and learning of children’s literature at university level.

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