Rivers of Multilingual Reading – Torrent or Trickle?

Sabine Little, University of Sheffield. This study seeks to explore how multilingual children experience reading across their various languages, and what influences this experience.

Following Cliff Hodge’s (2010) "Rivers of Reading" approach, the study will engage with a small number of families over several months to identify critical incidents in the children's journey as developing readers, including the impact of family members, formal schooling, shared reading experiences, and availability of resources. The study seeks to address the following questions:

-How do multilingual children negotiate reading in their various languages?

-What importance does their level of language play when it comes to notions of choice and preference?

-How do multiple languages relate to their developing identity as a reader – and how does reading relate to their identity as a multilingual person?

-What is the balance of texts and sources across the languages?

-Does an awareness of themselves as a multilingual reader influence future behaviour in terms of choice and frequency?