UKLA Research on Teachers as Readers

In the context of the continued pressure and politicisation of the teaching of reading in England, the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) sought to ascertain patterns in primary teachers’ reading, both personally and professionally.

Phase I Teachers as Readers 2006-7 

The project, undertaken in 11 Local Authorities in England, explored 1200 primary teachers’ personal reading habits and preferences, investigated their knowledge of children’s literature, and documented their reported use of texts in the classroom through a questionnaire. In addition, it sought to establish the extent of the teachers’ involvement with and use of local area /school library services. The attached paper reports on the Phase I findings with reference to the teachers’ personal reading, the frequency of this reading and the sources they use to select their reading material. It also considers the teachers’ favourite childhood texts, the books they identified as highly significant to them, and the data gathered about their knowledge of children’s literature.

Given the narrow scope of primary teachers’ knowledge and use of children’s literature identified in Phase I of Teachers as Readers (2006-7), the core goal of the Phase II project, was to improve teachers’ knowledge and experience of such literature in order to help them increase children’s motivation and enthusiasm for reading, especially those less successful in literacy. The year long project, Teachers as Readers: Building Communities of Readers, which was funded by the Esme Fairbairn Foundation and UKLA, was undertaken in five Local Authorities in England, also sought to build new relationships with parents and families and to explore the concept of a Reading Teacher: a teacher who reads and a reader who teaches (Commeyras et al., 2004). The research design was multi-layered; involving data collection at individual, school and LA levels, and employing a range of quantitative and qualitative data research methods and tools. The attached Executive Summary provides an overview of the research and the key findings as well as recommendations. It argues that teachers need support in order to develop children’s reading for pleasure, which can influence both attainment and achievement and increase young learners’ engagement as self- motivated and socially engaged readers. If you would like hard copies of this summary for a specific reading related event please contact [email protected] with your details.

Phase II Teachers as Readers : Building Communities of Readers 2007-8. 

Given the narrow scope of primary teachers’ knowledge and use of children’s literature identified in Phase I of Teachers as Readers (2006-7), the core goal of the Phase II project, was to improve teachers’ knowledge and experience of such literature in order to help them increase children’s motivation and enthusiasm for reading, especially those less successful in literacy. The year long project, Teachers as Readers: Building Communities of Readers, which was funded by the Esme Fairbairn Foundation and UKLA, was undertaken in five Local Authorities in England, also sought to build new relationships with parents and families and to explore the concept of a Reading Teacher: a teacher who reads and a reader who teaches (Commeyras et al., 2004). The research design was multi-layered; involving data collection at individual, school and LA levels, and employing a range of quantitative and qualitative data research methods and tools. The attached Executive Summary provides an overview of the research and the key findings as well as recommendations. It argues that teachers need support in order to develop children’s reading for pleasure, which can influence both attainment and achievement and increase young learners’ engagement as self- motivated and socially engaged readers. If you would like hard copies of this summary for a specific reading related event please contact [email protected] with your details.