At the Heart of Reading

A book that is open, one of the pages has been shaped into a heart.

The aim of this study is to produce knowledge on the bodily dimensions - the sensuousness - of students' reading practices in primary education.   

This implies attending to the materiality of text and the related sensorial meanings and engagement of the literate body in order to more fully understand what reading is about. The study addresses how young – avid to struggling – readers engage physiologically (‘cordially’) and affectively (‘hearty’) in different activities related to reading during their school days. This integrative approach requires an understanding of reciprocity between different elements involved in reading, both inside and outside the ‘text’ and the ‘reader’. The research questions are:

  1. How does the body articulate pulse, posture, movement and affection in and around different reading practices?
  2. What emotions/feelings/attitudes/perceptions are articulated in relation to different reading practices?
  3. What are the relations between students’ reading proficiency and the heart of reading (as articulated in research question one and two)?
  4. What key reading experiences are made significant by the students?

Answering these questions will give important input for a complex, more complete understanding of what reading could be all about to young people. When studying the complexity of reading literacy in primary school we try to bridge common disciplinary gaps in educational research.