Teenage boys’ engagement and disengagement with pleasure reading: a case study

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Illahibaccus-Sona, Shaima B
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Educational Level
ISCED Level 3 Upper secondary education
Geographical Setting
Background and purpose
Teenage boys’ growing disengagement with pleasure reading is an exacerbated educational concern in Mauritius, a multilingual island nation located on the African continent.

This study investigated the effectiveness of literature circles and their inherent strategies in enhancing twelfth graders’ perceptions of their reading abilities.

Study design or methodology
The sociocultural theory of learning (Vygotsky, 1978) and non-natives language acquisition theory (Krashen, 1989), were applied to the unstructured qualitative case study methodology that this study adopted to elicit in-depth understanding of the examined phenomenon from the viewpoints of the observed. Data was gathered from twelve observed and sound recorded literature circles, informants’ reflective diaries and their participation in a focus group discussion.

The findings revealed that the informants had enchanting reading experiences with literature circles. The informants demonstrated strong engagement in critical reasoning and intertextuality where they establish multiple connections across literature and their individual experiences with reality during the reading discussions. Reading genres such as local fiction, sport-page, geographic travel magazine and self-help were the informants preferred genres. Literature circles enhanced the latter’s reading desire, text analysis skills and language development, particularly, vocabulary, spelling accuracy, reading fluency and sentence formation. However, the twelve literature circles were insufficient for the informants to grasp grammar precision and avert word for word translation from Mauritian Creole, their native language to English.

This study implicates the need to forge new lines of enquiry in regards to how pleasure, playfulness and seriousness can be manifested during teaching and learning processes at school. Implications also include the centrality of having a more sophisticated knowledge base about the impacts, impediments and varying experiences of boys as readers at school and in society. This urges the inclusion of a literary policy which dedicates time slots for pleasure reading in schools.
Keywords (free text)
pleasure reading , reading abilities , literature circles
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