Reading and Viewing Choices of Adolescents in Regional Northern Australia: Issues of Identity
This paper reports on a pilot study, which investigated the 'out of school' reading practices of 120 regional Year 9 youth in Northern Australia. The study was qualitative in design. It involved the administration of questionnaires and follow up focus group interviews. Data collected from the questionnaires and interviews were coded using NVivo, a qualitative software package. Key issues were identified in the data through constant and comparative analysis of the data (Lincoln and Guba, 2000).
The choice, nature of texts, time spent, location and reading purposes were investigated. The data revealed a lack of knowledge and understanding about the reading practices of our regional youth within schools. This lack of knowledge was also reflected in the curriculum. Reading practices identified in the study were clearly related to issues of identity. The youth in this study engaged in quite extensive reading practices although they were largely dissimilar to school reading practices.
This paper discusses the data in relation to the ways they might inform school literacy policy and pedagogy by addressing the gap between 'school' literacy practices and students' 'out of school' literacy practices. It also highlights how the reading practices contribute to issues of identity related to regional adolescent youth in Northern Australia.
Keywords: Community and School Reading Practices, Adolescent Youth, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Policy
Dr. Jennifer Rennie
Lecturer B, School of Education
Prof. Annette Patterson
Head of School, School of Education, James Cook University