EARLY READING PROMOTION: DIFFICULTIES AND CHANCES
Università Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Many studies show how the reading aloud practice in families, from the early childhood, adds benefits (Duursma, Augustyn & Zuckerman, 2008), most at all in low-income backgrounds (Bracken& Fischel, 2008).
Therefore, one of the main goal of reading promotion projects is to reach contexts marked by material and/or educational poverty, a goal not easy to achieve.
This contribution aims to think about this issue, starting from the outcomes of three researches carried out in Lombardy and in Milan Metropolitan City from 2017 to date, by a team from University of Milan-Bicocca.
Methodologically based on Mix Methods Design (Creswell & Clark, 2017), the researchers investigated the effects of three different projects about the early reading promotion: in 2017, the NpL activities of Lombard libraries; in 2018, the project “Lettura e Salute” (Reading and Health), born from the synergy between libraries and family counselling in Milan and neighbouring municipalities; in 2020, the initiative “Una stanza per crescere” (A room to grow), which experimented the gift of books to families with children from zero to three year old in the municipality of Milan.
By comparing the results of these studies, we wish to discuss strategies that allow to reach families who usually don’t read to children or, more generally, who live in educational poverty contexts.
With the idea to support parents in promoting reading (Batini, Tobia, Puccetti, & Marsano, 2020), we want to think about two issues: first, the role of health services (High, LaGasse, Becker, Ahlgren & Gardner, 2000) and territorial network in order to spread reading aloud practice. Then, the material and cultural difficulties that prevent this practice from becoming established in many families.
Batini, F., Tobia, S., Puccetti, E. C., & Marsano, M. (2020). La lettura ad alta voce nell’infanzia: il ruolo dei genitori. Lifelong Lifewide Learning, 16(37), 26-41.
Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2017). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage publications.
Duursma, E. V., Augustyn, M., & Zuckerman, B. (2008). Reading aloud to children: the evidence. Archives of disease in childhood, 93(7), 554-557.
Bracken, S. S., & Fischel, J. E. (2008). Family reading behavior and early literacy skills in preschool children from low-income backgrounds. Early Education and Development, 19(1), 45-67.
High, P. C., LaGasse, L., Becker, S., Ahlgren, I., & Gardner, A. (2000). Literacy promotion in primary care pediatrics: can we make a difference?. Pediatrics, 105(Supplement 3), 927-934.
LEARNING TO READ (ALOUD) THANKS TO PRISON THEATRE. A CASE STUDY AT THE ‘C. BECCARIA’ YOUTH DETENTION CENTRE IN MILAN
University of Milano - Bicocca, Italia
The paper outlines and discusses selected outcomes of pedagogical research assessing the impact of a theatre laboratory conducted by the association Puntozero inside the "C. Beccaria” Youth Detention Centre in Milan. This case study served to explore the effects of a permanent theatre laboratory on young detainees, and the educational dispositive (Massa, 1987) that generates these impacts, by means of qualitative research instruments including interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation. The data were subjected to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, Larkin, 2009), which showed that participating in the theatre project had fostered significant gains in detainees' literacy, reading development, and language competence, particularly in the case of non-Italian youths, who represent the majority of the centre’s inmates (Belotti, Maurizio, Moro, 2006). These outcomes are presented in detail, along with the processes underpinning them. In particular, pedagogical analysis is brought to bear on the educational dispositive at work in theatre practice, including the interaction among heterogeneous elements (Ferrante, 2016) that generates the observed learning effects. Indeed, the theatre laboratory was found to offer a "powerful" learning environment due to its capacity to foster participants’ desire, motivation, and will to learn, which in turn appears to depend on a combination of factors, including the fact that the Italian language is approached in relation to attaining practical goals associated with an authentic, challenging, and shared task (Marchesi, 2018), such as the staging of a performance, and that the project is implemented in the relational context of a group that includes youths from “outside” the YDC as well as detainees. For example, participant observation suggested that reading the script out loud, with youths from the outside community providing peer-to-peer support (Di Cesare, Giammetta, 2011), in a social and material setting that is affectively dense, with a view to "going on stage” in the future for a performance, is a combination that has a key impact for some youths, even those who may be struggling with or failing at the “traditional” secondary school studies or vocational training courses offered by the YDC. The paper concludes by focusing on the practice of reading and reading aloud during the theatre lab conducted at Beccaria YDC, showing that it plays a crucial role in enhancing literacy, which in turn improves the young detainees’ real opportunities for integration and social inclusion.
Belotti, V., Maurizio, R., Moro, A. C. (2006) Minori stranieri in carcere, Milano: Guerini Associati.
Di Cesare G., Giammetta R. (2011) L' adolescenza come risorsa. Una guida operativa alla peer education, Roma: Carocci.
Ferrante A. (2017) Che cos’è un dispositivo pedagogico?, Milano: FrancoAngeli.
Marchesi A. (2018) “Stati di eccezione in adolescenza” In P. Barone (a cura di), Vite di flusso. Fare esperienza di adolescenza oggi (pp. 56-73). Milano: FrancoAngeli.
Massa R. (1987) Educare o istruire. La fine della pedagogia nella cultura contemporanea, Milano: Unicopli.
Smith, J.A.; Flowers, P. and Larkin, M. (2009) Interpretative phenomenological analysis: Theory, method and research. London: Sage.
READING ALOUD AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE CLASSROOM CLIMATE AND INCLUSIVITY
1Università di Perugia; 2Università di Perugia
The present abstract aims to present the benefits of the reading aloud practice in the classroom in relationship with the classroom climate, inclusivity, and students' dropout. The classroom climate can be defined as a socio-affective context in which the relationship between the group is built, and it has the impact on the students' cognitive and social participation and wellbeing (Di Masi & Zanon, 2017). Furthermore, the classroom climate has the significant effect on the students' learning, achievement, and engagement in studying (Englund, Egeland & Collins, 2008; Vellos & Vadeboncoeur, 2015). The inclusive school is defined as a school that accepts all the diversities, it adapts to different school methodologies and organisational choices stimulating students’ cooperation and collaboration (Ianes, 2001). Several studies have uncovered numerous correlates of school dropout such as demographic variables, individual characteristics, psychological and behavioural measures, as well as family factors (Rumberger, 1987, 1995; Rumberger et al., 1990). In particular, demographic factors such as low socioeconomic status, neighbourhood-level variables, gender, ethnic minority status, and low parental education are consistently found to be related to school dropout (Oakland, 1992; Weis, Farrar, & Petrie, 1989). The advantage in terms of comprehension and vocabulary obtained through reading or reading aloud, it translates into an advantage over the educational success because it improves comprehension (Matthiessen, 2013) and reasoning (Batini & Bartolucci, 2016b). Reading aloud integrated with other educational activities can be a powerful antidote of early school leaving, especially if used continuously. This practice reduces apathy and demotivation which are related to school dropout (Scierri, Bartolucci, & Salvato, 2018). Furthermore, the intensive exposure to reading aloud improves the classroom climate and encourages students' participation (Batini, 2019). Reading aloud practice triggers emotional sharing not just with the characters of the story, but also with peers and the person who is reading aloud (Goleman, 2005, 2006). Moreover, this practice stimulates both emotional and social competence that generate prosocial behaviour (Aringolo & Albrizio, 2016; Levorato, 2000). The school dropout, although always linked to many causes, is firmly associated with school failure (Dalton, Gennie, & Ingels, 2009). The level of wellbeing perceived during the reading aloud practice was able to solicit students’ motivation and participation in the classroom (Batini & Bartolucci, 2019). In conclusion, it is crucial to reduce the students’ dropout because several studies have found that it has a significant impact on the higher rates of unemployment, lower income, dependence on public assistance, as well as poorer health. (Belfield & Levin, 2007; Colombo, 2015). Above all, reading aloud can be a relevant educational practice for reducing school dropout and improving classroom climate and inclusivity (Scierri, Bartolucci, & Salvato, 2018).
Key words: Reading aloud, Classroom climate, Inclusivity, Dropout
Renata Martinčić, Università di Perugia
Eliana Bucchi, Università di Perugia
READING ALOUD AS A TOOL FOR INCLUSION
Università degli Studi di Perugia, Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze umane, sociali e della formazione, Italia
In Italy, family’s socioeconomic status is still a predictor of the academic skills acquired by students: those from culturally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to achieve educational success (Batini & Bartolucci, 2016), with inequality of resources and opportunities emerging from early childhood (Logan et al., 2019).
These effects are especially found in migrant pupils, who often, compared to non-migrant peers, fail to achieve the expected minimum skill level. Moreover, they are more likely to experience early school leaving. These data are not surprising giving that migrant families are exposed to a higher incidence of precarious unprotected work and material poverty (MIUR, 2019; PISA, 2018).
Thus, the educational system represents the main context in which to stem the exacerbation of inequality. Several studies show how the introduction of reading practices can restore equity in educational opportunities (Batini et al., 2017).
The purpose of our analysis, which is part of a broader educational research, is to evaluate the impact of reading aloud in fostering the inclusion of foreign children in preschool (0-6) services, promoting democratic education from early childhood.
METHOD AND TOOLS:
Our research arises from the qualitative data collected during the project "Leggere:Forte!", in the school year 2019-2020, through two main instruments: logbooks and semi-structured interviews.
Logbooks were designed to monitor the progress of an intensive reading aloud training in the 0-6-year educational services of the Tuscany Region, while the semistructured interviews investigated the reading aloud modalities carried out by educators and teachers.
We analyzed 13,162 logbooks (8593 for the 0-3 range and 4569 for the 3-6 range) received from 871 nurseries and 395 kindergartens and 57 interviews administered to 36 nursery educators and 21 preschool teachers.
Our analysis looked for any evidence that reading aloud may have fostered migrant children’s inclusion and promoted their development. Qualitative analyses were conducted to assess the frequency and the trend over time of this kind of evidence.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Analyses conducted on logbooks and interviews brought qualitative evidence supporting the potential of reading aloud as a tool for cognitive empowerment and inclusion. The reading activity, indeed, has made it possible to level out individual differences, impacting on the school group climate, promoting the integration of foreign or non-native-speaking children, with consequent enhancement of their linguistic and relational skills.
Batini, F., & Bartolucci, M. (2016). Dispersione scolastica. Ascoltare i protagonisti per comprenderla e prevenirla. Milano: Franco Angeli.
Batini, F., Bartolucci, M., & De Carlo, E. (2017). Fight Dispersion Through Education: The Results of the First Cycle of the NoOut Project. Mind, Brain and Education, 11(4), 201-212.
Logan, J. A. R., Justice, L. M., Yumus, M., & Chaparro-Moreno, L. J. (2019). When children are not read to at home: The million word gap. Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, 4(5).
MIUR – Ufficio Statistica e Studi (2019). La dispersione scolastica nell’anno scolastico 2016/2017 e nel passaggio all’anno scolastico 2017/2018, luglio 2019. Roma.
OCSE PISA (2018). OCSE, Database PISA 2018.
READING IN BIOGRAPHIES: REINVENTING LIFE THROUGH LITERATURE
Università della Calabria, Italy
The aim of this paper is to investigate from a sociological and cultural point of view the role of reading practices in a range of biographical processes involving childhood and adolescence. I will analyze selected parts from a body of narrative interviews I realized in my Postdoctoral research “Leggere, scrivere, orientarsi: percorsi letterari nel territorio calabrese” (Dec. 2019 – in progress), in which readers of different ages talk about their relations with literature and reading practices as means of orientation, empowerment and emancipation through life. On the one hand, the main focus of the analysis will be on their individual capability to find or invent a way to become a reader during childhood and adolescence. On the other hand, I will develop the analysis of this narrative material in order to evaluate the influence of educational effects, cultural exchanges and social relations in the making of a reader’s life-course. In short, my main focus will be on how reading came into readers’ lives as a biographical conquest involving the sense of selfness/otherness and the sense of reality/possibility, i.e. as a lifelong resource in the construction of individual biographies.
READING NARRATIVE FICTION SHAPES SOCIAL COGNITION
University of Trento, Italy
The importance of reading for the socio-cognitive development of human beings has long been discussed and it has been supported by theory and research in the humanities, social science and increasingly cognitive science. This scholarly literature has mostly concerned itself with childhood and adolescence, and at times with at-risk populations, such as inmates and people suffering from mental health issues. In recent years, however, there has been a renewed interest in the effects of reading in adulthood, with a specific emphasis on reading of narrative fiction in normo-typical adults. In this presentation I will summarize the main findings emerging from this literature, focusing in particular on the research program I have been pursuing over the last 10 years on the impact that different forms of fiction (literary and genre, or popular) have on social cognition processes and, in turn, to the development of civic identity, ideology, and life in a democratic society.
TEACHING READING COMPREHENSION IN PRESCHOOL AND PRIMARY SCHOOL: STRATEGIES, TOOLS AND RESEARCH RESULTS
Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italia
Reading comprehension is an important skill that enables citizens to participate actively in a democratic society. The Council of Europe invites schools to develop linguistic competence which also involves the reading comprehensionability. However, the Italian school system shows difficulties in this task. National and international researches (Invalsi, Ocse-Pisa) highlight the presence of a large number of Italian students who obtain insufficient scores in readingcomprehension tests.
The research we conducted inquires into how teachers can support the development of the ability to comprehend texts.
Existing literature describes a variety of approaches and strategies. The area of studies that we present deepened is aimed at teaching students to recognize and solve the typical difficulties of the text connected to the inferential process (Cardarello, Bertolini 2020).
The "Question the Author" method (Mckewon et al., 2009) and Lumbelli's intervention (2006; 2009) can both be defined as "text-centered" comprehension teaching approaches. Lumbelli's approach is successfully applied to different age groups and is centered on the task of thinking aloud during the reading process. This type of intervention was found to be capable of making the reader active, especially the disadvantaged ones from a socio-cultural perspective (Lumbelli, 2006). Lumbelli's intervention provides for an individual relationship with the student, and a "one-to-one" communication, to allow the teacher to effectively adapt to the individual's thought processes; however, this last aspect is considered difficult to manage in eduction.
Our reading comprehension approach is inspired by these two models, which adapts to the school context and provides for working methods that are not "one to one".
The UNIMORE proposal for preschool and primary school is characterized by the use of visual and written texts, both narrative and informative.
An important teaching choice was to ask readers for comprehension questions while reading the text with the "inserted questions" (McKeown et al., 2009, p. 219).
The purpose of "following the reader's thinking as much as possible" (Lumbelli, 2009) is implemented through further precise actions: the identification of more complex passages of the text from the point of view of textual integration, the elaboration of questions centered on such obstacles, and the insertion of these questions to the readers during the reading of the passage, and not at the end (Lumbelli, 2009). In addition to these questions, metacognitive questions and prompts are also inserted to promote the control of understanding (Berthold, Nuckles & Renkl, 2007).
From the point of view of the students, the single activity (in a training of about 10 meetings) takes place according to a simple architecture divided into three main moments: 1) exploration / reading of a text; 2) comparison between peers to answer inferential questions; 3) collective discussion led by the teacher.
Some recent research (Cardarello Pintus, 2018, Bertolini Cadoppi 2018) clearly show the effectiveness of this approach in promoting text comprehension. In particular, they show a stronger effect of the treatment in the subgroup of the “weaker” pupils in reading comprehension compared to the more “competent” ones.