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Title: Relating to reading : a psychosocial exploration of the experiences of young people who find reading difficult
Author: Stonehouse, J. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 9891
Awarding Body: University of Essex and Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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Although research studies are plentiful regarding the cognitive aspects of children’s and young people’s reading difficulties, surprisingly few consider the emotional or relational impact of those difficulties. Those which do rarely invite young people to share their experiences of struggling to master this fundamental life skill. This exploratory, qualitative study used a psychosocial methodology to explore the reading experiences of young people who find reading difficult. A psychosocial ontology and epistemology gave equal consideration to the meaning constructed through participants’ social interactions and the unconscious psychological processes at work for participant and researcher, and facilitated an understanding of the emotional experience of each participant. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two 12-year-old boys (UK school year 8) with persistent reading difficulties, using Free Association Narrative Interview (FANI) techniques. Each boy was interviewed twice, creating his own narrative in response to initial questions or prompts. The boys were also observed twice in a typical English lesson, using principles of infant observation. A reflective research diary was used to record the researcher’s personal responses to all aspects of the research. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Reflective process notes from each observation provided an additional perspective on each boy’s experiences. Psychosocial research supervision enabled a reflexive stance to be maintained, holding in mind the ‘whole’ person, acknowledging the researcher as psychologically defended, and considering the relevance and appropriateness of themes as they emerged. Semantic and latent themes specific to each participant were identified. Although the aim was not to generalise between the boys’ experiences, similarities were found within the following areas: ‘(un)helpful helping’, ‘believed and understood?’, ‘lazy, dumb and stupid’, and ‘smarter sisters’. The findings provide a rich account of participants’ experiences as ‘struggling readers’. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed, together with implications for teaching and Educational Psychology practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; L Education (General) ; LB Theory and practice of education ; LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools ; LC Special aspects of education