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Literacy, language and wellbeing

Smith, Vivienne and Ellis, Susan (2017) Literacy, language and wellbeing. In: Wellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 141-152. ISBN 978-1-138-66848-5

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In this chapter we explore the way that different aspects of language, literacy and literature contribute to wellbeing. Focusing on reading, we show how readers use texts for a variety of purposes, how texts shape the way readers think about themselves and the world they live in and the beneficial effects this thinking can have both on readers’ lives and on society generally. We look at how reading is taught. We consider the choices teachers make in the way reading is positioned in the minds of the children and in the way the teaching is organised. Referring to a wide range of literature on the importance of learning through talk, we consider talk practices around reading in the classroom and show how these advantage some children more than others. Finally, we highlight the importance of seeing reading as social practice and show how an emphasis on this will enhance the social, emotional and intellectual wellbeing of pupils.