Children’s responses to literature inform unique student research

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Children’s responses to literature are at the heart of a “breakthrough” book which brings together innovative research by students at Goldsmiths.  

Illustrations for Reading and Relationships Research and Culture, Humour and Creative Reading Research

L: Part 4 - Reading and Relationships Research illustrated by Georgia Cowley R: Part 2 - Culture, Humour and Creative Reading Research illustrated by Gemma Thomson

The new work entitled Children’s Literature in Action draws on research projects which have explored how youngsters respond to books and stories.  


Writer Michael Rosen, Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, said the work is “a window into the very point children and adults are interacting around books”.   


Students from the MA in Children’s Literature programme have centred the experiences of the young readers through action research methods which aim at producing responses from the children – whether that’s in talk, writing, drawing, drama or whatever else feels appropriate.   


These outputs have then informed studies to help give a greater understanding of the impact literature can have on children – with so much written and said by critics, authors and parents this work truly listens to the children themselves.   


Professor Rosen was instrumental in setting up the research module and as lead tutor has supported the students to carry out their research.    


Michael said: “I think this is a breakthrough book. It shows teachers and other practitioners and interested parties who work with children and young people, researching their practice.  


“It shows them using a range of methods and theories to find out how children respond to literature and to interventions from these interested adults. The book, then, is a window into the very point at which children and adults are interacting around books. It’s an in-close look, if you like, from many different angles.” 


The book features 19 research projects, undertaken from 2014 to 2021, across four categories of Picturebook Research, Culture, Humour and Creative Reading Research, Poetry Research, and Reading and Relationships Research. The book was edited by Goldsmiths MA alumni Richard Charlesworth, Deborah Friedland and Helen Jones.   


The e-book is available for free on the Goldsmiths website and the paperback is available to buy.   


A blog on the launch of the book also features a video of the event.  

If you are interested in finding out more about the book come to the Library Research Café event at Goldsmiths at 12pm on 30 November 2022 or contact Professor Vicky Macleroy, Head of MA Children's Literature at Goldsmiths.