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Exploring the diverse nature of students’ interpretations of their reading experiences, this study moves beyond broad generalizations about boys and girls to consider complexities inherent in the social processes that influence students’ engagement in reading. While the study aimed to develop understandings about the ways notions of masculinity are constructed among different groups of boys and the influence of these differences on educational experiences such as reading, the masculine descriptions of some girls’ behaviour, or ‘masculine girls’, was an unexpected finding. Also considered is the unexpected finding that for some boys and girls there were tensions associated with anti-reading peer group cultures. In this paper one particular group of students identified as the Clandestine Readers are discussed. This group of boys and girls personally enjoyed reading although they felt compelled to conceal their endeavours; hence the clandestine factor in the title. The social processes that influenced boys’ and girls’ engagement with reading are highlighted.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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