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In this study, we deploy Vygotsky's concept of perezhivanie to trace the reader identities and engagement responses to reading of an Indigenous Australian student over three years. Current research has given insufficient attention to students' evolving reader identities and the significant personal moments that contribute to their identities. As a theoretical concept, perezhivanie provides a holistic unit of analysis that foregrounds the interconnection between emotional experiences, identities and reading (dis)engagement. The data were drawn from interviews with Lisa and her teachers, classroom observations of Lisa and her peers, and survey responses collected over three years. Based on this rich data set, we identified key events in Lisa's experiences as a reader (her perezhivaniya), and how she relived and reflected on these events over time. The findings highlight the uncertain and dramatic nature of Lisa's reading experiences and her evolving reader identities. In forging her reader identities, Lisa dealt with how others perceived her as a reader and whether they thought she was capable of reading. Her case shows how a key task in the life of a child, such as becoming a reader, occurs as a dramatic series of connected perezhivaniya across different times and in different contexts.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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