In the teaching of French at the elementary level in particular, the Appreciate literary works competency serves as a means of orchestrating and synthesizing these reading, writing and oral communication skills, which form the basis of literacy. However, the further students progress through compulsory education, the more their positive attitudes towards reading diminish, largely due to assessment practices that focus on the use of written quizzes. These practices, which stem from a normative and quantitative approach to assessment, drive many students away from the pleasure associated with reading and literature.
How can we better align the teaching and assessment of reading in order to encourage all readers in the classroom and stimulate their love of reading at school and beyond? Using the didactic device of reading circles developed under this action research, we leveraged an inherent appetite for reading to develop the ability to appreciate literary works and to foster an emancipating vision of reading among teachers and their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We observed the benefits of a more dynamic assessment of reading and the appreciation of literary works resulting from a change in perspective among teachers.
These results are based on the evaluation of dimensions of reading that involve students’ subjectivity and that are not usually addressed in the classroom, such as young readers’ ability to respond to literary works, to share their interpretation, and to develop their critical judgement. These more affective dimensions of reading are not subject to the dictates of standardization and quantification in assessment practices. The results of the action research show that, through interprofessional co-development, it is possible to put in place more authentic reading situations and literary environments that promote social and language interactions, taking into account all the dimensions of teachers’ and students’ relationships to literature.
Martin Lépine, Université de Sherbrooke
Deposit of the research report: October 2022