Reading (through) bodies: students' embodied performances of poetry and testing
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This article highlights the complexity of becoming a reader in public school classrooms, by describing the ways students' reading bodies constituted the sites and discursive means for the performance of diverse reader identities. Drawing on sociocultural literacy and post-structural performance theories to suggest the notion of embodied performances of literate/reader identities, the article combines the presentation of meanings of reading in established curricula and assessment practices with the examination of the particular ways in which those inscribed students' bodies. Data for this analysis were drawn from a yearlong ethnographic study of third-grade students' performances across literacy events, and thematically analysed for the identification of patterns and divergences in their embodied performances. Events from students' reading of standardized tests and of poetry are discussed in detail as instantiations of the reading body: the former of the docile body and the latter of the subversive body that is ultimately legitimized through the workings of school literacy. This study thus holds significance for deconstructing reader identities as inherently diverse and for unveiling both the visible and mundane ways in which discursive power inscribes students' reading bodies. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.