Bilingual and Literacy Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Literature circles are a socially supportive context in which students can cultivate their reader identities. This is especially promising for students with lower reader self-efficacies. This qualitative multiple case study explored the positioning practices of four Grades 5–6 students with comparatively low reader self-efficacy. In literature circles, the students responded to interactive positioning (i.e., positioning by others) and/or engaged in reflexive positioning (i.e., positioned themselves). Upon interpreting the data through positioning theory, two storylines emerged. In the first storyline, students reflexively positioned themselves in literature circles as strategic, engaged readers, thereby challenging initially lower reader self-efficacies. Yet the second storyline revealed that interactive positioning from peers and/or their teacher reinforced the peer statuses (i.e., academic plus social statuses) of three students. Findings indicate the students’ reader self-efficacies following literature circles were higher than initially reported. Thus, this study is significant in suggesting that positioning can mediate reader self-efficacy in peer-led literacy contexts such as literature circles. This further suggests students can challenge and (re)construct their identities, including their reader self-efficacies, as literature circle participants. Moreover, this study reveals a need for teachers to not only be aware of interactive positioning amongst students but also their own interactive positioning.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Literacy Research and Instruction on November 4, 2022, available at:

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Literacy Research and Instruction



Available for download on Wednesday, May 01, 2024