Hymns, prayers and Bible stories : the role of religious literacy practices in children's literacy learning

Papen, Uta (2018) Hymns, prayers and Bible stories : the role of religious literacy practices in children's literacy learning. Ethnography and Education, 13 (1). pp. 119-134. ISSN 1745-7823

[thumbnail of religious literacies final December 2016]
PDF (religious literacies final December 2016)
religious_literacies_final_December_2016.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (462kB)


This paper examines the role of religious literacy practices such as hymns, prayers and Bible stories in the context of literacy teaching in primary schools in England. Drawing on data collected through a classroom ethnography of a year 1 class (five and six-year-olds) conducted in a Catholic primary school in 2013 and 2014, I suggest that religious literacy practices contribute to children’s literacy learning in various ways. They focus children’s attention on a text’s meaning, not on decoding, as other literacy lessons do. They do not privilege rational thinking but afford more emotional and bodily experiences of meaning-making. These practices also offer opportunities for collaborative engagements with literacy, supporting learning through participation. My findings suggest that educators, researchers and policy-makers should pay greater attention to the range of literacy practices children engage with and how they contribute to their literacy learning.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Ethnography and Education
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnography and Education on 11/01/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17457823.2016.1277773
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? literacy practicesclassroom ethnographycatholic religionreligious literaciesliteracy learning primary schoolcultural studiesgender studieseducation ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
09 Jan 2017 11:32
Last Modified:
26 Nov 2023 00:19