Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2022 Issue »

    Reading Identities, Mobilities, and Reading Futures

    Critical Spatial Perspectives on Adolescent Access to Literacy Resources

    Chi Ee Loh, Baoqi Sun, and Chan-Hoong Leong

    In this article, Chin Ee Loh, Baoqi Sun, and Chan-Hoong Leong utilize a critical spatial perspective to examine how students from different socioeconomic statuses access reading resources at home, in school, and in the community. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) data, they evaluate the distribution of reading resources in Singapore by mapping out students’ physical distances to libraries and bookstores. They juxtapose the data against case studies of students and survey data from more than six thousand participants from six secondary schools in Singapore to understand their use of resources for reading. Findings show that while students may have equal access to reading resources in terms of access to public resources for books, home backgrounds significantly affect students’ actual access. The critical spatial approach of this study provides a new way to evaluate the efficacy and equity of resource distribution and access for twenty-first-century learning.

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    Chin Ee Loh (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2997-9326) is an associate professor and deputy head (research) in the English Language and Literature Academic Group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her primary research interest is in literacy and equity, with a current focus on reading and school libraries as well as place-based education and literature. She is the author of The Space and Practice of Reading: A Case Study of Reading and Social Class in Singapore (Routledge, 2017) and coeditor (Suzanne Choo and Catherine Beavis) of Literature Education in the Asia-Pacific: Policies, Practices and Perspectives in Global Times (Routledge, 2018).

    Baoqi Sun (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4650-3394) is a research scientist at the Centre for Research in Child Development at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research includes socio-culturalcognitive and policy perspectives on language learning with particular focus on children’s bilingual education and biliteracy development. She has published in a range of journals, including the British Journal of Sociology of Education, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, and Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

    Chan-Hoong Leong (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6337-2157) is an associate professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He is a fellow and elected board member of the International Academy for Intercultural Research (IAIR) and chair of the Rae and Dan Landis Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee at IAIR. He uses a range of research methods, data types, and analytical techniques to examine how social and built environments shape well-being and inclusion. He was most recently awarded a grant to study how the pandemic has influenced Singaporeans’ everyday routines, time use, and caregiving.
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