Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Hymns, prayers and Bible stories


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Ethnography and Education
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)119-134
Early online date11/01/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.

Bibliographic note

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