Ref: Pahl, K. and Allan,C. (2011) ‘’I don’t know what literacy is’: Uncovering hidden literacies in a community library using ecological and participatory research methodologies with children.’

A UK-based group of 6-13 years old researchers set out to research their understanding of literacy. The researchers used flip video cameras to record literacy practices as they walked around their community which included audits of leaflets and other literature they found in local shops, libraries and other community venues. They also visited community activities such as parent and craft groups together with a reading activity in a local junior school class to observe and record literacy practices taking place. 

Having completed their own investigation they went on to form the ‘Research Rebels Group’ to research what their local library meant to members of the community.  Children interviewed key library staff and once again included a community walk around with the Flip video camera to record library activity.

The community walks led to a valuable collection of photographs providing information about literacy practices in their community and provided a focus for further discussion revealing the meanings children connected to the library space and activities.

The adult researchers attached to this research project concluded being invited to work with the Research Rebels Group had helped them better understand the ways children used literacy and the connections that children made between literacy and everyday life.