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Ela Wydrzynska

Linguistics, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Making Non-readers Read: using stylistic analyses to explore the literary engagement of low-attainers in Key Stage 3.

My thesis primarily considers postmodern and metafictive strategies in relation to children’s literature, specifically in popular junior fiction (for readers aged 8-12). These techniques – such as a visibly inventing narrator who is seen writing the book as we go, the involvement of the real reader in the construction of the story, typographic experiments, games or riddles, and so on – are commonplace in mainstream contemporary children’s literature, yet the corresponding academic awareness remains severely limited. My thesis addresses this gap by analysing a range of example texts using stylistic and narratological frameworks. I also intend to combine empirical research with this study, running focus groups with low-attaining Key Stage 3 students to ascertain whether a) postmodern strategies might be considered more engaging for so-called ‘reluctant readers’, and b) there is enough stylistic complexity in such texts to warrant popular children’s literature being more readily used in the classroom to help bridge the gap for low-attaining students.

Research Area

  • Linguistics


  • International Association of Literary Semantics (Reykjavik, April 2019): 'I' & 'You': the case of a dramatized reader and an overly dramatic narrator 
  • Poetics and Linguistics Association (Liverpool, July 2019): The Real Value of Children's Literature
  • Postgraduate Symposium (University of Nottingham, November 2019): Bish, Bash, (Pseudonymous) Bosch: Postmodernism For Children

Other Research Interests

  • Stylistics/Literary Linguistics
  • Cognitive Poetics
  • Narratology
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Sociolinguistics