Reading, embodiment and dealing with texts actively (on secondary I level)

  • Andrea Bertschi-Kaufmann
  • Tanja Graber
  • Christof Manetsch
Keywords: Reading and embodiment, Reading and emotionality, Effects of reading, Literature didactics


Reading is conceptualised as a speech act in which reading processes are also shaped by the voice or gestures. The article treats three perspectives on reading as a speech and corporeal act. The first part outlines the presence of the body during reading, especially in the 18th century, and its successive disappearance as cultural historical change in the practice of reading. This markedly contrasts with present statements young readers report about their corporeal reactions while reading. The second part draws on concepts from reading psychology and the Anglo-Saxon embodiment assumption in cognitive psychology. These explain the significance for understanding as well as the interconnections amongst cognitive processes, identification with what is read, and corporeal reactions. The third part focuses on action and production oriented reading instruction [handlungs- und produktionsorientierten Lese- und Literaturunterricht] as type of literary workshop oriented to the activation of the voice and body alongside cognition. There is, however, still little evidence about teachers’ and students’ acceptance of this didactic method as well as about the effects this method has on reading motivation and understanding; accordingly we can currently formulate only open questions for future research.

How to Cite
Bertschi-Kaufmann, A., Graber, T. and Manetsch, C. (2018) “Reading, embodiment and dealing with texts actively (on secondary I level)”, Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 38(1), pp. 127–142. doi: 10.24452/sjer.38.1.4974.