Rachael has a variety of teaching experience, much of which is influenced by her own research. She is overall Course Director of the Sheffield EdD, where she leads modules on research design and methodology. She also directs and teaches on the Early Childhood Education strand of the EdD programme. This course, aimed at those who wish to research their practice in early childhood education in more depth, provides students with a thorough grounding in the philosophy, principles and practices of educational research, as well as a critical understanding of key contemporary issues in relation to early childhood education.
Rachael also teaches on the MA in Early Childhood Education (part-time) programme, the full-time MA Education and the BA Education, Culture and Childhood. She supervises a number of doctoral students (PhD and EdD). Her doctoral supervision is informed by her research interests as well as her knowledge and experience of methodologies.
Much of Rachael’s teaching relates to her interests in reading, literacy and gender. She has an interest in the philosophy of educational research which informs her teaching as well as the methodology of conducting participatory research with young children. As well as ensuring that students receive a thorough grounding in course content, Rachael employs a philosophical approach to her teaching, inviting students to critically reflect upon and challenge their existing concepts, beliefs, values and experiences that they bring to the various programmes.
Rachael’s research interests focus mainly on children’s interactions with reading, as well as the socio-cultural factors influencing their engagement with literacy more broadly. Rachael is currently leading a three year study within an ESRC-funded collaborative project, to understand the motivations and barriers to shared reading in families (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/education/research/crec/sharedread). This study is providing an insight into the ways in which families use shared reading as part of everyday family practice. It is also shining light on what parents need in order to retain motivation for reading with their children, as well as exploring the links between parents’ own relationships with reading and their shared reading activity with their children.
Her previous work has examined young children’s perceptions of themselves as readers at the time of entry into the formal education system. Rachael is especially interested in understanding how constructions of reading are influenced by children’s home and school discourses, including the impact of technological change within communication practices in society. As a consequence, young children’s interactions with new media and digital technology are also of interest to Rachael.
Rachael’s research has also focused on the links between gender and literacy. She has recently published work on gender, literacy and opportunity in the workplace and the role of Early Childhood Education within this. Over the last four years Rachael has been lead researcher for three further projects which have in various ways examined secondary school-age children’s engagement with reading.
Recent Funded Projects
Shared reading with Families. ESRC funded. Collaboration with Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. 3 years Booktrust 100. Booktrust. Led by Professor Cathy Nutbrown. 8 months Bookbuzz: Evidence of best practice. Booktrust. Collaboration with Sheffield Hallam. 4 months Evaluation of Booked Up. Booktrust. Collaboration with Sheffield Hallam. 4 months
Levy, R., Yamada-Rice, D., and Marsh, J. (2013) Digital literacies in the primary classroom. In Hall, K., Cremin, T., Comber, B., and Moll, L. (Eds) International Handbook of Research in Children’s Literacy, Learning and Culture. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Levy, R. (2011) `Young children, digital technology and interaction with text´ In Thomas, M. (Ed) Deconstructing digital natives; Young people, technology and the new literacies, USA: Routledge
Levy, R., & Marsh, J. (2011). Literacy and ICT in the early years. In Lapp, D. & Fisher, D., (Eds.) The Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (3rd Ed.), Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc
Levy, R. (2011) New technologies in the primary classroom, in Moyles J (ed) Beginning teaching; beginning learning (4th Edition), Open University Press