We report on a qualitative study that explored the influence of transitional factors on the reading practices of early adolescents in their progress from primary to secondary school. It is hypothesised
that the measure in which they adapt to changed psychosocial conditions after primary school not only influences their academic and social development but can also blunt the fostering of salient reading habits. As more rigorous literacy practices are required for optimal development of advanced reading skills, it is important that teachers understand the impact of transitional stressors. Secondary school is the beginning of the final instructional phase during which learners can be
guided to effectively read to learn through advanced reading instruction. We explored Grade 8 learners’ experiences through semi-structured interviews and found that transitioning from primary school was accompanied by qualitative changes. The findings show that the emotional, social, and
physical upheavals many early adolescents experience, across the transition to secondary school, may have a negative impact on their advanced reading development. We propose key components that educators and policy makers can consider when guiding adolescents’ reading practices through this critical developmental phase.