Author Archives: marieleewalker

ETL402 – Assignment 2: Reflective Blog Post

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During the subject ETL402 I have experienced numerous critical points in my learning about the concept of literary learning and the importance of children’s literature. The teacher librarian (TL) has a fundamental role to:

– Promote the benefits of reading a wide range of fiction

– Encourage students to read fiction independently

– Provide students with access to a wide range of genres (and formats) in children’s literature

– Collaboratively develop, teach and assess literary learning programs to embed fiction across the curriculum

  • Early on in ETL402 I listed strategies that could be used to increase my professional knowledge of children’s literature (Walker, 2014b)
  • I was on the right track with many of these strategies, in particular the necessity for me as a TL to read more widely, that is, read children’s literature across all genres
  • In the process of completing Assignment 2 (A case for literary learning) I have gained a deeper understanding of why it is vital for the TL to have an extensive professional knowledge and understanding of children’s literature
  • Professional knowledge will enable the TL to support teachers in understanding the educational benefits of embedding fiction into the curriculum (Cremin, Mottram, Bearne & Goodwin, 2008, p.459)
  • The TL can assist teachers to select fiction which can be utilised as a teaching and learning tool to engage students in their learning
  • In Module 1 for this subject we were asked to write about why reading fiction is important for students
  • I included three reasons: improved comprehension, creating meaning and improved literacy and language skills (Walker, 2014a)
  • Adding to this, I have learnt that children who read more often and more widely will improve in their academic success (OECD, 2002, p. 3)
  • During the course of this subject I have gained a deeper understanding of why it is essential to engage students in literary learning programs, regular independent free reading and reading aloud to students. The reasons include:

– Improved understanding of story structure

– Encouraging imaginative thinking

– Improved logical and critical thinking skills

– Motivation to learn

– Creates empathy

– Improved writing skills

– Improved memory

– Provides pleasure and enjoyment (Haven, 2007, pp. 89-121)

  • Reading fiction engages students in other worlds, experiencing different cultures, different perspectives, different environments, possibilities, historical events, complex issues and imaginative worlds
  • Professional knowledge of children’s literature will enable the TL to provide the school learning community with access to children’s literature in many different formats; print, digital and audiobooks
  • The TL’s role includes utilising professional knowledge to collaboratively develop, team teach and assess student learning outcomes in literary learning programs
  • Such programs will enable the TL to meet the learning needs of the students by matching readers to fiction texts that meet their reading / cognitive levels and any special needs
  • Literary learning programs can provide a wide range of content/themes which engage students in such a way that the they want to read more independently and gain pleasure from reading (Cornett, 2007, p. 106; Cremin et al., 2008, p.459)
  • TLs can develop effective literary learning programs which address learning outcomes for the Cross-curriculum priority areas and General capabilities in the Australian curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2015)

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). Australian curriculum. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Cornett, C. E. (2007). Creating meaning through literature and the arts: an integration resource for classroom teachers (3rd ed.) Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.

Cremin, T., Mottram, M., Bearne, E., & Goodwin, P. (2008). Exploring teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature. Cambridge Journal of Education, 38(4), 449-464. doi:10.1080/03057640802482363

Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story. Retrieved from EBook Library.

OECD. (2002). Reading for change: Performance and engagement across countries: Results from PISA 2000. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/programmeforinternationalstudentassessmentpisa/33690904.pdf

Walker, M. (2014a). ETL402 – Forum post 1: Why read? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://marieleewalker.wordpress.com/

Walker, M. (2014b). ETL402 – Personal mastery: Strategies to increase professional knowledge of children’s literature [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://marieleewalker.wordpress.com/

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ETL402: Module 4 – Trends in Interactive Media for Children

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These are my thoughts on an article by Amy Friedlander (2013).

Trend # 5: Apps with strong curriculum focus are on the rise

An increase in Apps with a strong curriculum focus is a positive trend (Friedlander, 2013, para. 11). Embracing these new and innovative ways of embedding and supporting the curriculum is an area in which TLs can be leaders by being knowledgeable, current and introducing these teaching and learning tools to the whole school community. The rise of Apps which have a strong curriculum focus provide new ways for TLs and teachers to think about effective and engaging teaching and learning tools. These teaching and learning tools may offer many valuable opportunities to support students learning and an engaging avenue to demonstrate student understanding (Lamb & Johnson, 2010, p. 76).

The impact on the TL’s role regarding these types of Apps will involve a clear evaluation and selection criteria (similar to that used for evaluating other digital resources for the collection). TLs will need to be aware of the costs involved and the fine print for conditions of use. Importantly, TLs will need to collaborate with teachers to make sure that the Apps being selected for use meet the specific learning needs of the school community and effectively support curriculum outcomes.

References

Friedlander, A. (2013, November 26). Ten trends in interactive media for children from dust or magic [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/ten-trends-in-interactive-media-for-children-from-dust-or-magic/

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010). Divergent convergence Part 1: Cross-genre, multi-platform, transmedia experiences in school libraries. Teacher Librarian, 37(5), 76-81. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/

ETL402 – Module 2: Three things I’ve learnt about diversity in children’s literature

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Series Fiction

In research it has been argued that series fiction can support reluctant and early readers to develop confidence in their reading ability, due to its predictability and formulaic nature (Gutierrez, 2012). Research has shown reading series fiction aids in the development of reading for pleasure. Once a student finds a series they enjoy, the pleasure derived from reading these books can motivate them to want to read more of this series. Reading more often helps to build the skills needed for competent readers (Truby, 2003, pp. 21-22). It is essential that the school library has a variety of series fiction as part of the collection. In this way the TL can support the literacy needs of reluctant and early readers, and the whole school community.

Indigenous literature

It is essential for school libraries to include indigenous literature that is written by indigenous authors and illustrated by indigenous illustrators, in their collection. It is vital for “black voices” to tell their own stories so all students can have a truer understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s stories, histories and culture. The school library can promote and provide easy access to indigenous literature (print and digital) to support the cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014). Aboriginal publishing houses such as Magabala Books can support TL’s to locate indigenous literature written and illustrated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Picture books for older readers

Picture books support students with learning difficulties, EAL/D students and reluctant readers through the combination of the images and text. Readers can more easily make connections between the images and text, which supports successful reading (The National Library of New Zealand, Services to Schools, 2013, Advantages section). Picture books lend themselves to opportunities for group discussions amongst readers. These discussions can help readers to gain greater meaning. The images in picture books can aid in engaging readers and can create many layers of meaning; teachers and TL’s can use this quality to encourage students to critically reflect on the narratives. Picture books for older readers often address and promote discussions on complex issues.

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014). Australian Curriculum: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/crosscurriculumpriorities/Aboriginal-and-Torres-Strait-Islander-histories-and-cultures

Gutierrez, P. (2012, July 4). The R.L. Stine interview, part 2: The value of series fiction [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/connect-the-pop/2012/07/english/the-r-l-stine-interview-part-2-the-value-of-series-fiction/

The National Library of New Zealand, Services to Schools. (2013). Sophisticated picture books. Retrieved from http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/creating-readers/genres-and-read-alouds/sophisticated-picture-books#advantages-of-using-sophisticated-picture-books

Truby, D. (2003). A fresh look at series books. Instructor (1999), 112(8), 20-22,62. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/instructor

ETL402 – Personal Mastery: Strategies to increase professional knowledge of children’s literature

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This is a list of some strategies that I could use in the future to increase my professional knowledge of children’s literature:

  • Read more widely – try reading children’s literature from many different genres, especially those that I would not normally choose
  • Talk to children and teens about what books they are reading and why they like these books, what would they like to see more of in the school library collection
  • Maybe survey students in the library about the fiction they like to read and why – what are their favourite genres
  • Use online tools such as WorldCat Genres to research the literature available for children and teens
  • Read reviews on children’s literature
  • Look at awards for children’s literature and what are the books receiving these types of awards
  • Look at the children’s literature sections in bookshops and in libraries – what is being stocked and collected
  • Talk to other TL’s about children’s literature and genres – pick their brains to gather information about possible books to look at and read

I’m sure this list will be added to as I progress to learn more in this subject.

ETL402 – Forum Post 1: Why Read?

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There is an abundance of evidence that supports the benefits for children to read. The value of children’s literature goes far beyond pleasure and enjoyment, although these are extremely important factors as to why children should read. The enjoyment derived from reading stories promotes a “love of reading” in children. Doing something they enjoy is always a motivator for children to pursue such activities. It is important to allow and encourage children to read the fiction they want to read, as this promotes a “love of reading” (Gaiman, 2013, para. 10).

The value of children reading narratives / stories includes (not a definitive list):

Improves comprehension

Reading and listening to stories helps to improve comprehension in children from a young age. It improves comprehension with all texts. Reading stories helps children of all ages understand and retain complex concepts and information. Introducing new concepts and information to children in a story structure is easier for them to comprehend and recall. Regularly reading or listening to stories being read will improve the comprehension of a child in both areas (Haven, 2007, pp. 97-98).

Creating meaning

Children reading stories and having stories read to them helps make sense and meaning of the world they live in. This includes the society they are part of, self-identity and relationships. Reading stories is easier for children to understand and retain complex concepts, societal and cultural values, attitudes, beliefs and information (Haven, 2007, pp. 105-106). The meaning that is created for children through reading stories can promote a sense of belonging and community. Shared stories create shared experiences and shared understandings which can be discussed amongst children and teachers, creating a sense of belonging (Haven, 2007, p. 113).

Improved literacy and language skills

From extensive research it is well established that reading improves literacy and language skills. The research highlights the importance of reading stories to children from a young age as this facilitates improved language skills and gives them a developed sense of story structure. This in turn will facilitate improved literacy skills (Haven, 2007, p. 114).

References

Gaiman, N. (2013, October 16). Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story. Retrieved from EBook Library.

ETL402 – Notes on the key elements for a definition of children’s literature

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  • Reading material usually written by adults for children and that which is widely read by children
  • Designed for an audience of children
  • Literary material targeted with children’s developmental level in mind – reading, maturity and cognitive levels
  • Influenced by society and culture – current concerns of society – therefore changes with the times
  • Influenced by how childhood is viewed by the society and culture – therefore will change with times and attitudes
  • Influenced and molded by many stakeholders – authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, educators, critics, parents and children
  • Imaginative works
  • Early years to adolescents
  • Amuse, enlighten or entertain children
  • Empowering tool
  • Vehicle for learning, enjoyment and self-discovery, self-identity