March 14, 2012
Dr. Geraldine Smith
Theories of Children's Literature
Without a doubt, there are different theoretical models of childhood development that exist in children’s literature. Children’s literature has been used as a tool to help children identify with the world that they live in. Different philosophers believed that a child’s development occurs in stages and that each stage presented a new challenge for the child. Children’s literature, such as Harold and the Purple Crayon, when effectively used, is a tool that parents may use to help children identify with the stage of development that the child may be going through. The author Owocki (2001) is quoted saying: ‘‘Children’s unique interests, ways of knowing, and dispositions inﬂuence how and to what extent they participate in early literacy events, and in turn, the knowledge they construct.’’ There are several theories of childhood development that parents may find in children’s literature. Parenting for cognitive development is the continual, purposeful engagement by parents with young children in cognitively based activities (Schaub 2004). Several philosophers have provided different theories that outline the stages of childhood development. The philosopher, Jean Piaget believed in the theory of cognitive or intellectual development. He believed that there are four major periods that children go through in their development. The first period is called the sensorimotor period and it occurs roughly from birth to two years of age. As one can imagine, it is a very important period of a child’s developmental stage. During this period, the child is interested only with the things that he or she can see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Children also become concerned with figuring out how to use their hand and legs. This is the period in which it is important to introduce children to the concept of reading. For this reason, there...