ECE 335: Children’s Literature
January 31, 2011
A successful literature program focuses on creating a positive attitude towards literature. Children form positive attitudes toward literature through experiences with books. Part of an effective literature program includes developmentally appropriate approaches to teaching and learning; having a criterion for selecting literature titles and media; identifying developmental goals; and planning activities and teaching strategies to help support these developmental goals. Appropriately selected literature will support the developmental goals of early childhood education. These developmental goals are: language, intellectual, personality, social, moral, aesthetic and creative development of preschool age children. “At the center of any literature program for children is the literature itself and its contribution to the development of children’s imaginations” (Giorgis & Glazer, 2008, pg. 27). Reading to children in activities strengthens the developments of these goals.
When choosing literature to read to young children, there is a criterion for selecting appropriate literature titles and media. As educators “select books to use with children it is important to keep quality issues in mind” (Crosser, 2007, para.14). Following are some of the issues: story- can the child relate to the story; plot- does the plot involve circumstances that the child can relate to; characters- are the characters memorable; theme- does the theme have the potential to interest children of preschool age; high literary merit- is the message important to young children; illustrations- are the illustrations interesting and easy to understand and literacy skills- does the book teach literacy skills. “When children grow in a nurturing environment where teachers read to them regularly and use good quality literature to teach reading, children gain skills that will serve them for a lifetime” (Crosser, 2007, para. 19). All of these issues follow a general criterion for selecting children’s books.
A book is one way to share literature with young children and media is another way. When selecting media literature, it is still important to follow a criterion. Following is some criteria to follow: does the video tell an interesting story; does the video encourage children to use their imaginations; is the pacing appropriate; is the music and voice acting of good quality; are the illustrations clear and easy to understand and check for authenticity. Videos offer “an enjoyable way to revisit great illustrated stories again” (Baurain, 2009, para. 4). Sharing videos with quality storytelling enriches children’s lives.
Literature is a part of the curriculum that supports the growth of language, intellectual, personality, social, moral, aesthetic and creative development of preschool age children. Within each of these areas of developments, there are developmental goals. The first development is language development. Language development is the process by which children come to understand and communicate language during early childhood. One of the goals of language development is expanding the children’s vocabulary. “Books offer opportunities for helping children achieve these goals” (Giorgis & Glazer, 2008, pg. 128). A good activity to help preschoolers learn new words is to read several books on the same topic to reinforce vocabulary.
The next development is intellectual development. Intellectual or cognitive development is the process of how a child starts to understand his/her environment and gain knowledge. “Literature offers opportunities for teachers to assist children to grow toward the following goals for intellectual development” (Giorgis & Glazer, 2008, pg. 141). : acquire new concepts and develop critical thinking skills. These are just a couple of examples of the goals. “Literature presents ample opportunities for...