Children's Literature

Instructor: Chi-Fen Emily Chen, Ph.D. 陳其芬

Department of English, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


Home
About the Course
Introduction
History
Study of Literature
Teaching Literature
Poetry for Children
Picture Books
Folk Literature
Fantasy
Realistic Fiction
Web Resources
Students' Works

Teaching Literature to Children

 Please read Chapter 4 from Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a short introduction.

Introduction

 Before we start this unit, let's think about the following questions.

Question 1:   Should we teach children how to read literature?

  1. Think about your own experiences of reading literature. Have educational experiences increased your enjoyment of specific texts? If so, how? If not, why not?

  2. Read the following statements and see if you agree or not.

  • Children are naturally capable of taking pleasure in what they read.

  • Readers are made, not born (Chambers, 1983, p. 30).

  • Literature is more experienced than taught (Glazer, 1986, p. 51).

  • Critical analysis of literature somehow destroys pleasure in it.

  • Many people don’t focus their teaching of literature on the enhancement of pleasure because they believe that pleasure is private, too dependent on individual tastes and feelings to be taught (Nodelman & Reimer, 2003, p. 32).

  • Literature must be discussed. It is only by discussing with others who have experienced a book that new meaning can be effectively constructed (Bicknell, p. 45).

  • Children need teachers to demonstrate how to enter into and explore the world of literature, just as children learning language need adults who show them how the language functions in the everyday world (Peterson & Eeds, 1990, p. 12).


Question 2:   What should teachers do to help children read literature?

  1. Think about your own experiences of reading literature. Did any of your teachers teach you how to read literature when you were a child?  If so, how?

  2. Read the following statements and see if you agree or not.

  • Ask children to understand every word written in a text.

  • Ask children to derive meaning from context as they read,

  • Ask children to always read closely and analytically.

  • Allow children to feel free to read against a text.

  • Encourage children to see their reading of literature as a source of questions to think about rather than answers to accept.

  • Ask children to parrot the responses or interpretations of other people, particularly those with authority over them, to prove that they understood the “right” things about a book they read.

  • Encourage children to have their own ideas about what they read.

  • Encourage children to exchange their viewpoints with others and respect the differences.

  • Provide children with diverse experiences of literature.

  • Help children to read with an awareness of ideological implications, that is, of the ways in which texts represent or misrepresent reality and work to manipulate readers.