Kelsie Syverson, EngEd 370, Chapter 12: Bringing Children and Literature Together

Supporting a Community of Readers

A literature-based program includes independent reading, sustained reading and writing, social interactions, and read alouds using literature, books, novels, short stories, magazines, plays, poems, and electronic books that have not been rewritten for instructional purposes. There are ling-term benefits implicit in bringing children and books tgether on a regular basis:

  1. Reading expands children’s experiential backgrounds
  2. Literature provides readers with good models of writing
  3. Students learn to read be reading
  4. When the prime purpose for reading is pleasure, children want to understand what they are reading and are likely to select cooks with familiar topics, themes, or characters
  5. Wide reading provides opportunities for children to develop vocabulary knowledge

Students in the literature-based program had increased their fluency and comprehension skills. Literature-based programs create a community of readers. Students, in alliance with their friends and teacher, work together in classrooms in which school reading becomes like adult reading, where adults are motivated to read.


Selecting a Classroom Collection of Books

These books come from different sources – the teacher’s personal collection, the school library, the public library, and paperback book clubs. The core collection is permanent, mant if the borrowed titles change frequently, so there is always something new to encourage browsing.

Choosing Classroom Literature

Several strategies can be used to help choose classroom literature:

  • Read and enjoy children’s books yourself
  • Read children’s cooks with a sense of involvement
  • Read a variety of books types
  • Read books for a wide variety of ability levels
  • Share how your students respond to particular books with others teachers
  • Start by reading several books of good quality

Determining Good Literature

It is important to take into consideration students’ diverse backgrounds, academic abilities, and interests. Four criteria to use in building a balanced collection of books:

  1. The collection needs to contain modern, realistic literature as well as more traditional literature
  2. The collection needs to contain books that realistically present different ethnic and minority groups and nontraditional families as well as mainstream Americans
  3. The collection needs to contain books with different types of themes and books of varying difficulty
  4. The collection needs to include nonfiction

Multicultural Literature


Five reasons for multicultural literature in the classroom:

  1. All children, and especially children of color, need to experience multicultural books. Students receive an affirmation of themselves and their cultures when their life experiences are mirrored in books. The infusion of multicultural literature in the classroom affirms and empowers children and their cultures.
  2. Children perceive that members of their cultural group make contributions to the world.
  3. Children derive pleasure and pride from hearing and reading stories about children like themselves and seeing illustrations of characters who look as if they stepped out of their homes or communities.
  4. Multicultural literature offers hope and encouragement to children who face the types of dilemmas and experiences depicted in some of the books they read.
  5. Children who read culturally diverse books encounter authors who use language in inventive and memorable ways, who create multidimensional characters, and who engender aesthetic and literacy experiences that con touch the heart, mind, and soul.

So, how do you select multicultural literature?

  • Cultural accuracy
  • Richness to cultural details
  • Authentic dialogue and relationships
  • In-depth treatment of cultural issues
  • Inclusion of members of a minority group for a purpose

Designing the Classroom Library

Students will read 50% more books in classrooms with libraries than those who don’t have the same access to books. The classroom library should be highly visible and shows the importance of this part of the classroom. There should be comfy seating with about 5-6 books per student in the classroom. There should be multiple copies of favorite books. Also, books should include a variety or genres and reading levels.

Listening to Literature

When children listen to literature, they are exposed to stories and poems they cannot, or will not, read on their own. Often, once children are excited by hearing a selection, they want to read it for themselves. Through hearing stories and poems, students develop a positive feeling towards books.

Read-alouds can be used too. This is where the teacher reads for at least 10-20 minutes a day to students. Reading aloud needs to be incorporated into all aspects of the curriculum.

Helping Children Select Books

Teachers can tell exciting anecdotes about authors, provide previews of interesting stories, show videos about stories, suggest titles of stories that match students’ interests, enourage author searches on the Internet, share leveled book listings, or compile teacher- and/or student- annotated book lists.

Core Booksa collection of books at each grade that is judged to be age appropriate and of high quality. Students have little to no choice in the selection of core books.

Reading Workshopsa way to integrate the language arts around literature and provide an organizational framework that allows readers to demonstrate their use of reading strategies be responding to books and sharing meaning with others.

Literature Circlesare small, temporary discussion groups that have choosen to read the same story, poem, article, or book. Each member prepares to take specific responsiblities in the upcoming discussion, and everyone comes to the group with the notes needed to help perform that job. The circles have regular meetings, with discussion roles rotating each session. Teams are formed by choice of reading material, not ability level.


Encouraging Responses to Literature

Lead students in classroom experiences in which they analyze their personal reactions to what they have read. This can be done through book talks, free response and literature journals. Reader-response theory is a theory that states that the reader is crucial to the construction of the literacy experience.

Vacca, J. L., Vacca, R. T., & Gove, M. K. (2012). Reading and learning to read (8th ed.). New York: Longman.

Classroom Application

I love all of the strategies and techniques for setting up a classroom library. The tips on incorporating multicultural literature will be especially helpful because I feel like this is an area that I struggle because I choose books that I think student will enjoy, not always thinking about multicultural literature.

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