ETL 402. Literature Across the Curriculum

As an experienced primary and secondary school teacher I considered ‘Literature Across the Curriculum’ to be an extension of the literacy I incorporated into my teaching programs and planning. However, after working my way through Module 1 I soon realised literacy and literature were two totally different concepts, and the considerable scope of literature and the significant opportunities new technologies offered teacher librarian’s and teacher’s to reshape the way in which narratives are presented to and received by students, so they continue to construct meaning in their lives (Kerlin, 2014, Blog, Module 1). When working through Module 1(2014) I came to realise how digital technology and mobile devices had significantly impacted on the format and content of student’s fiction and reading experiences, and changed the nature of literacy across the school curriculum and libraries, especially with the introduction of E-books, iPads, and multimodal platform like Clickview (Madej, 2003; ETL 402, Overview and introduction to children’s literature). I found Elizabeth Bird’s (2011) article especially interesting regarding Literature Apps as Apps are a large part of my school’s curriculum texts as the students utilise iPad technology throughout the school curriculum (p. 26).

Ensconced in my History teacher world, I realised I had missed out on the cascade of new fiction genres that the students had embraced with such enthusiasm, particularly dystopian (Hunger Games series), Steam Punk, sophisticated/YoungAdult picture books and graphic novels (The Arrival & Maus), the blending of horror and romance such as the Twilight series, and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) themes which are so relevant to our 21st century world and an important consideration of school library collections (ETL402, Module 2, 2014). Such a variety of genres and formats allow teachers/teacher librarians to diversify their students’ reading experiences and expand their understanding and interaction with the literary world, as the students move on from traditional linear plots and narrative closure, to preferences for hypertext narratives or digital literature where they can interact with the text and direct their own content or direction (Unsworth, 2005, p.1).

Multi-cultural literature, whole literature programs and curriculum reading environments have become popular with school curriculums and teacher librarian’s with the introduction of the Australian Curriculum’s cross curriculum priority areas, which provide the opportunity for the integration of literary programs incorporating critical, multi and visual literacies and transmedia story telling into learning area curriculums to promote an engaging and enriching literary experience for the students (ETL402, 2015, Assignment 2; Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014). History: Overview. Cross curriculum priorities).

I have acquired considerable knowledge and learning from completing the modules of Literature Across the Curriculum and particularly enjoyed Joyce Valenza’s Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians revised (2010 ) which I have included on my Blog and includes inspirational gems for future teacher librarians like myself, such as always explore new ways to promote and celebrate reading, make learning an engaging and colourful experience, and lead through strong vision, excitement, engagement, and enthusiasm.

 

References:

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014). History: Overview. Cross curriculum priorities. Accessed 23 January 2015 and retrieved from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/history/cross-curriculum-priorities

Bird, E. (2011). Planet APP. School Library Journal, 57(1), 26. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=57053781&site=ehost-live

ETL402 Literature Across the Curriculum. (2014). Assignment 2. A case for literary learning.

ETL402 Literature Across the Curriculum. (2014). Module 1. Overview and Introduction to Children’s Literature. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL402_201490_W_D/page/e01b27e4-b56b-4b05-00cf-9cd2cadb5e00

ETL402 Literature Across the Curriculum. (2014). Module 2.Diversity in Children’s Literature. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL402_201490_W_D/page/e01b27e4-b56b-4b05-00cf-9cd2cadb5e00

Kerlin, J. (2014, December 22nd). Literature Across the Curriculum. [Web log post]. Retrieved from:

https://jennykerlin.wordpress.com/category/etl-402/

Madej, K. (2003). Towards digital narrative for children: from education to entertainment, a historical perspective. ACM Computers and Entertainment, 1(1).  doi: 10.1145/950566.950585

Unsworth, L. (2005). E-Literature and On-Line Literary Resources: Engaging ‘Net-Age’Children with New Forms of Literary Texts. 1-4. Retrieved from: http://www.slav.schools.net.au/synergy/vol5num2/unsworth.pdf

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Module 2. Diversity in Children’s Literature

Professional Knowledge Strategies

Some strategies to increase my professional knowledge of children’s literature are, accessing publisher’s book lists in Australia, Europe, and the USA, of recent and popular children’s and Young Adult’s literature. Another strategy would be to access the various professional and children’s choice Literary Awards in Australia as an alternative source when considering children’s literature for the school library.  Together with the student’s own book reviews, which are always a good indicator of popular trends or good reads for a certain age or year level.
For example, reading trends for 2014 at my secondary college school library were:

Year 7, Dystopian fiction such as ‘The Hunger Games’ series, and James Phelan ‘The Last Thirteen’ series & Alone trilogy.
Year 8, Robert Muchamore’s ‘Cherub’, ‘Henderson Boys’, & ‘Aramov’ dystopian series and Kirsty Murray’s ‘Children of the Wind’ series and ‘India Dark’.
Year 9, Fantasy fiction such as the ‘Twilight’ series, Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’, Scot Gardner’s ‘Book Mark Days’ girl’s fiction and the popular ‘One Dead Seagull’ and ‘White Ute Dreaming’ boy’s fiction.
Year 10, Fantasy fiction as above, and Archie Fusillo’s ‘Last of the Braves’ and ‘The Yard’.

Children’s Literary Awards

Another children’s literary award that would be useful for educational purposes is The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award, awarded ‘to the outstanding book of the Picture Book genre in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity, or, in wordless picture books, where the story, theme or concept is unified through illustrations’ (2007-2014, CBCA).The award is an acknowledgement of the invaluable contribution picture books provide within both educational and social contexts.

Contemporary picture books are increasingly popular among older readers, and have become invaluable for teachers to use as opportunities for student’s to make meaning of texts, and develop critical literacy learning in the Australian Curriculum.

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The top ten reasons why teachers, librarians, and parents should provide picture books for older readers are:

1. Themes are often of universal appeal.
2. Talented artists and illustrators are using picture books as public galleries.
3. Many issues dealt with require a maturity level beyond that of young children.
4. The short and appealing format makes picture books easy to incorporate into whole language or literature-based curricula.
5. Students with learning difficulties or those learning English as a second language will be able to make the visual/verbal connections necessary for successful reading and learning.
6. Picture books can serve as models for fine writing and excellent illustration.
7. Picture books can be used to introduce concepts and sophisticated ideas.
8. Students accustomed to learning visually through television and computers will adapt naturally to the picture book format.
9. The language in picture books is succinct and rich — a terrific way to increase vocabulary.
10. Those lucky students who learn to love picture books will receive a lifetime gift and will be
forever thankful (ETL 402, Module 2, School of Information Studies, CSU, 2014).

Literary Non-fiction

Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, letters, diaries and journals, travel and exploration narratives, are all examples of literary nonfiction. In The Little Refugee by Anh Do and Suzanne Do, Anh writes with humour and compassion of his life as a refugee (Mod. 2).

Another information book which is a quality example of the genre is Son of the Revolution by Liang Heng, Judith Shapiro, (1984, isbn13: 9780006367505), and published by HarperCollins.
This non-fiction additional resource would support Year 7 students who are studying China as part of their Southeast Asia History curriculum, as it is an autobiography of a young Chinese man whose childhood and adolescence was spent in Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution.

References:
ETL 402, Module 2. Diversity in Children’s literature. (2014). School of Information Studies, CSU. Wagga Wagga.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s (CBCA). (2014) Picture Book of the Year Award. Retrieved from: http://cbca.org.au/Picture-Book-Notables-2014.htm

Heng L., Shapiro J. (1984). Son of the Revolution. HarperCollins Publishers.