Literate Classrooms: Teachers, Readers and Books: A Consideration of the Importance of Children's Books in the Teaching of Reading

By Goodwin, Prue | NATE Classroom, Autumn 2009 | Go to article overview

Literate Classrooms: Teachers, Readers and Books: A Consideration of the Importance of Children's Books in the Teaching of Reading


Goodwin, Prue, NATE Classroom


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I have just finished reading two brilliant books; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Happiness of Kati by Jane Vejjajiva. I can't wait to see what a couple of keen readers in Year 6 make of them. I am fortunate to have spent my whole career in education reading, collecting and enjoying children's books. One of my greatest pleasures is sharing good children's books with others--pupils, colleagues, parents--in fact, anyone who will listen. I discovered in my first year of teaching that, for a primary teacher, knowledge of children's books is not just a matter of personal interest; it is an essential element of being an effective teacher of literacy, especially at key stage 2.

As teachers of English, I expect most colleagues reading this article will be in agreement that high quality children's books are a vital part of literacy learning yet there still seems to be many primary classrooms where reading materials are offered according to some arbitrary method of levelling. In addition there is a general lack of understanding about the functional role of children's books in the teaching of reading. Effective teachers of reading need much more than knowledge of the skills and cueing systems which young readers employ, they also need an extensive knowledge of children's literature. Recent research into teachers as readers suggests that all teachers of reading should, as a professional requirement, be readers of children's books (see Teachers as Readers: Phase 1 Research Report for UKLA Web by T. Cremin, E. Bearne, M. Mottram, P. Goodwin, 2008).

Our priority as primary practitioners is to teach our pupils:

* how to read;

* about reading;

* about being a reader.

In order to do this, we need to organise explicit teaching of the processes and purposes of reading and the more implicit experiences that enable individuals to become motivated, independent readers. For both aspects, sound knowledge of books is essential. The most effective methods of teaching--reading aloud to children, shared and guided reading--all require personal knowledge of the text, as does making recommendations of books to be read by newly independent readers. As Aidan Chambers pointed out in 1993, all teachers of reading need a 'store' of at least 500 books that they can rely on at to support youngsters in becoming enthusiastic readers (see 'The Difference of Literature: Writing Now for the Future of Young Readers', in Children's Literature in Education, Vol. 24, No 1).

At this point in this article, I must admit that it is unrealistic to expect any teacher to know hundreds of books. Even if we regularly update ourselves, we will never know enough. For this reason, all primary teachers should seek out the local Schools' Library Service (SLS) wherever possible. If no SLS is available, befriend a children's librarian or find an independent children' bookshop. Librarians will not only give advice about books, they will also offer information about children's publishing, journals and websites, which is invaluable when seeking good ideas for the next book to read aloud or books to support young readers.

Reading aloud to children

Perhaps the most important choices teachers make are the books we will read aloud to our classes. Reading aloud to children delivers powerful and effective learning. It also motivates; having emotions stirred or becoming engrossed in a story creates expectations of pleasure from future encounters with books. We must read from all text types--non-fiction as well as poetry and stories--though some would argue that narrative fiction is paramount; it certainly is the most engaging for the majority of listeners. Children captivated by a story, have their imaginations triggered and they can experience total absorption that being 'lost in a book' can produce. No matter what age they are, reading aloud to pupils will enable them to understand meanings more deeply and to tackle more complex ideas than they could by reading to themselves. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Literate Classrooms: Teachers, Readers and Books: A Consideration of the Importance of Children's Books in the Teaching of Reading
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.