Academic journal article Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

Editorial Introduction

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

Editorial Introduction

Article excerpt

This first issue for the year, which is, of course, put together around Christmas time, looks a little like a Christmas box, full of varied and exciting possibilities.

We open with a challenging and thought-provoking dissertation by Guy Broadley on his perceptions of the state of literacy education in New Zealand. In 'Seeing forward looking back: the New Zealand literacy picture', Broadley moves us through the changes of the past forty years with the shifts between phonics and whole language, from decontextualised word analysis to meaning-making in linked reading and writing sessions.

As a teacher educator Broadley examines the contentious issue of the decreasing quality of the intake in universities as a factor affecting a perceived slide in literacy standards. He also takes note of the increasing proportion in schools of children from low socio economic status and a lack of in-service courses for teachers. His conclusions offer a challenge to the way we view the progress of literacy learning, and some issues to consider in the ongoing debate on literacy standards.

Sylvia Pantaleo shares a delightful research project in 'Young children engage with the metafictive in picture books'. Working with Grade 1 children in a Canadian school, Pantaleo used a range of postmodern picture books to stimulate awareness of metafictive devices employed by authors and illustrators. Through read-aloud sessions the discussions developed children's abilities to deconstruct and analyse texts in the pursuit of meanings. Pantaleo provides a useful list of metafictive devices and children's books which use them, which could encourage classroom teachers to follow this example.

An interesting facet developed in these activities is the link to using web-based texts where the same skills of non-linear strategies and understanding of visual literacy are employed. Pervading the whole discussion is a real sense of the children's delight in discovering new ways to view and understand the texts through the discussion sessions.

At the other end of the education spectrum, Josephine Ryan looks at adolescent readers in 'Young people choose: adolescents' text pleasures'. This study revealed the very different texts which form the basis of adolescents' out of school reading. Ryan discusses these texts, from movies and movie magazines, comics and gaming magazines to popular fiction, newspapers and the internet. …

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