Academic journal article Science and Children

From Whimsy to Literacy

Academic journal article Science and Children

From Whimsy to Literacy

Article excerpt

Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don't know what they're talking about."--Ray Bradbury

As a young girl I was not a reader. I would much rather be outdoors riding my bike, looking under rocks, and walking the railroad trestle (hope my mom isn't reading this). But, there were exceptions, such as anything written by Jules Verne. He drew my attention because of the fantasy and maintained my interest with the possibilities embedded in his novels. It is the image crafted by Jules Verne that came to mind when I watched John Glenn launched into space. This was certainly not exactly as Verne portrayed the launch of a rocket from the Columbiad space gun. But there are many parallels between the fiction of Verne and reality.

Fiction has its place in learning, and science is no exception. When literature is fact-based, it can enhance the understanding of science. Literature serves as a hook to engage children who may not otherwise be readers or show interest in science. But its role should be monitored. Many educators are concerned about the use of anthropomorphic characters in children's literature. Can you imagine a child growing up and maintaining the belief that bears can discuss the merits of porridge and their chairs? When literature is whimsy, it can be pointed out to children. What we should be concerned about is literature that appears to include factual information that has not been vetted and may not be accurate. …

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