Magazine article Practical Literacy

Teaching and Learning through Children's Literature

Magazine article Practical Literacy

Teaching and Learning through Children's Literature

Article excerpt

The ultimate aim of all teaching of literature should be to instil in children a love of stories and reading. Sadly, many students will claim that this love has been destroyed by the insistence of teachers that they 'study' the book. This activity is a strategy that can be used to generate and structure discussion so that a good book can be discussed without over-analysing it.

Diamond ranking

The purpose of this activity is to generate discussion about priorities. Different text types will have different things to prioritise. For the purposes of this discussion, these things are referred to as 'elements'. Diamond ranking is a good strategy to use with texts that consider opinions and encourages students to justify their beliefs and feelings. After reading, The Last King of Angkor Wat, by Graeme Base, the class could identify nine characteristics of a successful leader. After reading, The Duck and the Darklings, by Glenda Millard, the group might list nine reasons for Peterboy to keep Idaduck. If studying a longer novel, the class might identify nine events from the story and decide on their relative impact on the main character.

Unlike a typical, linear ranking ladder, the diamond ranking shows that there may be some elements that have equal weighting.

Elements are clustered into a diamond shape as shown in the diagram.


Think-pair-share variation

1. Students decide on their own ranking and show a partner.

2. Pairs must agree on the order by justifying their opinions. …

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