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The Value of Children's literature

The Value of Children's literature

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Published by Michael Prants
Essay on the value of childrens literature in the development of children's literacy skills and other social/academic benifits
Essay on the value of childrens literature in the development of children's literacy skills and other social/academic benifits

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Michael Prants on Aug 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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The Value of Children’s Literature
“For decades, research has concluded that children's books not only provide great pleasure toreaders, but they can also play a significant role in children's social, literacy and academicsuccess.” (Hoewisch: 2000
).
Children’s literature however doesn’t just stop at children’s books but also includes; plays, short stories and poems, anything that utilises the written word!Firstly the sheer enjoyment of reading, instils a sense of love for literature. Children’s literatureengages the child, and creates a pattern, a ritual whereby children continue to read, and therebylearn and grow from all its other benefits.Social development is one of these other benefits. As Bill McGinley
(
n.d.
)
says literature is a partof our culture. It not only reflects our cultural norms, values and beliefs but it can also help shapethem. Think for a moment about the stories in your life, whether they have been read or told. Thechildren's stories you read over and over again. The stories of characters you once related to andeven emulated. These are the stories we as humans learn valuable lessons from! Stories engageour sense of self as we explore a world full of dilemmas, choices and journeys. Stories help us toconstruct our own meaning about life as we watch how other characters react in certainsituations. Using children's literature to teach conflict resolution is one clear example howliterature develops social development. By reading literature students can relate to at a personallevel and begin to analyse any conflict present, so that they can develop the skills to resolve it productively in their own lives.Literacy success is another benefit of children’s literature; as the more time children spendreading literature, the better their reading and writing abilities become. Significant increases havealso been specifically found in young children's comprehension and vocabulary skills(Cohen: 1968), phonological production (Irwin: 1960), complexity of sentence structure(Cazden: 1965), and concept of story structure (Applebee: 1978) all as a result of being read tofrom an early age. Hearing stories read aloud can assist children in grasping the differencesamong literary forms and functions, teaching them to anticipate story patterns and endings, andhelping to develop quicker and more fluent reading.
(
Hoewisch: 2000
)
 
Lastly children’s literature benefits in the development of children’s academic success. Literatureallows children to engage with the content being taught, for example the famous picture book ‘Bilby Moon’ by Margret Spurling, allows Stage 1 teachers to confidently introduce and teach thecomplex topic of phases of the moon to their class, as they have a resource that provides both asimple description of the process textually, but also visually as the prominent illustrations aid inthe child’s academic development of the concept. Of course in enabling children to learn throughreading, children’s literature also aids in teachers, teaching lessons. As Philip Pullman says “Wedon't need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do's and don'ts: we need books, time, and silence.‘Thou shalt not' is soon forgotten, but 'Once upon a time' lasts forever.” (personalcommunication, August 10, 2008
)
 
 Reference list 
Applebee, A. (1978).
The child’s concept of story: ages two to seventeen
. Chicago: TheUniversity of Chicago Press.Arnold, N. (2003).
 Diving with dolphins
. London: Scholastic Children’s Books.Better Homes and Gardens (1990).
The best-ever gift 
. Iowa, U.S.A.: Meredith Corporation.Blume, J. (1992).
The one in the middle is the green kangaroo
. London: Pan MacmillanChildren’s Books.Cazden, C. (1965). Environmental assistance to the child's acquisition of grammar.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation
, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.Cohen, D. (1968). The effect of literature on vocabulary and reading achievement.
 Elementaryenglish
, 45, 209-213, 217.Cole, J. (1996).
The magic school bus: blows its top
. New York: Scholastic Inc.Costain, M. (2006).
 All stars 8
. Fitzroy, Victoria: Black dog books.Cunxin, L. (2007).
The peasant prince
. Camberwell, Vic: Penguin Group.de Brunhoff, L. (1990).
 Babar and his friends at the farm
. London: Twin Books U.K. Ltd.

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