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SOURCE : Banerjee, J. (2007, 09 10). The Victorian Web. Retrieved 06 23, 2012, from What is Childrens Literature?: http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/childlit/definitions1.

html What is Childrens Literature? Jacqueline Banerjee, PhD, Contributing Editor

Defining childrens literature is unexpectedly tricky. To begin with, what is a childrens book?" asks F. Gordon Roe. It is not, it seems, simply a book written for children. Talking of childhood reading in Victorian times, Roe continues: Some of the works I shall mention were not primarily written for children at all. So far from the works of Scott and Dickens being looked upon as impositions, they were read eagerly by many juveniles, though some of their elders were doubtful about Mr Dickens, who wrote about quite vulgar folk even pickpockets! (90) Just as adult" books like Redgauntlet, say, or Oliver Twist were appropriated by children, books written for children reached an adult audience too, and not only through the business side of things, either. Having been selected by the publisher or his reader, books were then selected by parents and teachers for individual children (certainly until the later decades of the century), and often read aloud to the youngest of those children. Childrens writers have always been very much aware of the adults reading over childrens shoulders. Then, books that enthralled in childhood stayed with their readers into adulthood. Thackeray explains, The boy-critic loves the story: grown up, he loves the author who wrote the story. Hence the kindly tie is established between writer and reader, and lasts pretty nearly for life" (De Juventute"). Thackeray is talking mainly of Sir Walter Scott here, but he also refers to Frank" in Maria Edgeworths Moral Tales for Young Children (1801). Perhaps most importantly, some of the greatest childrens books of the mid-nineteenth-century onwards seem to have been written, at least subconsciously, to satisfy the needs of adults. U. C. Knoepflmacher feels that Thackeray, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Jean Ingelow, Christina Rossetti and Mrs Ewing all owed much toRuskin, explaining that: The double perspective of child and adult he had implanted in his 1841 text [ The King of the Golden River] would be perfected in their more complicated fantasies for young readers of both sexes. By turning to such child readers, these writers tried, as had Ruskin, to confront their own self-division between adult and child selves. (6) Books that addressed such a fundamental psychological dilemma inevitably appealed to adult readers as well as children. An example here is Rossettis Goblin Market (1862),

which was quickly perceived to have two levels of meaning for the two distinct audiences (see Knoepflmacher, Ch. 9). The parameters of childrens literature are blurred in another way. When can this amorphous body of literature be said to have begun? In the later medieval period, perhaps, with hornbooks (which carried The Lords Prayer or sometimes a religious verse), or conduct books for young courtiers? Or in the sixteenth century, with chapbooks, however bawdy and probably forbidden? Chapbooks were still circulating into the nineteenth century, by which time some were being specifically put out for children, an interesting proof that children could drive the book market even then. These cheap popular tales were precursors of the Penny Dreadfuls. Or did childrens literature start, in the same century, with the publication of the old romance, Sir Bevis of Hampton, which Bunyan loved as a child? A version of Sir Bevis of Hampton was published for children in 1846; Richard Jefferies young hero in the childrens classic Wood Magic (1881) and its sequel Bevis: The Story of a Boy (1882), is nicknamed Sir Bevis" as a small child ( Wood Magic, Ch. 1). Or did childrens literature really take off later in the seventeenth century, with James Janeways A Token for Children and Henry Jessey and Abraham Chears A Looking-Glass for Children (both of which appeared in 1672)? Some might prefer to point to Bunyans much-loved Pilgrims Progress (1678): the preface to Part II (1684), in which Christians wife Christiana and their four sons set out to follow in Christians footsteps, suggests that Bunyan had child readers in mind by now. He went on to write A Book for Boys and Girls (later entitled Divine Emblems) in 1686. But the legacy of instructional writing faded in the later Victorian period, while Britains strong nursery rhyme tradition proved to be an important influence on future nonsense writing, so might not the appearance of Tommy Thumbs Song Book in 1744 mark a better starting point? Most childrens literature researchers settle on the two sets of religious tracts published in 1672, for they set the tone for what Sylvia Kasey Marks describes as the first real burst" of writing for children and a grim, moralistic tone it was too. The difficulty here is that their legacy did fade. According to Marks herself, in 1839 this type of writing for children came full circle" (12) with the publication of Catherine Sinclairs Holiday House. Not everyone would agree with the placing of Holiday House at the end of that tradition; it can be put instead at the beginning of another. But at any rate it was clearly pivotal. For by now the whole concept of childhood was in flux. As one social historian has said, thanks to the "veritable explosion of information about this period of physiological and cognitive development in human beings [i.e., childhood]," the material used in the literary child figure was changing irrevocably, enabling it to function as "a central vehicle for expressing ideas about the self and its history" (Steedman 5). Like any new departure, this one "established itself by publicly annihilating its predecessors. This meant Victorian moralism generally, and the exemplary children of religious tracts in particular" (Keating 219). Different critics may choose different books to illustrate this "annihilation," but the appearance of fantasy probably dealt the fatal blow, with Lewis Carrolls Alice driving it home: here is a child character unlike any who had gone before, who had once, we are

told, "really frightened her old nurse by shouting suddenly in her ear, Nurse! Do lets pretend that Im a hungry hyaena, and youre a bone" ( Through the Looking Glass, 1871, Ch.1). It must be admitted, however, that this kind of thing gets much of its charge from its rebellion against the past. In other words, the voices of the earlier moralists were, in a sense, still being heard (see Bratton 208). As regards dating, there is also the commercial aspect. John Sutherland says that "It was not until the 1850s that a stable commercial infrastructure for childrens fiction was established." He would date the enterprise of childrens fiction, as an enterprise, from the setting up of magazines such as the RTSs Sunday at Home and the emergence of name novelists such as George E. Sargent whose Roland Leigh, The Story of a City Arab (1857) pioneered a string of similar chronicles of ragged but indomitably virtuous heroes. The 1850s also saw the emergence of Charlotte Maria Tucker (ALOE), the most gifted writer of childrens fiction to date. (122-23) This overlooks some earlier commercial successes, such as Mrs Sherwoods, but it is certainly true that sales of childrens books now became an important part of the publishers trade. From 1875 to 1885, for example, the average number of new adult fiction titles appearing each year was 429, while the figure for "juvenile works" was 470 (Keating 32). Interestingly (and substantiating my earlier point about adults reading childrens books), in 1894 the Publishers Circular announced that it would stop counting the juvenile titles separately, because "so-called juvenile works are nowadays so well written, that often they suit older readers quite as well as those for whom they are primarily intended" (qtd. in Keating 32). Finally, how do we categorise childrens literature? Can it really be called a genre, when it includes so many different types of writing for such a wide range of ages, from toddlers on the brink of comprehension to teenagers on the brink of adulthood? As the inside front-jacket blurb of the indispensable Oxford Companion to Childrens Literature , by Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard, puts it: The range of literature covered includes traditional narrative materials such as legends and romances;fairy tales; chapbooks; genres such as school stories, adventure stories, doll stories, and science fiction;ABC and other learning books; childrens magazines, comics and story papers; picture books; teenage novels; childrens hymns And so on. Animal stories, nonsense writing, poetry and plays are not even mentioned here, though well represented in the book itself. Hard as it is to define, childrens literature is now recognized as an important field of study, both in itself and for the insights it yields into literature as a whole as well as into the family life, society and thinking of any given period, and the minds of the many major authors influenced by it. On all counts, it is a fascinating and rewarding subject.

SOURCE: http://www.breitlinks.com/my_libmedia/children's_genres.htm CHILDRENS GENRE Typically, Children's books are classified by the following genre: Picture Books. Children's books that provide a "visual experience" - telling a story with pictures. There may or may not be text with the book. The content of the book, however, can be fully explained or illustrated with pictures. Note that picture books do not even need to tell stories - they might illustrate letters of the alphabet or numbers. A picture book may even tell a story entirely with illustrations. Many times, these books are published in a small size, something that children can actually hold in their small hands - these books are called hand-books. (Note that "hand-books" are not a genre, but are a format for a book.) There are fun books for young, non-reading children to play with. Often, they can tell the story based on the illustrations, pretending to "read" the book. Picture Story Books. Children's books that contain pictures or illustrations that complement the story, often mirroring the plot. Both the text and the illustrations are important to the development of the story. The pictures are the "eye-candy" that get people's attention, but the text is also needed to complete the story. In well-written picture books, the 2 work together in a seamless fashion. As we read and enjoy the book, we don't even think about which is more important, the illustrations or the text. Often, the pictures are what set the mood or allow us to anticipate what will happen next. Traditional Literature. Stories that are passed down from generation to generation, changing slowly over time are called traditional literature. In many ways, this is what makes them so fascinating they provide a link between the past and the future. The stories, while retaining much of their original flavor and content have to evolve in subtle ways to remain meaningful in different eras. Traditional literature is a great starting point to introduce children to the concept of a story and introduce them to different types of stories or genres. and We can further break traditional literature down as: Folktales. These feature common folks, such as peasants, and commonplace events. There maybe be some "make-believe" elements, like talking animals, but the stories, overall, sound logical even realistic. Folk tales seek to explain things about life, nature, or the human condition. Fairy Tales. Also called "magic stories," these are filled with dreamlike possibility. Fairy tales feature magical and enchanted forces. They always have a "happily ever after" ending, where good is rewarded and evil is punished. Fables. Short stories, in verse or prose, with an moral ending. These types of stories are credited Aesop (6th century BC), who told tales of animals and other inanimate objects that teach lessons about life. Legends. While based in history, these stories embellish the life of a real person. The facts and adventures of the person are exaggerated, making the individual famous for their deeds. Myths. Some stories have to be told as related tales to be meaningful. Myths portray themselves as representing a distant past. They contain common themes and characters, often "gods." Myths attempt

to explain the beginning of the world, natural phenomena, the relationships between the gods and humans, and the origins of civilization. Myths, like legends, are stories told as though they were true. Historical Fiction. These are stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Authors use historical fiction to create drama and interest based on real events in people's lives. The characters may be real, based on real people, or entirely made up. In many ways, these types of books can be more powerful teaching tools than nonfiction, especially for children. Often, historical fiction presents history from the point of view of young participants. There are few contemporary accounts of how children have experienced and participated in history - children's historical fiction attempts to help readers see how history affects people of the same age. When these books are written for young readers, they are called chapter books because they expand the concept of a story by presenting a tale in segments, each building on the last and leading to a final resolution (Note that "hand-books" are not a genre, but are a format for a book). Children's historical fiction features youth a playing an important, participatory role in history. Modern Fantasy. This broad genre is probably easier to define by example or by what it is NOT. The stories are contemporary or are nondescript as to when they occur. They are imaginative tales require young readers to accept elements and story lines that clearly cannot be true - readers must suspend disbelief. The stories may be based on animals that talk, elements of science fiction, supernatural or horror, or combinations of these elements. When written for young readers, these books are called chapter books - a format that breaks a story into sequential chapters that move towards a final resolution. "Charlottes Web," "Winnie the Pooh," "Alice in Wonderland", "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," and "The Wizard of Oz" are all examples of modern fantasy written for young readers up to 12 years old. Realistic Fiction. Books that are written for today's youths, representing contemporary times, based on real-world situations are called realistic fictions. Similar to historical fiction, except these stories are based on current events. They feature children as their main characters and often allow young readers to "experience" different settings, cultures, and situations than what is the norm for their lifestyle. Children's realistic fiction features main characters of approximately the age (or slightly older than) the book's intended audience. The books present a "real-world" problem or challenge and show how a young person solves that problem. By nature, children's realistic fiction is positive and upbeat, show young readers how they too can conquer their problems. When written for young readers (up to 12 years old), these books are called chapter books (a format, not a genre) Non-fiction or Informational Books. Books that are designed to help readers learn more about real things. They provide young readers information without the literary devises common to fiction. They can be a challenging genre for children because a given presentation about the real-world has to assume something about a reader's abilities, understanding or interests. The challenge is to match high interest topics with appropriate reading levels and background knowledge. For example, may children are interested in jets and rockets, but few are ready to read "rocket science." In schools, these books have traditionally been used for academic study and research projects. Today, more and more librarians are recognizing the value of ALL reading - both fiction and nonfiction. Perhaps the best way to reach out to "unmotivated readers" is to find a high-interest topic and a book that matches that young reader's abilities and understanding. Many reading specialists and librarians believe that we do not promote enough nonfiction to young readers. Studies tend to show that many children that are not interested in fiction will

become motivated readers if introduced to appropriate nonfiction - this is especially true of non-majority youth. Biography. A form of non-fiction that is based on the life of a person. Children enjoy reading stories about other people - biographies and form an effective "bridge" between storytelling and nonfiction - after all - everyone's life is a story! Because biographies are almost always published about notable people in notable fields, biographies are often used to introduce children to the concept of nonfiction. Biographies can also be extremely motivating - young children love to dream about what they will be when they grow up. The lives of famous, important people let children see how the process of growing up shapes the opportunities, choices, and challenges people face in life. Poetry and Drama. Poems and drama are important genres that introduce children to verse, prose, rhythm, rhyme, writing styles, literary devices, symbolism, analogies, and metaphors. From a librarian's point of view, they are important because the they are written at different reading levels so that a young reader's interests can be matched with text that is consistent with their abilities. This is especially important for "reluctant readers" that may read below their age group. The simple language used in some poems and drama can be appreciated by readers of varying abilities, providing a context to teach a variety of language arts skills.

SOURCE : Serafini, F. (2003, February). Informing our practice: Modernist, transactional, and critical perspectives on childrens literature and reading instruction. Reading Online, 6(6). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=serafini/index.html Informing Our Practice: Modernist, Transactional, and Critical Perspectives on Childrens Literature and Reading Instruction Childrens Literature in the Curriculum: Perspectives on Practice and Theory Reading instructional practices that involve childrens literature range from a basalized approach (Shannon & Goodman, 1994), in which literature is treated in the same manner as selections in a commercial anthology and instructional activities include scripted lessons, skills exercises, and predetermined-response questions, to childcentered approaches (Atwell, 1987), in which students and teachers select literature to read and to discuss in groups, and respond to the literature by drawing on the experiences they bring to the texts and the meanings they construct during reading (Serafini, 2001b). Shifting from a basal reading program that includes excerpted childrens literature to using authentic childrens literature in instruction may not, however, reflect an underlying shift in theoretical perspective. I would argue that just because a teacher may move to using childrens literature in the classroom, this does not mean that he or she is doing anything different than was done with the basal program. It is no longer enough to fill the classroom with high-quality books and read aloud one or two each day. Reading aloud and creating a literate environment are necessary but insufficient for implementing a literature-based approach to reading instruction. A shift in theoretical understandings needs to accompany this shift in instructional resources (Walmsley, 1992). The ways in which childrens literature is used in the elementary classroom are directly related to the teachers definition of reading, her beliefs about how meaning and knowledge are constructed, the role of the reader in the act of reading, and the context of the reading event (Levande, 1989). Preservice and in-service teachers need to understand not only reading instructional practices, but also the theories that inform and support those practices. Without a substantial change in elementary teachers theoretical perspectives concerning the roles that text, readers, and context play during the act of reading, there will be little or no change in the way that childrens literature is used in the curriculum. McGee (1992) suggests that in order for elementary teachers to implement a quality literature-based reading program and make a substantial shift in the way that childrens literature is used in the curriculum, they must first make a parallel shift in the theoretical perspectives they use to ground their practice. Without this parallel shift, teachers may simply change the materials they use to teach reading, relegating childrens literature to an instructional device in the service of higher test scores. In order to make a shift,

however, one must first understand what the theoretical perspectives are and how they influence classroom practice. Teacher educators and school administrators interested in incorporating literature in instructional frameworks are concerned that teachers may lack the appropriate preservice coursework and in-service professional development necessary for effective implementation of quality literature-based reading programs (Gardner, 1988). For instance, a university course in childrens literature, let alone a course in literary theory, is not a requirement for elementary teaching certification in most U.S. states (Hoewisch, 2000, online document). Limited experience with literary theory and childrens literature is problematic for two reasons:

First, without extensive understanding of literature and literary theory, teachers may reduce the role of childrens literature to that of an instructional device used to help children learn how to decode more effectively. Instead, literature can be used as a way of understanding the world, or appreciated as a work of art that has value in and of itself. Second, with todays conservative political educational agenda, teachers are often forced to adopt reading programs that tell them how to teach, regardless of their beliefs and understandings. Classroom teachers need to understand contemporary theories of reading and literacy development and be able to articulate their theoretical perspectives concerning childrens literature, the reading process, and their instructional practices, so they do not fall victim to the political pressures associated with standardized tests, state-mandated curricula, and commercial reading programs (Coles, 1998; McQuillan, 1998). As literacy educators, we need to be able to understand and discuss why we do what we do if we are going to create readers who can do more than decode texts accurately, read them aloud on demand, and score well on tests.

In this article, I suggest that many of the current instructional practices that use childrens literature in the elementary classroom derive from modernist theories of meaning, readers, texts, and contexts (Eagleton, 1996; Elkind, 1997), which do not reflect the transactional nature of reading (Rosenblatt, 1978) or perspectives from reader response (Beach, 1993) or various critical theories (Lewis, 2000; Luke & Freebody, 1997; Luke, OBrien, & Comber, 1994). Many contemporary reading instructional practices are therefore based on an outdated understanding of reading, the reader, and the role of the social context in the construction of meaning. In the following sections, I describe three theoretical perspectives associated with reading and literacy education -- modernist, transactional, and critical -- and provide examples of instructional practices that align with each. Although there are certainly distinctions that could be made within each perspective, I offer these three categories as a heuristic device to explain the various theoretical perspectives that affect reading instructional practices and the use of childrens literature in contemporary elementary classrooms. Helping teachers to become aware of the theories that underlie their practices is the focus of this article.

Theoretical Perspectives on Reading The modernist perspective is based on a belief that meaning resides in the text (Eagleton, 1996). Reading is conceptualized as an orchestrated set of transportable cognitive processes that individual readers acquire through formal instruction and use to uncover that meaning (Beach, 1993). Only the most competent of readers, usually university professors and literary scholars, can ever truly understand the pure essence of a text, but all readings can be measured against this one true meaning (Probst, 1992). In contrast, the transactional perspective is based on the belief that meaning is constructed in the transaction between a particular reader and a particular text (Rosenblatt, 1978). Readers bring their prior knowledge and experiences to bear on the reading event, and meaning is constructed during the transaction between reader and text. Both text and reader are vitally important. Reading is seen as the construction of meaning in the internal, cognitive space of the individual reader in transaction with a particular text. Finally, a critical perspective focuses on the ways that texts are constructed in social, political, and historical contexts, and on the ways in which these contexts position readers and texts and endorse particular interpretations (McKormick, 1994). Reading is seen as a social practice of constructing meaning that cannot be separated from the cultural, historical, and political context in which it occurs. Edelsky (1999) suggests that being critical means questioning against the frame of system, seeing individuals as always within systems, as perpetuating or resisting systems (p. 28). Each theoretical perspective supports a particular set of reading practices or pedagogies. These practices vary according to the amount of time allocated to reading instruction and reading of self-selected texts, the way that reading is defined, the epistemological assumptions about where knowledge is located and whether it is found or constructed, and the emphasis placed on the role of the text, the reader, and the context in the reading process. Regardless of whether teachers can explicitly articulate their theoretical perspectives, their beliefs play a dominant role in the resources they choose, the instructional practices they employ, and the environment they create in their classrooms. Transactional Theories and Practices From a transactional perspective, the reader plays a central role in the construction of meaning, drawing upon prior knowledge and experience to attend selectively to specific aspects of a text (Rosenblatt, 1978). Theorists who align with a transactional model reject the notion that meaning resides in the text (Wells, 1986) and instead focus on interpretive communities (Fish, 1980), the gaps that readers fill in during the reading event (Iser, 1978), the stances that a reader assumes while reading (Rosenblatt, 1978), and the ways that literature expands the readers understanding of the world (McClure & Zitlow, 1991).

According to Morrow and Gambrell (2000, online summary), meaning is a two-way process that resides in the transaction that occurs between the reader and text wherein the reader constructs a personal envisionment of meaning that is guided by the text (p. 565). This definition emphasizes the roles of the reader and the text, and views meaning as the result of the cognitive processes of an individual reader in transaction with a particular text. In this perspective, the focus is on a particular reader, transacting with a particular text in a particular context. All three components are included, although the focus seems to be on the transaction between reader and text and not on the context of the reading event, including the social, political, and cultural factors involved in the construction of meaning (Lewis, 2000). From the transactional perspective, childrens literature is seen as a way of knowing and is used to help children make connections to the world around them, become acquainted with the language of stories, learn about the characteristics of the natural and social world, and discover insights into their own personalities and identities (Short, 1999). It is the lived-through or aesthetic experience of reading literature, and the ways that literature develops identity and understanding, that become the primary focus. Short (1999) offers an approach to reading instruction, based on the work of linguist Michael Halliday, that aligns with a transactional perspective. In this approach, literature is used as vehicle for learning language, learning through language, and learning about language (Halliday, 1980). Learning experiences that highlight these three opportunities should be made available to students in their transactions with literature: Students need opportunities to learn language by reading extensively, to learn about language by reflecting on their reading strategies and literary knowledge, and to learn through language by using literature inquire about the world and their own lives. (Short, 1999, p. 132) The instructional practices that align with a transactional perspective generally involve whole class or small group discussions and workshops. The focus is on sharing individual interpretations within communities of readers to come to deeper understandings of a particular text. Various frameworks have been created by reading educators to support these interactions around texts, including book clubs (Raphael & McMahon, 1994), literature study groups (Peterson & Eeds, 1990), focus units (Moss, 1984), literary investigations and invested discussions (Serafini, 2001b), and lively discussions (Gambrell & Almasi, 1996). During these activities, the teacher supports the ongoing dialogue, entering into conversations with students and helping them reach more complex understandings about the text, their world, and their identity. The teacher becomes a member of the discussion group, supporting the conversation, not simply asking comprehension questions and evaluating responses. Although Rosenblatt (1978) is certainly concerned with the role of literature in a democratic state (Pradl, 1996), she often addresses the local contexts of the reading event rather than the larger role of social, political, cultural and historical contexts associated with a critical perspective (Lewis, 2000). The shift from a transactional to a

critical perspective is often associated with a shift from a focus on the local and particular to a focus on the larger contexts that influence the way texts are constructed, readers are positioned, and meanings are made available during the act of reading. Concluding Remarks Although childrens literature has emerged as an important resource in contemporary elementary reading curricula, its role can be conceptualized in different ways: as an add-on or treat available when children finish the exercises in the commercial workbook, a pedagogical balancing device, a way of knowing the world, or a space for critical conversations, used to explore the systems of power that affect the ways students are positioned as readers and the meanings available to them. A shift in the resources used in the classroom, from controlled texts to authentic childrens literature, must also include a parallel shift in the theoretical perspectives that support classroom instruction if significant changes in reading practices are to occur. Transactional theories of reading tend to focus on the cognitive processes of individual readers as they construct meaning in transaction with a text, whereas critical theoretical perspectives focus on social, political, historical, and cultural contexts and their ways of constructing readers and readings. What is common to both perspectives is the rejection of the concept that meaning resides in the text and is predetermined, waiting to be discovered by competent readers. These theoretical perspectives view the reader as an active constructor of meaning, not as a passive recipient of ready-made truths. Determining a texts main idea is no longer a viable pursuit in transactional and critical theories; instead, it is seen as identifying a sanctioned interpretation by an external authority rather than a truth hidden in the text. In both of these theoretical perspectives, reading is not a set of decontextualized cognitive skills that can be universally transmitted via commercial reading exercises. Rather, reading is a social practice that is constrained, mediated, and shaped by the social forces inherent in a particular community of readers. Meaning does not just generically arise in neutral contexts; it is grounded in the social, political, cultural, and historical contexts of the reading event. Readers are individuals in society, unable to escape from the contexts in which they live and read, but capable of rendering unique interpretations as they transact with particular texts at particular times. In order to make the shift from a modernist perspective to a transactional or critical perspective, teachers must begin to interrogate the theoretical assumptions that support their reading instructional practices. As literacy educators we should shift the focus from trying to find the right method for teaching children how to read, to determining whether the reading practices and experiences constructed in classrooms are addressing the broad repertoire of practices required in todays society. Because of this, reading education has to go beyond scientific considerations to include the social, political, and cultural dimensions, if our students are to become the kinds of readers we want in a democratic society.

SOURCE: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18042782/The-Value-of-Childrens-literature The Value of Childrens 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). Childrens literature however doesnt just stop at childrens 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. Childrens 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 childrens 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 childrens literature benefits in the development of childrens 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 childs academic development of the concept. Of course in enabling children to learn throughreading, childrens 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)

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