I am a bibliophile, I read a lot, I know that reading literature brings me great pleasure and I love to share my reading experience with others. I have always believed in the value of reading, sharing and promoting literature to children. Through the course of this subject I have learned so much more about the power and potential of narrative to improve students learning and reading experience. In module 1, we considered the shifting trends in children’s literature, reading practices and pedagogy. We reflected on the impact of digital technologies and the decline in reading. I learned that one in ten Australian children do not enjoy reading and only a minority of children read at home or read every day (A.B.S, 2012). In view of these statistics, I believe it falls on the teacher librarian to increase and facilitate children’s engagement in reading. TL’s are well placed to provide access to a diverse and appropriate range of children’s literature, in many formats (digital & print), to create opportunities for children to emotionally engage with narrative, to work with teachers to develop protracted and reflective reading practices (Zipes, 2009, p. 42) and to encourage literature appreciation.
In the forums, I have stated that it is important for TL’s to promote the VALUE of reading children’s literature (Wardlaw, 2014). Working through this subject I have come to appreciate the significance of this statement. Although I acknowledge that it is important for TL’s to support literacy and promote reading for pleasure, I now recognise that it is the TL’s role in promoting and facilitating literary learning that is most significant. It is the responsibility of the TL to make reading literature meaningful to teachers, curriculum leaders and students. TL’s are important advocates for embedding literature in curriculum and supporting a whole language approach (Church, 1994) to teaching and learning. Assignment 1 addressed the need to rationalise literature collections in school libraries. Working on this assignment, I discovered that the TL’s knowledge of a wide variety of literature, educational pedagogy and curriculum is vital to the development of fiction collections that not only engage readers but support teaching and learning outcomes. Such collections add significant value to student learning. Working on assignment 2 has consolidated my understanding of how the TL can effectively use these collections to diversify curriculum and support literary learning. TL’s collaborate with teachers to design & implement curriculum programs that use literature to build knowledge, promote critical thinking, and develop reading practices that support transliteracy (Gordon, 2011).
Personally, one of the highlights of this subject has been the focus on developing literature enhanced curriculums and developing literature units based on meaningful themes (Schlick, 2005). TL’s are well placed to promote the benefits and provide examples of this practice. As a library technician with little teaching experience, it has been extremely valuable to explore and discover teaching and learning strategies to support this practice. I have reconsidered the importance of reading aloud to children (Leland, Lewison & Harste, 2012) and become aware of two important ideas: independent reading and cooperative learning (Combes, 2014). I now recognise the benefits of students coming together to discuss literature and reflect on their reading. Incorporating book chat, reading circles or book clubs will be something that I will encourage and explore further in my teaching career.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Reading: The home and family context. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Reading:%20the%20home%20and%20family%20context~205
Church, S. (1994). Is whole language really warm and fuzzy? The Reading Teacher, 47, 362-370. Retrieved from http://homepage.eircom.net/~seaghan/articles/8.htm
Combes, B (2014). Teaching and Promotion Strategies for Using Literature. [ETL 402 Module 6.3]. Retrieved October 18, 2014 from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL402_201460_W_D/page/86e3d47c-bfab-4c68-801e-029ce5ebb841
Gordon, C. (2011). Lost in cyberspace?: Tracking the future of reading. School Library Monthly, 27(8), 50-54. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?sid=7eddd199-f428-4b07-ab4c-fdf3e4488d70%40sessionmgr4002&vid=0&hid=4207&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=lih&AN=60797086
Leland, C., Lewison, M., & Harste, J. (2012). Why reading aloud is crucial. In Teaching children’s literature: It’s critical! Retrieved form EBL Library.
Wardlaw, G. (2014, July 26). Post 4. [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL402_201460_W_D/page/5b6fcbed-6026-4233-8047-f2919d65b1aa
Zipes, J. (2009). Relentless progress: the reconfiguration of children’s literature, fairy tales, and storytelling. London: Routlage.