Our last blog post! Wow, time really does fly. I have seen this format before on ESPN, and I have always thought that it is a pretty cool thing to do, so the fact that we are doing it for a class is pretty neat!
Here are six things you should know about children’s literature:
#1: It can touch on a variety of different topics.
If I absolutely HAD to sum up the basic plot behind every book that I read this semester, I seriously and simply could not. Literature is an extremely diverse aspect of our wold, and honestly children’s literature is no different. I read books this semester that touch on serious social issues, some that encourage the readers to stand up for themselves, and some that were strictly on different kinds of pasta…nothing else, just pasta. With that kind of diversity, how can we expect to find good reads for our classroom? It’s simple, we cannot stop reading after this class. We need to continue to explore the millions of topics that are included in children’s literature, and find the right book for every situation. Should be easy…right?
#2: Some books are silly, some are quite serious.
I probably cannot count on ten hands the amount of “silly” books that I read this semester, and to be quite honest, I loved just about every single one of them. It’s something about reading child like humor that just takes you back to when you were a child yourself. It’s very nostalgic. On the other hand, I read books this semester that were quite serious, and dealt with some real world issues, that in my opinion may be too advanced for children. There are books, though, that touch on issues such as racism and different kinds of people. These books were fantastic! The earlier we can teach our students about the rights and wrongs regarding race and gender, the better our society will become.
#3: It can teach readers various life lessons.
There are certain things that I know now, that I wish I knew as an elementary student. I firmly believe that a lot of students may feel that some lessons are just too complicated for students to know, and to an extent, I agree. However, there are some life lessons that can be taught through children’s literature. For example, many books touch on lying, stealing, cheating, etc. These are lessons that need to be taught from day one on. Too many children think it is just fine to lie to one another, steal others’ belongings, and cheat in numerous activities. There are many books out there that reinforce the fact that these things are wrong, and as teachers we also need to reinforce these lessons as well.
#4: It’s not just for children.
Wow, I was surprised by this, and not surprised at the same time…if that makes sense? I definitely expected there to be some adult humor and knowledge embedded in children’s literature, but I didn’t expect there to be so much! So many books I read this year were chalk full of adult jokes, and nods to grown up culture. Some even in books that I loved growing up! It was extremely fun to go through some of my favorites, and finding lines that flew way over my head when I was a kid.
#5: It is a tremendous classroom tool.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, children’s literature is chalk full of life lessons that are just waiting to be taught to students, so naturally I believe that these lessons need to be located in our classroom! I honestly doesn’t matter if you teach language, art, math, P.E.,or anything. Literature is an excellent tool to have. You can most definitely find books that fit your content area, and you can also utilize them to teach your students valuable lessons. If you are a teacher, or would like to be one, I cannot stress this enough: start collecting books now!
#6: It’s value goes way beyond the classroom.
This last “thing” on my list came from deep within my heart, truthfully, because it makes me think of my mom! She is a fantastic reading teacher, and has been for a long time. I simply have to credit her for any reading, and writing skill that I possess today. She taught me from the very beginning to value reading and writing, and to use it as a tool as much as I can. We can do the same for our children and our students. Sometimes all it takes is providing them with a book, or helping them with a word. These simple actions could spark something truly special, we just need to give them the opportunity to. If we simply give them the opportunity to read, they will surely understand the value of it, and how it can change their lives!