Week 2

28 Jul

“Everyone knows what children’s literature is until asked to define it.” (Nodelman, 2008, p. 139)

There are many authors who have written great children’s literature books, some of which have made the world of literature change forever. Children’s literature are generally picture books that are written by adults for children. We consider them to include not only stories but sometimes songs, poetry and information designed to engage children in several ways. It is defined as a creative type of art that is a unique adaption of a novel because of its use of the plot, characterisation and motivation. (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010, p. 365-370). Children’s picture books are a great source of literature as they can mentally take us to all types of places, all around the world. Although, literature is not just reading, writing, speaking and listening – it carries on further than that through voices that are written, that can be read, that are listened to and that speak across culture, space and time. It can build a community and a shared imagination from school, the country or even the world.  (Winch et al, 2010, p. 460).

Children’s literature is vital for improvement in a child’s language development. As children grow, mental development happens at a rapid pace and when they begin to acquire language at a young age it is generally formed from adult exposure. From the beginning of this experience children’s literature can motivate and engage readers to form an early progressive literacy experience. As parents read and share books with their children they can offer variety, and create links with real-world contexts. All children should be encouraged to participate and value pictures as it can influence and enhance verbal and visual language.  For example, in A bus called heaven (Graham, 2011) it includes practical, age appropriate language and the chance for adults to communicate about what is happening in this story, therefore building verbal language skills.

Children’s literature can include all types of language features that are key elements for language development from making predictions to working on pronunciation or sound effects right down to life lessons, or teaching social skills. Repetition in picture books is also an excellent element in order for children to develop language skills. For example, in the book Koala Lou by Mem Fox the line “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” (Fox, 1988) is repeated on a number of occasions. As children become familiar with this line, they can jump in and say the line out loud in the appropriate spots. As an adult encourages young people to participate in reading a book, they can also help predict the next event.  Books written for children use relatively short sentences that are rich in vocabulary and with the engagement of an attentive adult they can easily notice what a child is drawing their attention to and build on it with conversation. (Dickinson, Grittith, Golinkoff, & Hirsh-Pasek, 2012).  Therefore, building interest and attention in book reading can enrich the children’s live and language development. All children should be exposed to literature throughout their lives as it is a key element for life’s experiences.


Dickinson, D., Grittith, J., Golinkoff, R. & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2012). How Reading Books Fosters Language Development around the World. Child Development Research, 1, 1-15. doi:10.1155/2012/602807

Fox, M. (1998). Koala Lou. Melbourne, Victoria: Ian Drakeford Publishing

Graham, B. (2011). A bus called heaven. London, England: Walker Books.

Nodelman, P. (2008). The Hidden Adult: Defining Children’s Literature. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.au/books?id=wKosfJZhUwQC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=%22Everyone+knows+what+children’s+literature+is+until+asked+to+define+it.&source=bl&ots=zugiw7pVQB&sig=KgySCOOJonz5f2TPzPy0OrsjCbE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MMn0UfKdK8erkwWu1oCQBA&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading,writing and children’s literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press


One Response to “Week 2”

  1. Sharon July 30, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Mikayla, your blog post is well-written and already begins to demonstrate your understanding of the key concepts of the unit. You have used evidence from scholarly texts to inform and support your definitions and your ideas about language development and children’s literature. In your next entry consider using images to add visual appeal to your blog. Well done on a solid first post.

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