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Children's Literature - Assignment 2

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Blair Russell

on 20 October 2013

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Transcript of Children's Literature - Assignment 2

The text chosen from Module 2 is ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ by Author Nick Bland (2008).
The text demonstrates ‘Critical Literacy’ because it allows the students to consider the different perspectives of each of the characters. It appeals to the young children and shows students important real life long skills and values. It influences ‘Getting Along’ and ‘Friendship’ skills. It also encourages the students to display respect; listen to each other’s problems and consider their friends feelings. This story teaches young children to think about their actions and the way they treat others.

The author’s use of language, imagery, style and structure of this text works well to convey meaning. Blabey chooses words and arranges them in a style that is not what is said, but how it is said. He helps the reader imagine how something looks, smells, sounds and feels. The length of the descriptive sentences fit the characters, with boisterous Pearl’s sentences often being longer, and shy Charlie’s shorter. The vocabulary using the visuals distinguishes and points out the differences and opposites in their world.

The visual elements of the story are the illustrations are drawn in cartoon. The colours are used to encode mood and theme such as using hot colours red, brown and yellow for excitement. Texture is provided in the 3D illustrations, the animals’ appearance (fur, wool and stripes) and emphasises the different environments. Line is the element used to represent the rain: thick lines for heavy rain and bold lines for stripes.
Children's Literature

Assignment 2
Blair Russell

Visual Literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, decode, make meaning and think critically from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy includes the ability to create and communicate a diversity of images. Visual language comprises colour, line, texture, shape and form which all help to express and convey the actions, roles and relationships of characters and highlights personal circumstances. Visual literacy is “More than the ability to decode images – it is the ability to analyse the power of the image and the how of its meaning in its particular content” (Johnston, cited in Winch et al, 2010, p. 620).
The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (2011) identifies language as a key strand in English in which “Students will gain a consistent way of understanding and talking about language, language-in-use and language-as-system” so they can reflect on their own work and others. According to Winch et al., (2010) exposure to children’s literature at a young age and the repetitive use of words, rhyme and visual information work together to significantly influence language development.

The language features that enhance this text are the rhyme, alliteration and repetitiveness which encourage the children to join in. The short and simple sentences engage children. The words, “In the Jingle, Jangle, Jungle, on a cold and rainy day” invite the children into reading along with the teacher or even singing it since it gives a song tone and melody.
There are many ways to use this text in the classroom. A significant way in which this type of text can be put into practice would be to create a visual display. Students will be read the story without the pictures being shown. Children will be asked to make a prediction about what they think the story will be about. After the text has been read student will be asked more questions such as: How did the bear feel? What other features do the animals have? The questions will show their prior knowledge about what these animals look like. The final question ‘What did the bear look like after being given all the gifts will be the basis of the activity. The children will be explained the activity. It will be important that the children listen carefully when reading the book for the second time. A template of a bear will be given to the students for them to draw what they think the bear will look like with all his added features. Once the drawings are complete, they will be asked to draw a facial expression on the bear this would connect to how it makes them feel. Children will be read the story again, this time they will view the illustrations. In small groups students will share their descriptive drawings and compare and contrast them. To complete the activity the children will need add in the extra details, such as the environment – the cave and the other animals.
From Module 3 the text chosen is ‘Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley’ by Author Aaron Blabey. Critical Literacy is demonstrated in the text as it tells readers, that it’s okay to be yourself, however you are–and that it’s okay for others to be different from you. The themes explored in this text are feelings, friendship, empathy, opposites and personal traits. Can two people be friends if they’re very different? Their differences make them seem like opposites, yet these opposites complement each other, and allow them to be there for each other. It teaches children that even though they may have differences with other people they may end up been their best friend. Children will learn to accept people for the way that they are and not try to change them. It’s a fantastic book for showing that girls can be strong and brave, and for reversing gender stereotypes.

Blabey uses acrylic-and-mixed-media to create illustrations that are cheerful and cartoon-like. These visual elements have the feeling of a young child drawing them (yet in a more sophisticated way), with a single line for a smile or mouth, and an almost doll-like appearance to the characters. The characters really stand out in Blabey’s illustrations, and are meant to; the characters are drawn on colour-tinged grey backgrounds, so they pop to the forefront, with no distracting background. The coloured backgrounds alternate on many pages. Some setting details are brought into individual illustrations to illustrate the story.
At the beginning of the lesson students will be asked to look carefully at the front cover, illustrations, title or setting and make predictions. What do you think the book will be about? Who are the characters? Describe what they are wearing and how do you think the characters are feeling and thinking? After the story has been read and the important themes have been discussed including opposites, personal traits, friendship, feelings and empathy students will be asked to make their own connections and participate in a language activity. A friendship tree-by writing the word friendship in the trunk of a tree and adding words to branches/leaves. Students will be asked to think and brainstorm things they do with your friends such as playing, laughing, acting, climbing, skipping and dressing up. They will add these doing/action words (verbs) to the friendship tree. To complete the tree they will draw their friends and themselves around the trunk of the tree. During reflection students will continue with word study and word work such as base words- past, present and future tense words. For example is they had written they like walking the dog with their friend the teacher would ask them what were the going to do (future), what were they doing (walking-present) and what they had done (walked). This discussion surrounding literature helps students build vocabulary.

Model 4’s chosen text is the novel ‘The Red Wind’ by well-loved author Isobelle Carmody. The author incorporates critical literacy skills through her views, beliefs, world views, values and oral expression and is demonstrated when the brothers have to fight for their own survival. This is through problem solving where they find bravery and courage they didn’t realise they had. When reading students will learn the life skill of how to fight for their own survival in the future.
Accompanying the story are charming illustrations full of atmosphere and expression and Isobelle Carmody drew these illustrations herself. The visuals show some important aspects of the novel whish works to lure the reader in even more. The illustrations are only in black and white but this emphasis the story even more. The pictures are also essential to the storyline because they give the reader a feeling that they know something the characters didn't.
The Language features which are clear in the story are the mysterious and magical words that are used. There are words used in there that some students would struggle to pronounce and this then makes the students motivated to learn them and be able to pronounce them when reading. This story can be used to help students how to learn to write a creative or a fantasy piece. They will be able to grasp the concept of how to structure a piece of writing.
It is widely acknowledged (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljundahl & Holliday, 2010, Campbell & Green, 2006) that ‘Critical literacy’ is the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner to better understand and value emotions - happiness, loneliness and sadness, and actions - power, inequality and injustice in which the text portrays. Johnston (cited in Winch et al., 2010) suggests that “Children need critical literacy not simply to analyse texts but as a life skill” (p.534). Students need to understand the power of the text, determine where the language is positioning them as readers, thinkers, questioners and listeners and ask how the text makes them feel and why.
Exploring and responding to the literature will provide the platform for the critical literacy task. Students as a whole class will be asked a variety of open ended questions to engage in and promote critical literacy. The open ended questions will prompt students to identify, explain and challenge their higher order thinking. Students will examine the language used including text structure and cohesion. This narrative has a long orientation and complication, and then a small resolution followed by another complication. Students will be asked ‘Why do you think the author structured the text in this way? How does each section engage the reader? In small groups students will use De Bono’s six thinking hats; white - facts, green- creativity, red-feelings, black-negatives, blue- thinking process, and yellow-positives, to frame questions that can be answered by others. Some questions could be Black- What are the disadvantages or negative aspects of the issue? Red- What would your position have been with this problem? Blue- What questions would you ask the author? Yellow- How has the story influenced you? White- What were the three most important events?
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