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ESH151 AT 2 Assessment

Children's Literature

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of ESH151 AT 2 Assessment

Aim: To identify the language features, visual elements and critical literacy features of three quality children's books. For each of these books share a strategy to teach in your learning environment.
Quality children's literacy

By Nick Bland
The very cranky bear (Bland, 2008) is a visually appealing story told with rhythm and rhyme. The rhythm and rhyme throughout the story helps children anticipate text and predict story lines (Winch, Johnson, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2010). ‘On a cold and rainy day four friends had nowhere warm to play’ is an example of rhyme throughout the story (Bland, 2008, p. 6). Evident also throughout this story is the use of alliteration and bouncy rhythm, ‘Jingle Jangle Jungle’ and ‘a perfect place to play’ (Bland, 2008, p. 1). Bland has put much emphasis on building up the frustration and tiredness of the bear in the choice of language and use of text.
Bland states that through illustrations he can carry information which he cannot fit into the verses. For example, the bear’s face when he emerges from the cave in his costume and the game of cards the other animals play is never mentioned in words (Scholastic, 2008). The red background on the cover compliments the title The very cranky bear, by suggesting fear, anger and alarm which are all forms of emotion. The captivating close-ups of facial expressions and gestures, highlights feelings and moods of the characters, as well as exposing their personality.
The message that The very cranky bear portrays, is a good example of social groups and peer pressure. It demonstrates that just because a majority believe addressing an issue in a certain way is correct it may not be the case. In the case of Sheep he demonstrates that it is ok to stand back and observe before coming to a final decision. It's ok to be different and have individual thoughts. Sheep ‘waits and watches, and listens to bear, then she offers a solution that really fits the problem, and everyone is happy’ (Scholastic, 2008, p. 2). The very cranky bear identifies how if someone needs help you should try. When considering the needs of others, we need to look beyond what we think would help and take on the needs of others.
In the learning environment for grade one, I would use The very cranky bear to identify language use. According to Australian curriculum it states that students should ‘discuss how authors create characters using language and images (ACELT1581) (ACARA, 2012). Using direct instruction which will allow for discussion as a group, we would explore emotions which will be written on the board. Students would be asked to identify different emotions and explain how they make them feel. During the story we will identify the characters emotions and how through the use of language they are portrayed. The students will independently draw a picture of a character from the book displaying any emotion from the list on the board. Through this activity, students will learn how particular words and images express qualities of characters.
Youtube link
‘Fred stays with me is written in such simplistic language’ (Coffelt, 2007). It is written in first person, through the eyes of the little girl. You can feel the loyalty between the little girl and Fred and how with Fred beside her things seem ok. This style of writing makes it almost feel personal, you instantly grow an attachment to the girl. The letter at the beginning of each new sentence is bold which makes you automatically enhance that work, giving more meaning to the sentence. The sentences are short and simple, and contain verbs etherizing her actions and feelings. The story is written very matter of fact by the way she points out she still attends the same school and has the same friends.
I found the illustration on the first page to be powerful, the parents walking in different directions, clearly embarking upon separate lives. Johnston cited that visual literacy is ‘more than the ability to decode images, it is the ability to analyse the power of the image and how of its meaning in its particular context’ (Winch et al., 2010, p. 620). Fred stays with me has us reading the story from the girls perspective, through the illustrations which are purposefully minimal to allow the reader to comprehend the simple pictures and text themselves. To highlight the limited dialogue the drawings throughout the book are drawn in muted colours, golden brown, peach and saffron.
It is amazing that a short picture book which is written so simplistically can address the area of divorce and separation so beautifully. This book opens up so many areas of discussion with students for divorce, separation, traditional and non-traditional families, dogs, friendships just to name a few. The constancy of Fred as a friend to the little girl is clearly crucial to her happiness. Fred stays with me addresses conflict resolution with the parents getting angry with Fred, but working out an arrangement as they identify the importance of the dog in their daughter’s life. This story also addresses that not every part of your life changes through divorce and separation some things will remain the same. This may provide comfort to some students reading the story experiencing the same thing.
In the learning environment for grade 2, I would use Fred stays with me to teach responding to literature. Students will demonstrate their comprehension of the text through discussion and written responses. I have chosen to teach this by direct instruction as the learning outcome is based on knowledge, attitude and values. After reading the book, as a group we will discuss ways the little girl coped with the situation of divorce or separation and the impact Fred had on her and how he made her feel. The students will then independently write a paragraph and explain why ‘it helps to have a friend like Fred’. Students will be asked to share their responses with the class. Through the reflection of verbal responses and the written work, the teacher will be able to gauge the student’s comprehension of the task.
Fred Stays with Me!
By Nancy Coffelt & Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
By John Marsden & Illustrated by Shaun Tan
The rabbits, introduces a strong statement about British colonisation of Australia. The front cover imagine, portrays a sense of looming invasion as the rabbits are leaning forward as though they are going to charge. As stated in the book ‘some of them were friendly’ and ‘we liked some of their food’ suggests that the aboriginals didn’t think the British were altogether bad (Marsden, 1998). The story indicates that the British believed that they could offer a better life for the aboriginal children, but the aboriginals were not as sure as they indicated ‘and they stole our children’ (Marsden, 1998).
In the learning environment for year 5, I would use The rabbits, to ‘make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1800), (ACARA, 2012). Through direct instruction and group work, the students would independently read the book, as a group the book would be discussed. Students would be split into groups of 2-3 and given a page of the book to analyse. The students would have to answer specific questions about the text and illustration relating to the page they were given and when completed present their findings to the class. This task will create comprehension of the text and also an introduction to Australian history.
The visual elements in The rabbits represents a style which is symbolic, with the Europeans being the rabbits and the Aboriginal’s as the possums. The illustrator has positioned the reader to see the story through the Aboriginal’s eyes which is highlighted through the use of colour, framing and angles. At the beginning of the book the colours are bright and vibrant but as we move through the story the illustrations are lacking colour and looking brown and desolate, ,are surrounded by black which combined with the text ‘who will save us from the rabbits’ demonstrates the fear of the unknown.
The language features of The rabbits are rhetorical questions, personal voice, adjectives and phrases. Throughout the text, personal language is used which makes the story believable. Due to the wonderful images, The rabbits, does not contain a great deal of text which I believe helps the reader gain an understanding of the sense of confusion felt by the aboriginals while they watched the rabbits destroy their home. I also feel confusion is evident by the text, as the majority of text is in capitals, but every now and then there is a lower case letter in the middle of the word. On the final three pages of this sparse text, rhetorical questions are asked, for example, ‘Where is the rich, dark earth, brown and moist? Who will save us from the rabbits?’ (Marsden, 1998). These types of questions can highlight the overall message the author is trying to translate. The author uses the word ‘our’ respectively throughout the story emphasizing invasion, while building compassion for the aboriginals and what they represent.
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