Literature and Literacy/Elementary
CTC Standard 20: Instructional Leader
“Each candidate, through continuing personal involvement, demonstrates knowledge of traditional and contemporary literature for children and young adults. The candidate also demonstrates skill in individually and collaboratively preparing and implementing programs and activities which promote reading, listening, viewing and critical thinking skills for literacy and enjoyment of literature at all ages and stages of development.” (p.20)
In her indispensable book on reading,Proust and the Squid, Maryanne Wolf writes of “the lap of a beloved adult” (p.82), the warm and safe personal connection within which reading ideally develops. Many children no longer have this “perfect lap” available at home. Even as funds for elementary teacher librarians are cut, the importance of the resources the library can offer grows in education—not only access to books, but positive associations with literature achieved through engaging activities and a warm, welcoming environment. However, cheerfulness and fun do not alone make an effective educational experience. That also requires understanding of the elements of well–designed, developmentally appropriate programs and strong curricular knowledge, both abilities I have increased through SLIS and my field work.
One of the most valuable experiences I had in SLIS was Libr 263, Literature for Children. There are so many wonderful new illustrated works for younger children, both fiction and nonfiction, but what multi–tasking primary teacher has time to stay current with all of them? How wonderful for schools to have access to a professional devoted to that task—someone who can recommend the right book for a certain student, or supply the perfect literary accompaniment to a Social Studies lesson. As a visiting teacher librarian candidate I have used my work from Libr 263 extensively in making individual readers’ advisories. This was the bulk of the work I did in the elementary libraries. It was very enjoyable to be able to recommend a book outside of the endlessly requested few series with which many children are familiar, and next week receive a positive review. In the future as finances improve I hope to be able to assist our district library technicians in increasing book–based schoolwide activities such as ‘One School; One Book’, reading incentive programs, and thematic presentations.
- 1. Books for Elementary Readers
I was very happy that I had completed this assignment for a SLIS class. As it formed my acquaintance with current literature for younger children, I used it constantly for story time choices and recommendations. In the first half of my elementary posting, I was the only adult in the library when class groups visited. Most of my time was spent in assisting children one at a time to find a book they would enjoy for their book report which was at their correct reading level.
I enjoyed a read-aloud and presentation on Winnie the Pooh which I was able to do with a 3rd grade class. The technician took a phone video of me conducting this activity, but she has lost it. We compared a short Disney version of Winnie the Pooh to a chapter of Milne’s. Sample comments:“Disney is more cute” “Disney has better color” “the real animals look like the favorite stuffed animal—they always get dirty”. I was not able to convert the students to my opinion that the original was better, but I think they enjoyed arguing with me. We compared my slides to the Disney book and the Shepard illustrations, but for future use I will intersperse the other illustrations into my show.
Wolf, M. Proust and the squid (2007). New York, NY: Harper Perennial.