Where do I Start?: Discovering Resources on Using Children’s Literature

This semester students in READ 6325 explored professional resources on a variety of topics.

by Chris

Being an effective teacher means doing more than teaching.  A good teacher must have a strong knowledge base in children’s literature.  Additionally, good teachers need to keep up with effective current practices.  Below are several resources that can help.

The Single Most Important Activity

Since 1979 Jim Trelease has provided information on the ins and outs of reading aloud to children through his book: The Read-Aloud Handbook, now in its 6th edition.

Nearly half of this book is dedicated to the Treasury of Read-alouds which include a summary of the alphabetically arranged books in categories such as wordless picture books, picture books, or short novels.

His website offers a view of the Read-Aloud handbook and other topics such author profiles and censorship.  Additionally, Read-Aloud handouts for parents in both English and Spanish can be downloaded for FREE. 

The book can be ordered directly from his website for $16.00.  As an interesting footnote, this book has also been published in Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Indonesian.

Finding the Right Book

Prentice Hall publishes a book entitled: Children’s Literature: Engaging Teachers and Children in Good Books by Daniel L. Darigan, Michael O. Tunnell, and James S. Jacobs.  This is an excellent resource for finding the right book to incorporate literature across the curriculum.  This book has three main sections which discuss the reasons for reading, the various genres, and how to use literature in the classroom. 

The extensive middle section spans 328 pages which separates books by the following genres: picture books, poetry, traditional fantasy, contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, multicultural and international children’s books, informational books, and biographies.  Author interviews are also included in the chapters of this 583-page volume.  Also, each of the 15 chapters begins with suggestions for a particular topic of what to consider for read aloud and a text set.

The prices for this book on Amazon.com range from $10.00 up to $56.00.

Developing Professionally Through Journals

Children’s Literature in Education is a quarterly journal that publishes articles from all over the world.  The material ranges from infants up to young adults and the articles include topics such as how to approach reader-response with children and ideas on how to teach literature to children.  Varying genres are: prose, fiction, poetry, and picture books.  As an example, the current volume (43) for 2012 includes articles on the relationships between text and pictures as well as looking at seventh grade student responses for The Red Tree.    

Most articles from this journal, classified as open access, can be viewed and downloaded from the Springer website. 

The Lion and the Unicorn, published three times a year by Johns Hopkins University Press, not only includes book reviews and studies of books, but also articles on current developments in theory, media technology and mass communication, culture, and the state of the publishing industry.

Abstracts can be viewed online and the subscription price is $40.00 for individuals or $43.00 for the electronic version. 

Professional Organizations

The mission statement for Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) is “to encourage high standards of criticism, scholarship, research, and teaching in children’s literature.”  Members receive the ChLA Quarterly, Children’s Literature, ChLA Newletter, and reduced fees at the annual conference.  Belonging to this organization is a way of finding out the latest news and keeping up to date with current trends in children’s literature.

Recommended websites:

v  Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature (DAWL) – find books based on variety of options such as:  age of reader, ethnicity, genre, languages, publication year, author/illustrator/translator, format, historical period, multicultural, setting, awards, gender, keyword, or point of view  

Booklists put together by librarians from Monroe, IN.  Books are organized by special topics such as adolescence, adoption, divorce, dinosaurs, and adventure stories.  

Read, write, think has FREE materials on reading and language arts instruction such as organizing and summarizing, inquiry and analysis, writing and publishing prose, and writing poetry.

v  The website www.liketoread.com has ideas for teaching reading strategies based on Mosaic of Thought (a great textbook on foundations of reading).

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