Why do teachers use literature in their classrooms? What does literature add to children's lives and to the curriculum? Why is literature important at all? Kathy Short answers these and other questions in this introductory book on how to integrate literature into your curriculum.
Reading real books adds to the process of understanding and learning. Of course, teachers have always included real books in their classrooms, but now they are making them integral to the curriculum; however well constructed, basal programs cannot provide the variety and choice of reading materials that meet the equally wide range of students' interests and needs. Stories that are worth reading and that extend children's experiences and enrich their minds also motivate them to making reading part of their lives.
Kathy outlines the four roles literature plays in the curriculum:
- Literature is a way to learn language; not just reading, but writing, too.
- Literature enhances learning in content areas: social studies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts.
- Literature is one pathway to knowing and understanding the world.
- Literature opens up an awareness of society and culture.
Because literature should be part of a curriculum that provides a meaningful engagement with language, she shows you how to use real books to give children opportunities to learn. You will enjoy her practical suggestions for implementing a variety of teaching strategies so that children have opportunities to learn about language through:
- independent reading;
- reading aloud;
- partner reading and sharing;
- readers' theatre and choral reading;
- author studies;
- literature circles.
And you will be able to develop important reading strategies through mini-lessons, conferences, and shared and guided reading.
As an example of a curricular framework, Kathy explains the authoring cycle, which uses inquiry to involve students deeply in a theme or topic. She concludes with a discussion of evaluation as part of the curriculum and offers specific examples of evaluation techniques and samples of the appropriate forms.
As in the other volumes in this series, there are Dialogues that invite you to reflect on your own teaching, Shoptalks that provide brief reviews of relevant professional literature, and Teacher-To-Teacher Field Notes: comments by classroom teachers on their own successful teaching ideas.