Basic Strategies For Developing Literacy Education Essay

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According to Sampson, Sampson and Turner (1995) 'reading aloud and telling stories to students are basic strategies for developing literacy' (p. 87). Hill (2006) also supports this statement as she believes that 'storytelling helps develop language and literacy skills, expands children's vocabulary and comprehension skills, and helps them become more active listeners' (p. 105). However, when reading picture story books to the class, teachers need to employ effective strategies since "the way books are shared with children matters" (McGee & Schickedanz, cited in Kindle 2009). It is these techniques which help encourage vocabulary acquisition in the primary grades. Brinson (2003) says that picture story books are written 'with a particular audience or age group in mind' (PAGE ) however, it is up to the teacher to select a book which is appropriate in his/her classroom. This literature review will focus on previous research related to what makes a good picture story book and what strategies teachers can employ when reading them in order to develop children's literacy skills.

Picture story books in particular are what draw students to enjoy reading because this is the first text they are introduced to in their education. Consistent with this, Hurst (1997) believes that teacher's 'cannot afford to make that introduction with mediocre or poorly conceived books' and it is up to them to 'make their choices carefully' (net para). Hill (2006) states that 'picture story books provide an aesthetic adventure, combining both visual and language experiences.' Like Hill, Hurst is also in agreement that picture story books play an integral part of developing a child's literacy skills. Hurst (1997) has said that from her teaching experience it is evident to her that picture story books are a 'wonderful combination of visual and textual story that offer valuable literacy experience' (net para). Hall (2002) strongly supports the use of picture books to develop a child's literacy skills as she has said 'teachers should not underestimate this astonishingly versatile resource to enhance student reading and writing skills.'(p. 8).

According to Hall (2002), 'picture story books were deliberately chosen to illustrate literacy devices.'(p. 10). In Hall's opinion (2002), a good picture story book is roughly equal in text and art. Hall (2002) defines the content of a good picture story book as having 'a recognizable beginning that sets up a problem to be resolved, a middle that describes a means to the end, and a conclusion that resolves the problem'(p.11). According to Hill (2006) a good picture story book is determined by specific factors such as theme, characters, setting, plot, point of view and illustrations. Picture story book writer Mem Fox (2001) believes that when a teacher has chosen a good picture story book, it will be reflected upon the children's responses. Mem Fox (2001) would expect that children would ask to have the book read to them again if they really enjoyed it and this would indicate to the teacher that the picture story book chosen was a wise selection.

Biemiller & Boote; Bravo, Hiebert & Peasron believe that reading aloud a picture story book to a child provides a powerful context for word learning (2006;2007 as cited in Kindle 2009). Sampson, Sampson and Turner (1995) believe that reading aloud to students increases their listening vocabulary. They argue that 'no part of the literacy education is more important than this because students must recognise words by ear before they can recognise them by sight.'(p. 90). Klesius & Griffith (as cited in Morrison & Wlodarczyk, 2009) have found in their research that reading aloud has the 'potential to increase motivation to want to read while building the knowledge necessary for the successful acquisition of reading and writing'(p. 111). These statements are supported by research conducted by Kindle (2009) who concluded 'the read-aloud context has proven to be an effective vehicle for developing a children's literacy skills' (p. 210). According to Kindle (2009) teachers have a responsibility to choose strategies when reading aloud that will facilitate the development of literacy. However, Mem Fox (2001) suggests that 'there's no exact right way of reading aloud, other than to try to be as expressive as possible'.

'High quality read-alouds are characterized by adult mediation.'(Roberts, as cited in Kindle, 2009, p.203). For a read aloud to be effective, teachers should 'weave in questions and comments as they read' as this will create a conversation between the teacher, the student and the text. (Roberts, as cited in Kindle, p.203). To facilitate word learning, 'teachers employ a variety of strategies such as elaboration of student responses, naming, questioning and labelling.'(Roberts, as cited in Kindle, p.203). These strategies are also classified as instructional strategies. According to Kindle (2009) questioning is the most frequently used strategy. Questioning during a read aloud is used to 'assess student's existing knowledge and to determine whether students have effectively used context cues.'(p.206). In Kindle's research (2009), she found that labelling is most often used with picture story book read alouds. This involves the teacher naming an unfamiliar item, pointing to it in the illustration so the children can see the connection between the word and the picture (Kindle, 2009). It is suggested however from Kindle's research (2009) that read-alouds require planning in advance. Kindle further suggests that 'teachers should select target words in advance and plan instructional support based on those particular words.' (p. 209).

Although many researchers and children literature experts support reading aloud as being an effective tool to develop literacy skills, there is controversy against reading aloud. In Rees's opinion (1976), reading aloud is described as 'a largely mechanical activity' (p.16) since words are seen by the eyes and spoken through the mouth, 'with no real understanding in between.'(p. 16). Rees (1976) also argues that the teacher is 'allowed neither time nor opportunity to form ideas when reading aloud' and that the students are 'unwittingly led to concentrate on individual words and simultaneously utter them'-causing them to neglect and 'grasp the fuller meaning of words.'

On the other hand…. The good thing about pic books and reading aloud it can be used in a variety of context. It does nt need to be restriced to childhood education. Parents can also get involved and development can occur at home. Even for those non speaking parents, can purchase cassette thing.

Despite the controversy, there is more literature to support the argument that reading aloud is a good technique to use when reading picture story books students.

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