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This article is part of a series drawn from work in the Handbook of Reading Research: Volume III (Kamil, Mosenthal, Pearson, & Barr, 2000).
My reasoning for choosing this article is simple; I like to read to children and to tell them stories. I think we can make reading much more interesting if we get away from the Basal Readers and introduce children to all forms of literary works.
*Literature-Based Instruction: A Rationale
Definitions of literature-based instruction emphasize the use of high-quality literary works as the core instructional materials used to support literacy development A guiding principle of the literature-based perspective is that literacy acquisition occurs in a book-rich context where there is an abundance of purposeful communication and meaning is socially constructed. Literary works in such contexts include a wide range of materials: picture books, big books, predictable books, folk tales, fables, myths, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction informational books, and biographies.
*Reading to young children has always been the most common practice for implementing literature-based instruction in preschool and primary classrooms. Anecdotes and observations drawn from case studies of children who have been read to frequently have described behaviors associated with early literacy development These cases demonstrate that young children who have been read to frequently know how to handle books and can identify the front of a book, the print to be read, and the appropriate direction for reading the print.
How many times do we see older students with books that have not been taken care? How many times do we see young people sitting in a quiet spot just reading a book for enjoyment? If you could go back and check, you would probably find out that they were not read to as young children.
Reading stories is not a magical activity for literacy development; it is the quality of the interaction that occurs during reading that results in positive effects, rather than just the storybook reading itself. The article states “that storybook reading sessions in classrooms are often not of sufficient quality to engage students fully and to maximize literacy growth. Reading stories as an act in itself does not necessarily promote literacy; attitudes and interaction enhance the potential of the read-aloud event for promoting literacy development.
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I cannot tell you how much I agree with article. I am from the Dick and Jane age group and I for one can tell you that if it were not for my mother reading to me every night, I don’t think I every would have developed an enjoyment of reading.
Early Childhood and Elementary Literature-Based Instruction: Current Perspectives and Special Issues