Teaching Children’s Literature Can Pleasure Be Taught? 10/1
Reading as a Multifaceted Activity • Not linear as decoding, but more as a complex interactive process resulting from interactive variables that operate simultaneously rather than sequentially (McLaughlin, 1987: 59). • Learn to read v.s. Read to learn • Strategies the readers use to decode and link what they know to a book aremaking connections, predicting, questioning, and painting mental pictures.
Schemata • The cognitive psychologist Ulric Neisser, “Not only reading, but also listening, feeling, and looking are skillful activities that occur over time. All of them depend upon pre-existing structures…called schemata, which direct perceptual activity and are modified as it occurs” (14). • Schemata are • anticipations • the medium by which the past affects the future • information already acquired determines what will be picked up next. • Therefore, “[o]ur previous experience of literature provides schemata that determine our response to the new texts we encounter.”
Exploration • Reflect on your own learning experience. Did you learn literary strategies that help you to enjoy literature by yourself? • What are literary strategies? How did you learn the strategies, consciously or unconsciously? Are you aware of having been taught them? If so, when and by whom?
Genres Realism Fiction Fantasy Traditional Literature Poetry Format Toy books Board books Wordless picture books Picture books Illustrated books Junior novels Folktales: Fast-moving stories of magic involve flat characters. Fairy tales belongs to this category. Fables: Stories, usually about animals, teach a moral lesson. Myths: Longer stories that explain how the universe and its contents came into being, focusing on god, ancient heroes, ancestors and natural phenomena. Types Children’s Literature
Questions to start with • What are fairy tales? Stories about fairies? Actually no, but the unbelievable presence of magic, the supernatural. • Why do we accept such ridiculously unreal situation? Because “unreal” ≠ ”untrue.” Also, a fantasy situation add spices in life. • Who created these fairy tales? Fairy tales, which weren’t originally written to be questioned or criticized as it is today, were stories told in families merely for entertainment.
Talking point If you had children, what would worry you most about the fairy tales they read? Violence Poverty Evil Cruelty Sexism Suitable for Little Ears?
Analyzing Fairy Tales as Types • Strong oral tradition—identified as types • similar plots but could be told in different ways. • Analyzing the elements of literature • Character, plot, theme, setting, point of view, style, tone • Approaches to Literary Criticism • Text-focused Approach • Context-focused Approach • Response-focus Approach • The wide range of response • The value of response activities • The teacher’s role in response
Ingredients of a true fairy tale • The call for everyone who hears or reads them, call to an adventure of the imagination. • Magic spells, enchantments and the supernatural are all vital elements. • Honesty, devotion and the keeping of a promise are always rewarded. • True love features, whether between prince and princess, parent and child or brother and sister. • There is always a battle between good and evil, and good ultimately wins. • There is always help, an extra inspiration of cleverness, a helpful friend, a dream that hints at the answer, a fairy godmother, a lucky chance.
The Development of Fairy Tales • Perrault’s Versions • The Grimm Versions • Fairy tales after Grimm • Literary Fairy Tales: • Hans Christian Andersen, George MacDonald, Oscar Wilde • Liberated Fairy Tales: • Robert Munsch, Richard A. Gardner
Characteristics • Setting Once Upon A Time • Reality v.s. Fantasy: A mix of real time and fantasy • Express nostalgia for a simper past time • Characters • A king with or without a queen • A prince and princess, who usually fall in love and marry • A wicked stepmother, who is always cruel and evil in contrast to the natural mother • Country people, such as woodcutters and millers • Talking Animals • Supernatural powers, including witches, fairies, ogres • Plot • Sequence of events • The arrangement of ending “They live happily ever after.” • Snow White
Top 10 Reasons for adults to read children’s literature 10. To provide a way to look back at childhood. 9. To find out how adults view (and try to influence) children. 8. To remind us of the value of a good story, regardless of the age of the reader. 7. For professional knowledge and development. 6. For ethical reasons; because children's books are more positive than adult books. 5. For aesthetic reasons; to remember (or appreciate) what is beautiful. 4. Because children's books are objects of love for both children and adults. 3. Because children's books are as good or better than adult literature. 2. Because children's literature is an essential part of the common culture, and the source of images and references by which we make sense of the world. 1. Why not?
Extended Reading The Uses of Enchantment The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales The Witch Must Die: How Fairy Tales Shape Our Lives Boys and Girls FOREVER: Children’s Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter
"It often seems that the most gifted authors of books for children are not like other writers: instead, in some essential way, they are children themselves. There may be outward signs of this condition: these people may prefer the company of girls and boys to that of adults; they read children's books and play children's games and like to dress up and pretend to be someone else. They are impulsive, dreamy, imaginative, unpredictable.“ — from the Forward ofBoys and Girls Forever: Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter (Lurie, 2003)
The Uses of Enchantment • Books of the Century by New York Public Library • May 20, 1995 ~ July 13, 1996 • To celebrate its 100th • A list of 159 books under 11 categories • The Uses of Enchantment is listed under Mind and Spirit
Assignment: Mini Research • Exploration on pp 322. Read feminist fairy tales • Exploration on pp 320. Choose one fairy tale and read several different versions