Reflection: Literature across the curriculum

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As a Teacher-Librarian, literature and the impact of reading on learners and learning, has been a key focus of my practice. In the first forum post for Literature Across the Curriculum, students were asked why read? In response to this, some of the reasons I listed included:

“comprehension skills; meaning making; language mastery; motivation to learn; memory; engagement with language; understanding and making sense of the world; pleasure; and deep engagement.”

As a result of the learning throughout this subject, some of the other reasons I would add include: to live vicariously; to explore diverse topics and subsequent perspective; enjoy the pleasure of finding a mirror to oneself; to explore ones own nature, thoughts and feeling; to build social skills; and to seek information.

The course work for Literature Across the Curriculum has broadened my understanding of the value of literature in education beyond the English classroom. The requirement to produce a unit of work that used literature to teach one of the cross curriculum priority areas was one of the challenges that contributed to this learning. The ideas generated for this unit of work have already been shared with teachers in my school and there is much enthusiasm for a fiction unit such as this to be incorporated into our curriculum mapping. The course has also led to professional growth by expanding my knowledge of the special role teacher-librarians play to ensure stories are a part of the lives and learning of the young people and to develop readers who choose to read. The readings about the necessity of enabling adults to match the right book to the right child highlighted the need for teacher-librarians to have knowledge of both books and children’s biopsychosocial development. This was a pertinent reminder for those of us in Queensland secondary schools that have Year 7 joining our communities this year.

Exploring the connections between the digital environment and the world of books was a learning outcome of Module 4 entitled Literature and the digital experience. The trends in this area mean that the professional practice of a teacher-librarian in the twenty-first century requires understanding eBooks, hypertext fiction, book apps and stories in multi-media formats. It also necessitates considering if/how these can be incorporated into library collections and pedagogy. Furthermore, it impacts our understanding of literacy, which is changing to incorporate new ways of reading. My own explorations during this module led me to discover the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and publish an article about these on my libraries website (http://mta-icentre.mta.qld.edu.au/). One key statement that I take away from the course is that in the digital age, the ability to read remains the key to successful participation in society.

As the subject draws to a close, the challenges and opportunities afforded have been many and have already started to impact my working life. In particular, I believe these understandings need to be translated to my professional practices as a teacher-librarian to build literacy and inspire a love of reading.

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