April 5

Matching Developmental Stages to Children’s Literature

In helping children with selections, can you explain why age alone is an inadequate guide? How does knowledge about a psychosocial perspective of development help an adult in advising book selection for a particular child?

On its own, age is not an adequate guide to help children with selections because children bring their whole selves to a reading experience. Physical, cognitive, social and cultural influences have an impact on children’s development, and these influences may be stronger, or weaker, or non-existent, or balanced, for any given child at any given time (Travers & Travers, 2008, p. 9).

The biological, psychological and social development of a child will influence their interests and potential for engaging with a story (2008, p. 13). The adult can consider the child’s developmental level to match with the child an appropriate book.

Can you give specific examples of the match between goodness-of-fit and appropriate literature?

Goodness-of-fit refers to the match between developmental level and appropriate literature (2008, p. 9). Last year I read A Song Only I Can Hear by Barry Jonsberg (2018).

Throughout the story, the main character is developing his identity, so this text would have goodness-of-fit with a child entering Erikson’s Identity v Identity Confusion stage of development.

I’m wondering if Bren MacDibble’s The Dog Runner would have goodness-of-fit with a child in the Intermediate years of Erikson’s Industry v Inferiority developmental stage.

Children become curious about adventure and exploring the world around them at this stage (2008, p. 11), so the adventures of Ella and Emery might be of interest to them.

How would you explain the manner in which developmental psychology helps teachers and librarians and parents to understand the child’s response to literature?

Children at a certain stage of development will respond to books that match this stage because that’s what their bodies and brains are working through at that time in their life.

Can you identify the themes of several of the stories mentioned in this chapter that reflect the ideas of particular theorists?

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and John Green’s Looking for Alaska have prominent themes of good versus evil, suicide and identity, that reflect Erikson’s psychosocial stage of Identity v Identity Confusion.


October 2

Attributes of an Effective Leader

Think about the people who have been inspirational in your working and learning life. Were they mentors who you engaged with on a regular basis? Were they other staff members? Were they leaders in your school? List the attributes that made them effective leaders.

Person 1 – I have worked under Person 1 regularly while living in Port Augusta. She is part of the Leadership Team at Willsden Primary School and takes number one place in the list of referees on my CV. I have a deep respect for the work that she does as the school is such a challenging place to work. Last year, I worked with her for a few months on a mentoring basis. We would often talk about my teaching practice and how to manage my classroom more effectively.

She is:

  • Very organised
  • Passionate about the teaching of reading
  • Funny
  • Caring
  • Willing to stand by you in tough situations

Person 2 – This person is my favourite Deputy Principal. As a TRT, it is incredibly important that I have Leadership backing when I manage student behaviours. I always know that Person 2 will support my behaviour management, and she always makes me feel welcome at her school. Also, after school last year, she made time for me when I needed someone to talk to about a professional matter.

She is:

  • Great at managing challenging behaviour
  • Supportive
  • Hard-working
  • Visible
  • Approachable

Person 3 – Person 3 was the Assistant Principal at Burra Community School while I was completing my fourth year teaching placement there in 2012. I continued to visit Burra after the teaching placement, and I became such good friends with Person 3 that I would have coffee with her. Although she wasn’t my mentor teacher, she would often check in with me to see how I was going. She featured on my CV as a referee for many years, although she has retired now.

She is:

  • Hard-working
  • Friendly and approachable
  • A realist