January 30

Final reflections….

There is no doubt that frequent, regular access to a diverse, quality fiction collection, in a range of formats in a school library is a mandatory need and right of every single student. An exceptional teacher librarian (TL) allows schools to empower students, support literacy and lifelong learning, bring the school community together, foster relationships between each and every student and bring value to our country and cultural heritage and understanding. This is achieved when the TL manages its resources and acquisition of all resources, through collaboration, leadership and engagement with the school community.

Pathways that allow TLs to achieve the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries are varied and careful consideration needs to be taken to ensure that TLs are fulfilling their roles as advocates for championing reading, literacy and literary learning. Each TL needs to take into consideration their learning community, and tailor pathways that best meet the needs of its students, teachers and greater school community. TLs will need to embrace the core business of information seeking, literacy and reading, as well as supporting the entire school community.

Essentially, a great communicator who listens and responds to the needs of the teaching and learning community, as well as a TL that constantly advocates for their role in assisting the teaching and learning cycle, makes them invaluable in their school.

Participation and involvement in curriculum committees gives TLs great insight into the curriculum content and delivery and gives them a platform to advocate for reading programs and literary learning. I believe a great starting point is to work with one faculty within the school and establish a good working relationship that allows the TL to promote how the library resources can assist in literary learning across their subject area. If we can demonstrate success in one subject area, supplementing and enhancing learning and engagement, it stands us in good stead to self-promote and show real examples of how the TL can assist teachers in ways they may not have previously considered.

Access to a rich and diverse fiction collection is paramount to providing students with their rights to a school library. Diverse formats, genres, access points, a range of varied reading levels that include a diverse representation of culture, authors and subjects are essential to any library. By enabling patron-driven acquisition, equipping students with essential ICT skills to function effectively as 21st century citizens and offering a space that is conducive to learning, exploring and accessing information freely, makes the library the hub of any school and gives students the rights they have been granted in the Declaration.

I think my greatest challenge, after completing this subject, is convincing teachers that literary learning, through the addition of fiction to their curriculum programs, really is a worthwhile and valuable practice. I have already shared my Literary Resource Kit with a colleague who teaches history, and she is definitely ‘intrigued’. But the question remains:  how will we implement this within an already crowded curriculum? That will be my challenge for 2021, and by working closely with some of my (open-minded) colleagues this year, I’m hoping that I get a chance of showing our teachers how valuable literary learning can be, and how I can support them through this process.



January 21

Assessment 2: Reflective Blog Post

This subject has taught me so much about how I can continue to support students in their quest to find good quality literature and show teachers how to effectively embed literature across the curriculum and into their classrooms. At first I had great reservations of how to effectively achieve the latter, but as always, it comes down to collaboration with teachers, selecting quality literature (in a range of formats) that support the curriculum and enhance critical thinking skills that develop a greater understanding and perspective of their world through literary learning practices. Quality literature is vital to ensuring student engagement and enhances the learning cycle across the curriculum, by providing opportunities to connect with texts and respond in a way that is far more meaningful (Simpson, 2016) and this was reiterated in my blog  for my vision for the future, when asked to consider the future of children’s literature.

I also need to be willing to learn and master a range of digital technologies and share this with teachers so that I become a valuable and knowledgeable support to teachers, further advocating my role and the use of literature in the classroom. By helping students to respond to literature in new and innovative ways, as I described in my module 6 blog about the Sway I incorporated in a French class, I can confidently share by example, and I think this is incredibly valuable.

Essentially, the key issues I have taken from my learnings include the fact that the greatest value that literature can offer is through the discussion that it stimulates (Allington & Gabriel, 2012) and how student learning outcomes can be enhanced through a shared reading experience (Fisher & Frey, 2018). This advocates for literary learning on so many levels. The value that reader response strategies offer totally supports this idea, and strategies such as learning circles and book bentos are just two that I am going to promote in my school this year. I am going to start with our History teachers, because I truly see the value of offering a range of literature that supports so many facets of the history curriculum.

My collection development practices will also see more involvement in curriculum committees. By working closely with teachers that provide insight into their teaching programs, I will be able to a) select appropriate literature to support their teaching areas and b) advocate for my support in designing and implementing curriculum programs through literary learning. I shared my views of this in the module 4.1 discussion forum of how we can promote our services (Bourne, 2020, December 24). If I can show how literature can build knowledge, promote critical thinking skills and develop trans-literacy practices as Gordon suggests (2011), I am on my way to establishing a culture of literary learning and literature across the curriculum.

I also learned that students don’t necessarily respond well to reading when they are given little choice and are forced to keep reading journals and write book reports. In my blog for module 3 I acknowledged how much I had to learn about helping students find reading material they were interested in and had free access to, and this will inform my practice moving forward in how I support our students, especially when it comes to age appropriateness, which is less important than knowing the student, and as Travers and Travers stipulated, knowing the child is just as important as knowing the book (2008).


Allington, R., & Gabriel, R. (2012). Every child, every day. Educational Leadership, 69 (6). pp.10-15. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar12/vol69/num06/Every-Child,-Every-Day.aspx

Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2018). Raise reading volume through access, choice, discussion, and book talksReading Teacher, 72(1), 89-97. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1691

Gordon, C. A. (2011). Lost in cyberspace?: Tracking the future of reading. School Library Monthly, 27(8), 50-54.

Simpson, A. (2016). Choosing to teach with quality literature: from reading (through talk) to writing. Scan, 35(4). https://doi.org/https://education.nsw.gov.au/content/cam/main-education/teaching-annd-learning/professional-learning/media/documents/Research-choosing-to-teach-with-quality-literature.pdf

Travers, B. E., & Travers, J. F. (2008). Children’s literature: A developmental perspective. John Wiley & Sons.


January 18

Reading programs….myths debunked!

Module 3

I learnt so much after listening to Reading Rockets (2015, August 5). It was pointed out that when teachers put pressure on students to read, this actually pushes children way from reading. The idea of reading logs and book reports are counter-productive to engaging students in reading, and this is such a game-changer for me. I have been given the responsibility of running a reading program for our year 8s this year, which previously was supervised by any teacher that had a spare in their timetable (I know ☹).

This year, I have the privilege of running it alongside the Head of English, and I am so excited. However, my plans for reading logs and book reports have gone out the window. Sharp (2018) says that it is imperative that good teaching habits are modelled and great support is offered to students when looking for books, because students underestimate how difficult it is to find books. Travers and Travers (2008) provided some excellent advice for how to support students in their quest to find good books that appeal to them. They suggest that knowing the child is just as important as knowing the book. Having insight into a students’ cultural background, life experiences and personality type is just the beginning in trying to find that ‘right’ book, that is both enjoyable and meaningful. Reading ‘age’ is no longer that appropriate, and knowledge of the reader is what will stand teacher librarians (in collaboration with teachers) in good stead when helping students choose literature. I wholeheartedly agree with Pennac (2006) and the suggestion that children are introduced to the pleasure of reading in the home. Communication with parents is key in advocating for the importance of good reading practices, and is something that teacher librarians can promote in newsletters, blogs and other formats that communicate to the schooling community.



Pennac, D. (2006). The rights of the reader.  Walker Books.

Reading Rockets. (2015, August 5). Leading to reading [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/jqgjvauQmYUTravers and Travers

Sharp, Colby. (2018, November 1). Free choice…with support: Game Changer [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/PiwiJWSIaFA

Travers, B. E., & Travers, J. F. (2008). Children’s literature: A developmental perspective. John Wiley & Sons.

January 18

Using technology to produce a response…

I have just starting using Sway in the classroom. It can be used as an excellent teaching tool, and I have used it for a couple of units I taught in French and English in 2020.

Because Sway is incredibly easy to use, and our students have access to it through the Microsoft suite available at school, I taught my students how to use it for a unit of work we studied in French.

After studying a unit on personal information, including biographical information, family, personality and careers in a unit of work for Year 9 French, students read a variety of excerpts from a range of famous French people. As an activity that demonstrated their understanding of language in the target language, we created an activity for students that required them to use the information they had learned, and then create a Sway presentation that would appear in an interactive museum. Students chose one of the famous French people (Kings, actors, sportspeople etc.) and presented the information as an infographic that one might find in a museum. This activity was great in that students were creating a response that provided a real purpose, were drawing on information learned and then had to present this information in a way (bi-lingual actually – for both English and French readers!). We got students to record their voices for the ‘read aloud’ function in Sway, and this was challenging and daunting for some students who had to listen to themselves speaking in French.

What we didn’t anticipate was how long this was going to take. We had to teach students the fundamentals of Sway, and the correct use of digital images. Fortunately in Sway, you can tick a box that only selects creative commons licensed material, but it was still a time consuming activity. In terms of learner response strategy however, it was great for students, as they respond really well to anything that involves technology!

December 9

My vision for the future of children’s literature. Mod 1

Do you have a vision for the future of children’s literature? Who will be the driver’s of change?

Given that Short (2018) informs us that print books are very much still alive and are not a dying breed thanks to their digital counterparts, I am comforted by the fact that students read both print and digital narratives, and that these two mediums don’t actually compete against each other. What is I think is incredibly important is that we are cognisant of providing our readers differing experiences of how to engage with texts (Short, 2018). My vision is that children’s literature will continue to evolve to meet the leisure, cultural and reading preferences of readers. I think what we must remember is that marketing and publishers don’t drive the future of children’s literature, but children do. They tell us what they want to read, they show us what is of interest to them and we need to listen to them. Quality literature needs to be made available in a range of formats that incorporates visual culture, racial diversity, gender diversity and ways for readers to engage with authors that provide authentic learning experiences (Short, 2018).

The emergence of digital literacies has changed how students access books, and it has been interesting to witness students who prefer a physical text to their digital counterparts. Some students certainly prefer digital access, and we have to take this into consideration when developing our own collections, ensuring we provide a balance of formats to suit our students’ needs.

According to Harvey, print texts still play a large role in children’s reading preferences, but what is fascinating is how the media also play a large role in influencing reading preference titles. The influence of games, movies, merchandise and licensed brands certainly promote their text counterparts in ways that it has been necessary for me to follow media trends and stay connected to these platforms (Harvey, 2015).

Literature works continue to evolve to meet the demands of how readers read and engage with texts. Research conducted by Wolf (2014) suggests that the developing engagement in literature with an adult, ie a parent or teacher, enhances and heightens the engagement for a child. We all have a part to play, and our vision for children’s literature needs to be collective.



Harvey, E. (2015, December 8). Five trends affecting children’s literature https://www.bookbusinessmag.com/article/what-we-learned-from-the-top-trends-in-childrens-literature-webinar/). In Book Business.

Short, K. (2018). What’s trending in children’s literature and why it matters? Language Arts, 95(5), 287 – 298. Retrieved from http://www2.ncte.org/

Wolfe, S. (2014). Children’s literature on the digital move (https://ila-onlinelibrary-wiley-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/full/10.1002/trtr.1235). Reading Teacher, 67(6), 413-417. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/trtr.1235



December 9

Children’s literature…what would I know?! Mod 2

Children’s Literature- What do I really know?!

I’d like to think I know a little bit about Children’s Literature! I was an avid reader as a child, and continue this favourite pastime in my adult life – when time permits! Having children of my own, one of whom reads voraciously, has opened up a whole new world for me regarding children’s literature. It has been the titles that he reads, that has informed my own decisions (to some extent) as to what we should be considering for our school library’s collection.

But then, I have to sit back and think about what he loves to read, and whether this appeals to a wide readership. And it doesn’t! Whilst Rick Riordan, Branden Sanderson, Neal Shusterman and Julie Kagawa write fabulous novels that my son devours, this doesn’t appeal to all readers, of all reading abilities. So honestly, my knowledge of children’s literature is quite limited. I think about my own reading experiences as a child, and I was reading (for Year 9 English!!) Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. My father, another avid reader, introduced me to Daphne Du Maurier as a young teen, and of course, Enid Blyton took up a great deal of bookshelf space on my bookshelves.

After engaging in some wide reading in this subject (and others!), I know that children’s literature should accommodate for the behavioural, cognitive and emotional reading levels and development of children. It was only when I started working in a library that I realized how incredibly popular graphic novels are – which was so new to me because my children don’t read (or enjoy) them. Or meeting some students who were reluctant readers and would only read one author. One of our Year 7 students loves Sarah Maas, but continues to read her series over and over, and is incredibly reluctant to try other authors. It took a great deal of encouragement and research, on my part, to find ‘read alike’ authors and suggest new titles that she may like to consider. So, whilst I may think I know a lot or at least enough about children’s literature, the truth is, I could know more. I will always be uncovering new titles and authors for students, and I need to listen to my students, my children and spend time reading reviews, subscribing to useful websites and develop my collegial network with other teacher librarians, teachers and librarians to inform my practice and knowledge of children’s literature.


December 9

Literary non-fiction Mod 2

Module 2.2

Lowitja by Stuart Rintoul


Lowitja is an excellent authorised biography that traces the life of Lowitja O’Donoghue and her remarkable contribution to creating awareness regarding Indigenous people and their history. Her life story is tenderly captivated by Stuart Rintoul, who retells the heartache, loss and ultimate sacrifice Lowitja and her family endured at the hands of familial separation. The biography includes factual information and retells Australia’s history with a new and reimagined honesty. Readers are privy to the heartbreaking separation of Lowitja from her mother and her removal from her family, culture and language. Whilst Rintoul doesn’t empathically create a sense of emotional appeal, readers are left with a sense of discrimination and shock at Lowitja’s experiences. What makes this woman remarkable is that her steely determination is born out of an innate sense of justice and fighting for what is right. Lowitja O’Donoghue’s achievements are admirable and she is honoured with awards such as Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Australian of the Year, National Living Treasure and Companion of the Order of Australia, which is astonishingly inspirational when the reader learns of the basic and blatant discrimination she experienced as a young woman.

Literary non-fiction is an excellent genre to introduce readers, particularly students, to understanding a perspective other than their own, and allows students to learn about their history, the social and cultural context and inherent ideologies present in a time before they lived. Storytelling itself is an ancient art form and allows the author to convey social values and develop a sense of self, empathy and understanding (Comer-Kidd & Castano, 2013). Narrative non-fiction allows readers to engage meaningfully with a narrative that allows them to understand facts and develop an understanding of the facts presented (Cornett, 2014).

Literary non-fiction, such as Lowitja, is an excellent way to introduce students to the history of Australia, through the eyes of somebody who has lived a life very different to their own. It is this perspective that gives students valuable insight into the not so glamourous history of Australia, but also reads as a great inspirational tale that demonstrates what one can achieve, even through great adversity.

Literary non-ficion, such as biographies are an excellent form of narration that exist in secondary school libraries. They make the content accessible and students often find recalling information from such texts easier than the recall from traditional textbooks (Cornett, 2014). Lowitja allows students to engage with O’Donoghue’s story on a personal level and this fosters greater cognitive and developmental engagement, which allows students to recall the historical facts with greater ease. Students also develop greater critical thinking skills because students are forced to consider and evaluate the information presented to them and make sense of a perspective of Australia’s history they may not have been previously privy to (Morris, 2013).

This text fulfills the Year 10 English and History curriculum as well as the General Capabilities in Literacy and Ethical Considerations (ACARA, 2014a; ACARA, 2014b; ACARA, 2014c, ACARA, 2014d). This text would be an excellent addition to any secondary school library, as it addresses more than one curriculum area and the requirements of the General Capabilities.



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014a). F-10 English Curriculum. Retrieved from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/english/


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014b). F-10 English Curriculum. Retrieved from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/humanities-and-social-sciences/history


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014c). F-10 General Capabilities – Critical and Creative Thinking. Retrieved from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general- capabilities/critical-and-creative-thinking

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2014d). F-10 General Capabilities – Ethical Understanding. Retrieved from Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general- capabilities/ethical-understanding

Comer Kidd, D & Castano, E. (2013). Reading literary fiction improves theory of mind. Science, 342 (6156), 377 -380.

Cornet, C.E. (2014). Integrating the literary arts throughout the curriculum. In Creating meaning through literature and the arts:arts integration for Classroom teachers (5th ed).

Morris, R. (2013). Linking learning and literary non-fiction. School Library Monthly, 29(7), 39 – 40.