Task 1 – INF533 – Reading, literacy and digital literature in the classroom.

xxolaxx / Pixabay – Reading in a digital landscape.


The advent of technology, and plethora of personal devices has revolutionised the reading paradigm to the point where, texts are no longer restricted to print, but are now available through multiple formats and platforms.  Digital literature utilises a continuum of technology to convey meaning, and the level of computation varies from a scanned book, to the interactive hypertext narratives with multimodal features  with a host of genres and hybrid genres such as e-stories, linear e-narratives, interactive stories, hypertext narratives and electronic games narratives. in the middle (Walsh, 2013; Maneti, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018; Rettberg, 2012).  These new formats as Lamb (2011), and Sadokiesiski (2013) point out, require additional literacies to engage, process, evaluate and communicate. 

This is because reading has evolved from text decoding, to constructing meaning from symbols (Lamb, 2011) . 

ACARA’s (2018)  response has been to define literacy as the ability to interact with, engage and communicate across modalities for personal, social, economic and recreational purposes. 

This definition clearly indicates that teaching practice needs to include a variety of texts, in print, digital and hybrid formats (Leu, Forzani, Timbrell, & Maykel, 2015).  But whilst there are strong arguments and mandates to include digital texts, there are are complications.  

Many students struggle with digital text comprehension, as the simultaneous synthesising of visual, audio and text information causes information overload (Jeon, 2012; Mangen, Walgermo & Bronnick., 2013).   Students with poor fundamental literacy are at further disadvantage, as they are easily distracted away from the content by the multimodal elements, as well as being unable to locate information due poor visual ergonomics (Lamb, 2011; Leu, McVerry, OByrne, Kili, Zawilinski, Everett-Cacopardo,Kennedy, Forzani, 2011;  Jeon, 2012; Hashim & VongKulluksn, 2018; Mangen et al., 2013, p.66). 

geralt / Pixabay – Feeling overwhelmed???


I have noticed that here is a strong disinclination for teachers to include the creation of hypertext narratives and games in their practice (Mantei, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018).  This hesitancy could be attributed to the premise that it requires both the student and the teacher to be competent in the additional literacies  (Leu et al., 2015).  Whilst many students could be considered digital natives and may possess the necessary skill set to create such hypertext, many teachers would be considered digital immigrants and therefore lack the confidence to implement such technologies in their classroom.  Unfortunately by excluding creation of digital texts, students are disadvantaged by the lack of potential extension and consolidation of learning. 

Armstong (2020) Bloom’s Taxonomy. CC – BY – NC

Remember Bloom – By failing to include a creative element – students are being denied opportunities for higher order thinking.  

In an effort to address some of these concerns, our library team has a balanced collection of print and digital literature, as well as have recently implemented an information literacy scope and sequence  (Leu et al., 2015).  Our students have access to a robust physical collection, e-books and audiobooks through a BorrowBox subscription, as well as online databases such as InfoBase, Gale, Britannica, EBSCO, Trove, and World Book.  

Anecdotally from my position as a teacher librarian, I can see the students vastly prefer print for recreational reading, but have a strong preference for digital resources for informational purposes.  I regularly see many teachers include digital texts into their teaching practice through reading and viewing of e-books, online databases and web based texts.  Through our information literacy program, we are endeavouring to teach digital literacy skills, such as, how to locate, evaluate and synthesise information, as well as problem solving in both online and offline scenarios (Leu et al., 2015, p. 140).  

Digital literature has transformed society, the definition of literacy and the landscape of pedagogical practice.  Time will only tell if our scope and sequence improve digital literacies and competencies in both the faculty and the students… stay tuned for further updates




Armstrong, P. (2020). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/. Image licenced under CC – BY – NC 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2018). Literacy. In Australian Curriculum – General Capabilities. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/

Hashim, A & VongKulluskn, V. (2018). E reader apps and reading engagement: A descriptive case study. Computers and Education, 125, pp.358-375. Retrieved from https://www.journals.elsevier.com/computers-and-education/

Jabr, F. (2013). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

Jeon, H. (2012). A comparison of the influence of electronic books and paper books on reading comprehension, eye fatigue, and perception. The Electronic Library, 30(3), 390-408. doi: 10.1108/02640471211241663 

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Leu, D., McVerry, J. G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., Kennedy, C., & Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1)5-14. Doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Leu, D.J, Forzani, E.,Timbrell, N., & Maykel., C. (2015) . Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in primary grade and upper elementarty grade classroom. Reading Teacher 69: (2), p.139-145. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1073399

Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R. & Bronnick, K.A. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 58, 61-68.doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2012.12.002 

Mantei, J., Kipscombe, K., & Kervin, L. (2018). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Rettberg, J.W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg.htm

Sadokierski, Z. (2013, November 12). What is a book in the digital age? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071

Sargeant, B. (2015). What is an ebook? what is a book app? And why should we care? An analysis of contemporary picture books. Children’s Literature in education, 46, p.454-466. doi: 10.1007/s10583-015-9243

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Literary Learning – Shifting from ‘Learning to Read’ to ‘Reading to learn’.

Language and literature has always been part of educational practices. 

This is because language is central to cognition and therefore needs to be implemented in all areas of thinking and learning.  Literary learning is the use of literature across the curriculum.  It is based upon genre theory as language is learned in context and a variety of genres and formats should be made available for all students to (Derewianka, 2015).  Whilst the emotive and behavioural benefits of literature are well documented, some teachers may believe that a variety of genres in teaching and learning are unnecessary.  Cornett (2014) points out the many cognitive values of literary arts in the curriculum such as promoting literacy, supporting active meaning construction and provoking inquiry, lifelong learning, problem solving and increasing critical thinking skills.  The  role of the teacher librarian and educator is to increase the implementation of the various forms of literature, such as narratives, expositions, discussions and recounts, in order to increase student exposure to the heterogeneity of discourses available in their subject area.  

GDJ / Pixabay – Code breaker to text analyser.

Literacy for learning is when a student moves from simply being codebreakers and text participants, to using text for learning and analysing.  The basis of literary learning is genre theory and programs such as ‘reading to learn’ places an emphasis on students using a variety of literature formats in schooling (Derewianka, 2015).  Genre theory has had a great influence on education practices in Australia.  It is an extension of Vygotsky’s and Halliday’s theory of language development occurring in social contexts (Derewianka, 2015).  The extension is based upon the view that students need access to a variety of genres within their subject matter in order to be able to engage in discourse (Derewianka, 2015).  Since each genre has its own identifiable format, it is important that educators offer a variety of genres to maintain equity (Derewianka, 2015).  Derewianka (2015) also elucidates the pertinent fact that each key learning area has a particular vocabulary, and that students need to understand and develop experience with this specific language and various formats in order to achieve academic success. 

ACARA places great emphasis on literacy, language and literature in the curriculum.  It requires students to use language as a method of participating in the learning process (Derewianka, 2015).  I have previously elucidated on the importance of literacy, so I will not go into any more detail about that now.  But within the General capabilities curriculum, there is a requirement for students to be able to make meaning and critically analyse.  Therefore, the use of a variety of genres within teaching and learning practices ensures students are able to meet the learning outcomes set by the standards within the curriculum.  

From a pedagogical perspective, literary learning is a child centred approach to teaching and learning. Derewianka (2015) points out that the shift from teacher to child centric pedagogy requires student’s engagement in order for them to participate in the learning.  Literature can be used as a method to learn about subject matter as it provides a increased engagement for students and also has a higher recall compared to expository texts (Cornett, 2014, p. 151).  Besides being a mode of conveying information, the use of good quality literature has been proven to support construction of meaning, deepen understanding of complex social issues and meet the aesthetic needs of students (Cornett, 2014, p. 151).  The latter is very important as motivation is a commitment to extend the reader’s aesthetic experience (Cornett, 2014).  

 There are some educators that are skeptical of the need to implement literature across the curriculum, even though the implementation of language, literature and literacy across key learning areas has been part of teaching practice for the last few decades.  One of the arguments against the implementation of literature, is that some students would struggle against having to negotiate meaning from the text.  Students with low literacy and those who speak a second language could find some genres more problematic than others.  But Cornett (2014) refuted this argument by determining that literature based learning is beneficial to students combating aliteracy or illiteracy.  This is because students that have literature at the core of their learning improve their overall reading levels in comparison to those that do not  (Cornett, 2014).  Ironically, the use of  standarised tests have been proven to have no benefit in improving literacy outcomes but they still happen at regular intervals (Cornett, 2014).  But whilst literature have been proven to address  cognitive, emotional and developmental needs, not all students (and teachers) like  all aspects such as narrative literature.  Since choice is an essential aspect of engagement and motivation, it is important to implement a variety of genres and resources in educational practices when planning a unit of work.  Astute educators will know that it makes sense to balance pragmatism with literature.  

Literary learning is the implementation of literature across the curriculum.  By using literature as a method of conveying subject specific information, teachers are improving the learning outcomes of the students.  From an evidence based perspective, literature based learning is the better option for students as it allows students to construct their own bank of knowledge from information which is more easily read, understood and comprehended.  It allows students to put into context the subject specific vocabulary they have learned and use correctly the variety of formats and genres that are applicable to their discipline.  Students no longer just learn to read… they read so that they can learn. 



Cornett, 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,) (pp144-193) USA

Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today’s Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators’ Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers


ETL 402 – Part B – Learning through reflection

For a very long time

I was convinced that

literary learning


learning how to read. 




This is my journey to enlightenment.  

geralt / Pixabay – Enlightened at last…


I wrote Once upon a time before this session even started.  I find it interesting to reflect on my journey and see how my understanding has evolved since then.  

What did I learn?

Anemone123 / Pixabay

I learned that: 

  1. Stories are more than just tall tales, they are humanity’s way of imparting information, values and language (Macdonald, 2013, p.2). 
  2. Our ability to understand language is intrinsically linked to our own literacy identity (Anstey & Bull, 2006).  
  3. Literature’s  greatest value is from the discussion that it stimulates (Allington & Gabriel, 2012). 
    1. Student learning outcomes are around a shared reading experience (Fisher & Frey, 2018). 
  4. Genre variety is important as it increases discourse and efficacy in understanding nuances within literature (Tobin, 2012).  
    1. Afterall, how can we expect students to understand the differences between memoirs and biographies, expository texts to essays or picture books and graphic novels if they are not exposed to them? 

  5. We need to equip our students with the skills and strategies for navigating and analysing hypertext and multimodal literature in our classroom practice (Rowberry, 2018).  Their ability to be active citizens in the 21st century depends on those decoding and analysis skills to utilise literature in all its formats – digital, audio, graphic novel, and picture books.  

So what does this mean for my understanding of Literary learning?

Literary learning (as I discovered after wading through

module readings, packets of choccie biscuits and journal articles) is the pedagogical practice of using literature in a social context to teach the curriculum (Derewianka, 2015).

It requires: 

  1. Good quality literature with strong curriculum links in a variety of genres and formats (Derewianka, 2015)
  2. Age appropriate reader response strategies: 
    1. Book Bentos,
    2. Book Trailers 
    3. Literature circles
    4. Story mapping
    5. Word clouds

 (Derouet, 2020)



I did not know which ones to do…

so I asked for help (and I wrote a gazillion blog posts. Check them out!)


  1. Murphy (2020) pointed out that literature circles are ideally suited to the history curriculum in his forum post.
  2. Thurling (2020) argued that the social aspect of literature circles is often undervalued. 
  3. Armstrong (2020) suggested that book trailers suit visual learners and embeds technology effectively into learning in her blog.  
  4. My work colleague advised that teachers could incorporate both strategies together as part of a guided inquiry unit. 

I realised that it was all correct!

  1. Students participate in a Literature circle to analyse the text, 
  2. And then use that analysis to make a book trailer (or another creative piece), to show their understanding of the topic whilst using technology.  WINNING!

  Now that I have had my revelation about the value of discourse…… I wonder, what does that mean for my role as a teacher librarian?  It is clearly obvious that my role is no longer just the promotion of reading, and but has now morphed into the advocacy of literature in classroom practice to promote READING to LEARN !

This means I need to:

Work with classroom teachers to plan their units of work with literature at its core.
2.     Collaborating with colleagues to embed literature throughout the curriculum.
3.     Be willing to team teach using digital literature and digital technologies.


After all, you cannot have literacy without literature.  Its just ‘racy otherwise.  

Get it??

stux / Pixabay







Allington, R., & Gabriel, R. (2014). Every child, every day. Educational Leadership, 69 (6).  pp.10-15. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=af8a4fab-9b19-447e-835f-78f39f145c0b%40sdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=73183256&db=ehh

Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies . Newark, Del.: International Reading Association.

Armstrong, K. (2020). Book Trailers – Promotion tool or pedagogical tool for literary learning.  Musing and Meanderings. CSU Thinkspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/karenjarmstrong/2020/05/12/book-trailers-promotion-tool-or-pedagogical-tool-for-literary-learning/

Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today’s Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators’ Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers

Derouet, E. (2020). Assignment 2 Questions : Examples of literature response strategies. ETL402 Discussion Forum. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_44234_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_88815_1&forum_id=_181934_1&message_id=_2891282_1

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

McDonald, L. (2013). A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association PETA.

Murphy, D. (2020). Thread 6.3 Literature circles in history. ETL402 Discussion Forum. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_44234_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_88815_1&forum_id=_181940_1&message_id=_2937474_1

Rowberry, S. P., (2018). Continuous, not discrete: The mutual influence of digital and physical literature. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. pp.1-11 DOI: 10.1177/1354856518755049

Thurling, D. (2020). RE: 6.3 Literature circles in history. ETL402 Discussion Forum. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_44234_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_88815_1&forum_id=_181940_1&message_id=_2937474_1

Tobin, M. (2012). Digital storytelling: Reinventing literature circles. Fischer College of Education. 12. NSU. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=fse_facarticles