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1. Understanding Children s Responses to Literature Presented by Prof. T.

Mndez Her
nndez ENGL 3440 Children s Literature in English
2. Reading Interests and Preferences Response refers to: Any outward sign of tha
t inner activity, something said or done that reveals a reader s thoughts and feel
ings about literature.
3. Age and Gender Differences Age is the most obvious change in children s interes
t patterns Children s interest vary according to age and grade level Girls read mo
re than boys but boys have a wider interest range and read greater variety
4. Age and Gender Differences Girls show an early interest in adult romantic fic
tion Boys prefer nonfiction from an early age Children should be provided with m
any reading options so they can have a chance to explore each other s perspectives
5. Other Determinants of Interest Illustrations, color, format, length, and type
of print can also influence children s choices Social and environmental influence
s also affect children s book choices and reading interests Cultural and ethnic fa
ctors also
6. Other Determinants of Interest Impact of the immediate environment Availabili
ty and accessibility of reading materials at home, classroom, and public and sch
ool libraries Teachers Peers
7. Explaining Children s Choices As children grow and learn, their levels of under
standing change along with the literature they choose Children prefer stories th
at best represent their own way of looking at the world Stories that mirror thei
r experiences, needs, fears, and desires
8. Growth Patterns That Influence Response Childhood is unique Children are not
miniature adults but individuals They have their own needs, interests, and capab
ilities which change over time and at varying rates
9. Physical Development Children s experiences with literature can begin at a very
early age Infants gain visual perception very rapidly within their range of foc
us Books designed for babies and toddlers feature simple, clearly defined pictur
es with firm outlines, uncluttered backgrounds, and bright colors
10. Physical Development As visual perception develops, children begin to show f
ascination with details Older preschoolers make a game of finding hidden things in
pictures Children s attention spans generally increase with age as well as intere
st
11. Physical Development Small children have trouble sitting still even for 20 m
inute read alouds It is recommended to have several short story times Physical d
evelopment influences children s interests as well as their attention span
12. Physical Development Early adolescent stages such as puberty and self-concep
t also influence book choices Both physical maturity and social forces have led
to the development of sexual interests at a younger age This leads to a shortene
d interest in literature for children and a choice for teenage novels and adult
fiction
13. Cognitive Development Jean Piaget Intelligence develops as a result of the i
nteraction of environment and the maturation of the child Children are active pa
rticipants in their own learning
14. Cognitive Development Distinct stages in the development of logical thinking
All children go through these stages in the same progression, but not necessari
ly at the same age
15. Cognitive Development (Stages) Piaget Sensory-motor period From infancy to a
bout 2 years of age Preoperational period From 2 to 7 years Concrete operational
period From 7 to 11 Formal operations Age 11 throughout adult life
16. Cognitive Development Piaget recognized children as meaning makers Infants and
toddlers develop sensory perceptions and motor activity. Rhymes of Mother Goose
and tactile books
17. Cognitive Development During the preschool years, children learn to represen
t the world symbolically through language, play and drawing They enjoy predictab
le stories
18. Cognitive Development Elementary school children are in the concrete operati
onal stage They can Classify and arrange objects in series They are more systema
tic and orderly thinkers They enjoy mysteries and understand stories with more c
omplex plot features such as flashbacks or a story within a story

19. Cognitive Development Older elementary-age children also seem to identify mo


re spontaneously with different points of view Children in the middle-school yea
rs begin to develop abstract theoretical thought They are no longer dependent on
concrete evidence but can reason
20. Cognitive Development Complex novels and science fiction in particular begin
to appeal for students at this level Literature criticism can be introduced
21. Cognitive Development Vygotsky stresses the ties between development of thou
ght and language, the social aspect of learning, and the importance of adult-chi
ld interaction Zone of proximal development - area in which children are asked to
stretch their ability
22. Cognitive Development Howard Gardner proposed that there are eight intellect
ual abilities or multiple intelligences Appreciation of literature falls into the
category of linguistic intelligence This theory would explain why some children
breeze through math but blank out during discussions of literature
23. Cognitive Development We need to remember that cognitive development is only
one part of a much larger picture of growth patterns that influence interests a
nd responses
24. Language Development Verbal participation with an adult is an important elem
ent in young children s experience with literature Very early experiences with boo
ks encourage many aspects of language development
25. Language Development Language development proceeds at a phenomenal pace duri
ng the preschool years They learn to express their thoughts in longer sentences
that combine ideas They gain access to the basic structure of grammar
26. Language Development Children s language growth continues through the elementa
ry grades and beyond The average length and complexity of their statements both
oral and written increase as children progress through school Children should be
given the opportunity to read and hear good writing that is beyond the level of
their own conversation
27. Moral Development According to Piaget and Kohlberg, as children grow in inte
llect and experience, they move away from ideas of morality based on authority a
nd adult constraint They move toward morality based on the influence of group co
operation and independent thinking
28. Moral Development Contrasts between the moral judgment of younger and older
children: Young children are constrained by the rules that adults have made Olde
r children understand that there are group standards for what is good or bad and
they make their own rules
29. Moral Development Young children believe that behavior is totally right or t
otally wrong Older children are willing to consider that circumstances and situa
tions make for legitimate differences in opinion
30. Moral Development Young children tend to judge an act by its consequences Ol
der children switch to considering motivation rather than consequence
31. Moral Development Young children believe that bad behavior and punishment go
together; the more serious the deed the harsher the punishment Older children a
re more interested in finding a fair punishment
32. Moral Development Stories for children present different levels of moral com
plexity that can stimulate discussions among children Working through dilemmas a
llow us to move from one level of moral judgment toward another Literature provi
des a means for children to rehearse and negotiate situations of conflict withou
t risk, trying out alternative stances
33. Personality Development All learning is a combination of cognitive dimension
s, affective or emotional responses, social relationships, and value orientation
This is the matrix in which personality develops
34. Personality Development Maslow suggests that a person develops through a hier
archy of needs from basic animal-survival necessities to the higher needs that are
more uniquely human and spiritual Literature can provide opportunities for peopl
e of all ages to satisfy higher-level needs
35. Personality Development In considering any theory of development, we need to
remember that children s prior experiences with books and their individual backgr
ounds can have an impact on their responses to literature
36. Guides for Ages and Stages Adults who are responsible for children s reading n

eed to be aware of child development and learning theory and of children s interes
ts They must keep in mind characteristics and needs of children at different age
s and stages of develpopment (See Books for Ages and Stages)
37. Response in the Classroom Children s perceptions and understandings are reveal
ed in many different ways, as the children choose and talk about books, and as t
hey write, paint, play, or take part in other classroom activities
38. Theories of Response The process of reading and responding is active rather
than passive The words and ideas in a book are not transferred automatically fro
m the page to the reader Response is dynamic and open to continuous change as re
aders anticipate, infer, remember, reflect, interpret, and connect.
39. Theories of Response The meaning and significance of stories will vary from re
ader to reader, depending on age and personal experience as well as experience w
ith literature Reader response theory points out that readers approach works of
literature in special ways
40. Theories of Response James Britton proposes that in all our uses of language
we can be either participants or spectators. As a participant we read in order
to accomplish something in the real world As a spectator we focus on what langua
ge says as an end in itself
41. Theories of Response Rosenblatt suggests that reading usually involves two r
oles, or stances In the efferent stance the reader is concerned with what inform
ation can be learned from the reading In the aesthetic stance the reader is conc
erned with the experience of the reading itself
42. Types of Response The most common expressions of response to literature are
statements, oral or written Such responses are known as literary criticism Child
ren s artwork, informal drama, and other book extension activities also provide wi
ndows on response
43. Interpreting Children s Responses (Recognizing Patterns of Change) Every child
is a unique reader and every classroom represents a different composite of expe
riences with literature and with the world Researchers and teachers have discove
red that students respond differently at various grade levels
44. Interpreting Children s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Yo
unger children are motor oriented As listeners, they respond with their whole se
lves They use body movements to try out some of the story s action
45. Interpreting Children s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Ac
tions to demonstrate meaning might be given as answers to a teacher s questions Ch
ildren spontaneously act out stories or bits of stories using actions, roles, an
d conventions of literature in their dramatic play
46. Interpreting Children s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Th
eir responses deal with parts rather than wholes Children at this age use embedd
ed language in answering direct questions about stories
47. Interpreting Children s Responses (Children in Transition - Primary to Middle
grades) Children during this age develop from being listeners to readers. Childr
en become more adept at summarizing in place of straight retelling when asked to
talk about stories Children classify and categorize stories
48. Interpreting Children s Responses (Children in Transition - Primary to Middle
grades) Children at this age attribute personal reactions to the story itself Ch
ildren judge a story on the basis of their response to it They use borrowed char
acters, events, themes, and patterns from literature in their writing
49. Interpreting Children s Responses (Older Children - Middle grades to Middle sc
hool) Older children express stronger preferences, especially for personal readi
ng Some show particular devotion to certain authors or genres or series Children
are more skillful with language and more able to deal with abstractions
50. Interpreting Children s Responses (Older Children - Middle grades to Middle sc
hool) They can disembed ideas from a story and put them in more generalized term
s Older children go beyond categorizing stories toward a more analytical percept
ion They use some critical terminology