Major Concepts for Literature

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Major Concepts for Literature

  1. 1. Range of Literary Genres<br /><ul><li> It is important to have a range of literary genres made available to students as each student is an individual with his/her own distinctive tastes in reading. In YA literature there is a genre or subgenre to fit almost if not all literary interest of teens. Some of the important major genres in YA literature are:   Poetry and Poetic Verse; Modern Realistic Fiction; Historical Fiction; Fantasy and Science Fiction; Supernatural, Horror, and Mystery; Informational Books and Biography; Graphic Novels and Manga; Short Stories; Multicultural literature; and GBLT Books. Within some of these major genres you have subgenres like in Modern Realistic Fiction is divided into two sub-genres: Light Modern Realistic (with various subgenres like: Chic Lit; Humor; Wilderness/Survival; Sports ;) and Dark Modern Realistic (with sub-genres like: school violence; rape; and other heavy subjects). Multicultural Literature is divided in various sub-genres according to the race or ethnicity of either the writer or the main characters or both. Some of the major sub-genres of Multicultural Literature are: African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, and Jewish American. Even Informational Books are divided into various sub-genres like: Biographies and Autobiographies or Memoirs; and Informational books, which are themselves a sub-genres as well divided into various subjects like: Technology; The Arts; Religion; etc. I have to admit that when I first began the library program I was biased toward just few genres of YA literature such as modern realism. However as I was introduced to quality books in other genres such as fantasy, adventure, mystery, etc., by Dr. Chance I began to realize that there are great books outside of the modern realism genre. This realization helped to open my mind to the necessity of planning a collection development that consists of multiple and varied genres.
  2. 2. Variety in Reading Promotion
  3. 3. It is important for a librarian to practice a variety of reading promotions for there are many other influences like sports, socializing, and other challenges that may pull students in the opposite direction of the libraries front door. One way to promote reading in the library is to place colorful and exciting looking book covers like those of graphic novels where they can be easily seen. A great draw to the library is gaming and these games can be educational in nature as well as just for leisure. Students love to create and they are engaged with technology so if you combine the two by offering students opportunities to create websites, webpages, etc., they will be attracted to the library. Also making authors available for students or classes to speak to them either in person or via social media like Skype is popular among students. Offering areas where students can socialize in person or via text in a comfortable environment with appealing art on the walls. Librarians should also consider have rooms or sections where students can have access to social media sites is a huge draw to the library as most students love using social media or texting. A quiet place with comfortable couches and chairs for students to both read and/or work on computers are considered necessary by certain readers and students. However, with all these various methods (and many more I did not list here) the most fundamental and perhaps the most powerful action a librarian can take to attract students, in my opinion, is to always remember to be friendly and use your knowledge to be as helpful as you can possibly be
  4. 4. Approaches to Reader’s Advisory
  5. 5. When advising a teen on which book to read many factors must be taken in consideration by the librarian. The first and probably most important fact to remember is that each reader is an individual and readers have differing tastes from one another. If a librarian can approach a student with this fact in mind every time he/she recommends a book then they are half-way finished their task. The second factor to consider is that our young adults range in age from tween, 12-13, to young adult, 18-25, and everything (teen) in-between and therefore not every book is age appropriate for every student. Therefore, when recommending a book librarians need to consider the content of the book and the age and maturity level of the student as students mature at different rates. Which brings us to the most effective technique for recommending literature: to get to know the student. The better you know the student and his/her interests, reading history, personality, and level of maturity the better you can serve that particular student. It is also good to keep in mind some important facts about teens when advising them. Some of these facts are: most teens prefer the genre of modern realistic fiction and high school protagonists; reluctant readers prefer leisure reading of easy to read books and graphic novels; guys and gals differ in certain genres that each sex prefers overall; some students are reluctant readers because they have had bad experiences with reading in the academic setting; and some are reluctant as they have not had any good role models or support for their reading. So we have to model reading and be patient and get to know the interests of our reluctant readers especially so we can advise them correctly. Reading advisory is one the my favorite tasks that I have been doing this past year for promoting literature. I assembled and collected books in my classroom this year for SSR and many students asked me for assistance in advising them on what to read next. I enjoy the interaction with the students and hearing which books or types of books the students enjoy so that I can investigate these books for future purchases. </li></ul>Significance of book illustration<br /> Illustrations are so powerful in certain books, especially picture books and graphic novels, that a child will be able to infer the storyline based solely on the illustrations. Illustrations can enhance a character; help create an overall mood; and most importantly enhance the text. Illustrators can use various mediums for illustrations such as: watercolor, oil paint, charcoal, pencil, and various types of paper and in various combinations if they wish. Illustrators have many devices at their disposal such as: lines, shapes, depth, and composition; and in colored illustrations they have devices such as: color, value, shades, tint, intensity, and various others. Many and various awards are given to the most distinguished illustrators of children’s books each year such as: the Caldecott Award for picture books; the (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award for most distinguished American illustrator of a beginner book; the Pura Belpre for top illustrator of Latino literature; Sibert Information Book Award; and the Wilder Award as well. David Wiesner author of Flotsam; Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express, and Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (all of them have been awarded the Caldecott) are great examples of the potential of authors ability to enhance and create stories via beautiful illustrations that engage children and get them excited about reading.<br /> I utilized the first couple chapter chapters of the picture book The Invention of Hugo Cabret to help teach my students how to use inferencing skills. This book is perfect for teaching the necessary life skill of making inferences. My students were engaged with the mysterious and artfully created sketches that force you to make inferences in order to figure out what in going on with the young protagonist in the story.<br /><ul><li>Some of the Challenges of Controversial Young Adult Books
  6. 6. There are several challenges of controversial young adult books whether they are slated to be banned, censored, or challenged. One challenge is that a librarian has to consider all books he/she plans to order especially those books that may be considered controversial in his/her school district. If the librarian plans to go ahead and purchase a controversial or potentially controversial book it is necessary that he/she knows how this book will be of value or contribute to the students as either an entertaining or informing piece of literature. It is also necessary that the librarian collect all positive and respected reviews of the book in question as well as reviews with recommended age levels for reading included in the review. Other issues of controversy are books that may be appropriate for teens may not be appropriate for tweens, therefore a librarian must take into consideration when deciding which books to purchase that if it is on the shelf it must be made available to each and every student within that school regardless of their respective grade. As an English teacher with a small library in my classroom I make sure that read several reviews on a YA book prior to purchasing the item. I make sure that I get at least three reviews that give the recommending reading level. I plan to continue this practice as a librarian for I realize that as a librarian I will not have the time to read every single book I order.
  7. 7. Importance of Literary Awards
  8. 8.
  9. 9. The variety of literary awards for young adult literature been created to recognize the authors who have written or edited a book that is considered of quality. Each of the various awards have differing criteria and types of judges ranging from boards consisting of only adults to boards in which thousands of students cast their vote. However no matter the criteria or type of award they all honor the creators of quality literature or writing. Some of the most important YA literary awards are the Micheal L. Printz, the Best Books for Young Adults, the Pura Bulpre, the Coretta Scott King, and the Robert F. Sibert award. Micheal L. Printz is important because it is the older children’s equivalent of the prestigious Newberry Award for children and the Printz is the only YA with the criteria solely focused on literary quality and excellence. The Best Books for Young Adults is important because it is the award list with the most history and is sponsored by the respectable Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The Pura Belpre is respected for it is the most recognized award given to a Latino/Latina writer for their work in portraying the Latino experience. The Coretta Scott King is prestigious because it is the most distinguished award given to an African American writer depicting the African American experience. The Robert F. Sibert award is important because it is one of the only major awards focused solely on informational books. Examples of an award winning title for each of the various awards are: 2010 Sibert -Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream; 2006 Printz -Looking for Alaska; 2010 Best Book for Young Adults -Stitches: A Memoir; and the 2010 Pura Belpre -Return to Sender.
  10. 10. In my experience with reading the YA novels and information books I realize it is important to be aware of these awards as they are not only quality literature you can recommend to both students and teachers but they make for some of the most interesting reading for young adults. I realize that not all books that receive an award will be interesting to my students, however, if I find a book that I believe is both interesting to my students and that has received an award then I know I can recommend this book.</li></ul> Diversity in literature for children<br /> There are many authors from various cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities that write and illustrate children’s books today. This diversity in authors and illustrators has helped to greatly increase the diversity in literature for children. This is especially important for our Latino students and children who are the fastest growing segment of our population in America today and for some time to come in our future. Today there are the authors of stories with African American protagonists such as in: The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis and Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. There are many books with Latino protagonists such as: A Library for Juana; Tomas and the Library Lady and The World of Sor Juana Ines by Pat Mora, and Cesar by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand. It is very important that students see themselves in literature via the protagonists of color, low socio-economic status, or diversity, because it greatly helps our students to relate to the story or information and for them to build their self-esteem and self-worth. There are awards for books of diversity such as: The Coretta Scott King award for the positive representation of African American culture, and the Pura Belpre Award for distinguished authors and illustrators who portray Latino culture accurately and positively. <br /><ul><li> I have witnessed first-hand the positive and meaningful effects of the reading of novels containing a protagonist that the students can identify with or with whom they share a culture. For example, the past two years I have read Trino’s Choice, by Diane Bertrand Gonzales, with my mostly Latino populated classes who are both engaged by and are interested in the meaning of the Spanish phrases and words and in explaining the meanings to other students.

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