Understanding Children’s
 Responses to Literature
                 Presented by
         Prof. T. Méndez Hernández
   ENGL...
Reading Interests and
Preferences

Response refers to:
  Any outward sign of that inner
  activity, something said or done...
Age and Gender Differences

Age is the most obvious change in
children’s interest patterns
Children’s interest vary accord...
Age and Gender Differences

Girls show an early interest in adult
romantic fiction
Boys prefer nonfiction from an early
ag...
Other Determinants of Interest

Illustrations, color, format, length, and
type of print can also influence
children’s choi...
Other Determinants of Interest
Impact of the immediate environment
        Availability and accessibility of
        readi...
Explaining Children’s Choices

As children grow and learn, their levels
of understanding change along with the
literature ...
Growth Patterns That Influence
Response

Childhood is unique
Children are not miniature adults but
individuals
They have t...
Physical Development

Children’s experiences with literature can begin
at a very early age
Infants gain visual perception ...
Physical Development

As visual perception develops, children
begin to show fascination with details
Older preschoolers ma...
Physical Development

Small children have trouble sitting still
even for 20 minute read alouds
It is recommended to have s...
Physical Development

Early adolescent stages such as puberty and
self-concept also influence book choices
Both physical m...
Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget
Intelligence develops as a result of the
interaction of environment and the
maturation ...
Cognitive Development


Distinct stages in the development of
logical thinking
All children go through these stages in
the...
Cognitive Development
(Stages) Piaget
Sensory-motor period
   From infancy to about 2 years of age
Preoperational period
 ...
Cognitive Development

Piaget recognized children as “meaning
makers”
Infants and toddlers develop sensory
perceptions and...
Cognitive Development



During the preschool years, children
learn to represent the world symbolically
through language, ...
Cognitive Development

Elementary school children are in the concrete
operational stage
They can Classify and arrange obje...
Cognitive Development

Older elementary-age children also seem to
identify more spontaneously with different
points of vie...
Cognitive Development



Complex novels and science fiction in
particular begin to appeal for students at
this level
Liter...
Cognitive Development

Vygotsky stresses the ties between
development of thought and language,
the social aspect of learni...
Cognitive Development

Howard Gardner proposed that there are eight
intellectual abilities or “multiple intelligences”
App...
Cognitive Development



We need to remember that cognitive
development is only one part of a much
larger picture of growt...
Language Development

Verbal participation with an adult is an
important element in young children’s
experience with liter...
Language Development

Language development proceeds at a
phenomenal pace during the preschool
years
They learn to express ...
Language Development

Children’s language growth continues through
the elementary grades and beyond
The average length and...
Moral Development
According to Piaget and Kohlberg, as
children grow in intellect and
experience, they move away from idea...
Moral Development

Contrasts between the moral judgment
of younger and older children:
  Young children are constrained by...
Moral Development


Young children believe that behavior is
totally right or totally wrong
Older children are willing to c...
Moral Development



Young children tend to judge an act by
its consequences
Older children switch to considering
motivati...
Moral Development

Young children believe that bad behavior
and punishment go together; the more
serious the deed the hars...
Moral Development
Stories for children present different levels of
moral complexity that can stimulate
discussions among c...
Personality Development

All learning is a combination of
cognitive dimensions, affective or
emotional responses, social r...
Personality Development
Maslow suggests that a person develops
through a “hierarchy of needs” from
basic animal-survival n...
Personality Development


In considering any theory of
development, we need to remember that
children’s prior experiences ...
Guides for Ages and Stages

Adults who are responsible for children’s
reading need to be aware of child development
and le...
Response in the Classroom


Children’s perceptions and
understandings are revealed in many
different ways, as the children...
Theories of Response

The process of reading and responding is active
rather than passive
The words and ideas in a book ar...
Theories of Response
The “meaning” and significance of
stories will vary from reader to reader,
depending on age and perso...
Theories of Response

James Britton proposes that in all our
uses of language we can be either
participants or spectators....
Theories of Response

Rosenblatt suggests that reading usually
involves two roles, or stances
In the efferent stance the r...
Types of Response


The most common expressions of response to
literature are statements, oral or written
Such responses a...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Recognizing Patterns of Change)

 Every child is a unique reader and every
 classroom r...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Younger Children - Preschool to Primary)


 Younger children are motor oriented
 As lis...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Younger Children - Preschool to Primary)

 Actions to demonstrate meaning might
 be giv...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Younger Children - Preschool to Primary)



 Their responses deal with parts rather
 th...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Children in Transition - Primary to
Middle grades)
 Children during this age develop fr...
Interpreting Children’s Responses
(Children in Transition - Primary to
Middle grades)
 Children at this age attribute pers...
Interpreting Children’s Responses (Older
Children - Middle grades to Middle
school)

 Older children express stronger pref...
Interpreting Children’s Responses (Older
Children - Middle grades to Middle
school)

 They can disembed ideas from a story...
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Childrens Responses To Literature

  1. 1. Understanding Children’s Responses to Literature Presented by Prof. T. Méndez Hernández ENGL 3440 Children’s Literature in English
  2. 2. Reading Interests and Preferences Response refers to: Any outward sign of that inner activity, something said or done that reveals a reader’s thoughts and feelings about literature.
  3. 3. Age and Gender Differences Age is the most obvious change in children’s interest patterns Children’s interest vary according to age and grade level Girls read more than boys but boys have a wider interest range and read greater variety
  4. 4. Age and Gender Differences Girls show an early interest in adult romantic fiction Boys prefer nonfiction from an early age Children should be provided with many reading options so they can have a chance to explore each other’s perspectives
  5. 5. Other Determinants of Interest Illustrations, color, format, length, and type of print can also influence children’s choices Social and environmental influences also affect children’s book choices and reading interests Cultural and ethnic factors also
  6. 6. Other Determinants of Interest Impact of the immediate environment Availability and accessibility of reading materials at home, classroom, and public and school libraries Teachers Peers
  7. 7. Explaining Children’s Choices As children grow and learn, their levels of understanding change along with the literature they choose Children prefer stories that best represent their own way of looking at the world Stories that mirror their experiences, needs, fears, and desires
  8. 8. Growth Patterns That Influence Response Childhood is unique Children are not miniature adults but individuals They have their own needs, interests, and capabilities which change over time and at varying rates
  9. 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 focus Books designed for babies and toddlers feature simple, clearly defined pictures with firm outlines, uncluttered backgrounds, and bright colors
  10. 10. Physical Development As visual perception develops, children begin to show fascination with details Older preschoolers make a game of finding “hidden” things in pictures Children’s attention spans generally increase with age as well as interest
  11. 11. Physical Development Small children have trouble sitting still even for 20 minute read alouds It is recommended to have several short story times Physical development influences children’s interests as well as their attention span
  12. 12. Physical Development Early adolescent stages such as puberty and self-concept 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 shortened interest in literature for children and a choice for teenage novels and adult fiction
  13. 13. Cognitive Development Jean Piaget Intelligence develops as a result of the interaction of environment and the maturation of the child Children are active participants in their own learning
  14. 14. Cognitive Development Distinct stages in the development of logical thinking All children go through these stages in the same progression, but not necessarily at the same age
  15. 15. Cognitive Development (Stages) Piaget Sensory-motor period From infancy to about 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. 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. 17. Cognitive Development During the preschool years, children learn to represent the world symbolically through language, play and drawing They enjoy predictable stories
  18. 18. Cognitive Development Elementary school children are in the concrete operational stage They can Classify and arrange objects in series They are more systematic and orderly thinkers They enjoy mysteries and understand stories with more complex plot features such as flashbacks or a story within a story
  19. 19. Cognitive Development Older elementary-age children also seem to identify more spontaneously with different points of view Children in the middle-school years begin to develop abstract theoretical thought They are no longer dependent on concrete evidence but can reason
  20. 20. Cognitive Development Complex novels and science fiction in particular begin to appeal for students at this level Literature criticism can be introduced
  21. 21. Cognitive Development Vygotsky stresses the ties between development of thought and language, the social aspect of learning, and the importance of adult-child interaction “Zone of proximal development” - area in which children are asked to stretch their ability
  22. 22. Cognitive Development Howard Gardner proposed that there are eight intellectual 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. 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 and responses
  24. 24. Language Development Verbal participation with an adult is an important element in young children’s experience with literature Very early experiences with books encourage many aspects of language development
  25. 25. Language Development Language development proceeds at a phenomenal pace during 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. 26. Language Development Children’s language growth continues through the elementary 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. 27. Moral Development According to Piaget and Kohlberg, as children grow in intellect and experience, they move away from ideas of morality based on authority and adult constraint They move toward morality based on the influence of group cooperation and independent thinking
  28. 28. Moral Development Contrasts between the moral judgment of younger and older children: Young children are constrained by the rules that adults have made Older children understand that there are group standards for what is good or bad and they make their own rules
  29. 29. Moral Development Young children believe that behavior is totally right or totally wrong Older children are willing to consider that circumstances and situations make for legitimate differences in opinion
  30. 30. Moral Development Young children tend to judge an act by its consequences Older children switch to considering motivation rather than consequence
  31. 31. Moral Development Young children believe that bad behavior and punishment go together; the more serious the deed the harsher the punishment Older children are more interested in finding a “fair” punishment
  32. 32. Moral Development Stories for children present different levels of moral complexity that can stimulate discussions among children Working through dilemmas allow us to move from one level of moral judgment toward another Literature provides a means for children to rehearse and negotiate situations of conflict without risk, trying out alternative stances
  33. 33. Personality Development All learning is a combination of cognitive dimensions, affective or emotional responses, social relationships, and value orientation This is the matrix in which personality develops
  34. 34. Personality Development Maslow suggests that a person develops through a “hierarchy of needs” from basic animal-survival necessities to the “higher” needs that are more uniquely human and spiritual Literature can provide opportunities for people of all ages to satisfy higher-level needs
  35. 35. Personality Development In considering any theory of development, we need to remember that children’s prior experiences with books and their individual backgrounds can have an impact on their responses to literature
  36. 36. Guides for Ages and Stages Adults who are responsible for children’s reading need to be aware of child development and learning theory and of children’s interests They must keep in mind characteristics and needs of children at different ages and stages of develpopment (See Books for Ages and Stages)
  37. 37. Response in the Classroom Children’s perceptions and understandings are revealed in many different ways, as the children choose and talk about books, and as they write, paint, play, or take part in other classroom activities
  38. 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 from the page to the reader Response is dynamic and open to continuous change as readers anticipate, infer, remember, reflect, interpret, and connect.
  39. 39. Theories of Response The “meaning” and significance of stories will vary from reader to reader, depending on age and personal experience as well as experience with literature Reader response theory points out that readers approach works of literature in special ways
  40. 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 language says as an end in itself
  41. 41. Theories of Response Rosenblatt suggests that reading usually involves two roles, or stances In the efferent stance the reader is concerned with what information can be learned from the reading In the aesthetic stance the reader is concerned with the experience of the reading itself
  42. 42. Types of Response The most common expressions of response to literature are statements, oral or written Such responses are known as literary criticism Children’s artwork, informal drama, and other book extension activities also provide windows on response
  43. 43. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Recognizing Patterns of Change) Every child is a unique reader and every classroom represents a different composite of experiences with literature and with the world Researchers and teachers have discovered that students respond differently at various grade levels
  44. 44. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Younger children are motor oriented As listeners, they respond with their whole selves They use body movements to try out some of the story’s action
  45. 45. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Actions to demonstrate meaning might be given as answers to a teacher’s questions Children spontaneously act out stories or bits of stories using actions, roles, and conventions of literature in their dramatic play
  46. 46. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Younger Children - Preschool to Primary) Their responses deal with parts rather than wholes Children at this age use embedded language in answering direct questions about stories
  47. 47. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Children in Transition - Primary to Middle grades) Children during this age develop from being listeners to readers. Children become more adept at summarizing in place of straight retelling when asked to talk about stories Children classify and categorize stories
  48. 48. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Children in Transition - Primary to Middle grades) Children at this age attribute personal reactions to the story itself Children judge a story on the basis of their response to it They use borrowed characters, events, themes, and patterns from literature in their writing
  49. 49. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Older Children - Middle grades to Middle school) Older children express stronger preferences, especially for personal reading 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. 50. Interpreting Children’s Responses (Older Children - Middle grades to Middle school) They can disembed ideas from a story and put them in more generalized terms Older children go beyond categorizing stories toward a more analytical perception They use some critical terminology
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