Children’s Literature ENGL 209-003
Professor Margaret Cox
Assignment: Final Paper
Reflection of my Experiences
Most people have read books as a child or have been read and of course some of them were more memorable than others. There are some courses that are mandatory as an aspiring teacher; however some are more interesting than others. Children’s Literature to me was one of the more interesting ones because it causes you to reflect on your childhood and the books that you have read. This course requires you to read different genres of books thru the eyes of a child as an adult and it prepares you teach this literature to children. There were a number of requirements in order to complete this course. As I remeness about the semester, I thought this was going to be an easy class because how hard could it be to read children’s literature.
My first assignment was to write my literary biography and then read it to the class. My thoughts were oh no this professor want me to write about all the books I have read of the book that were read to me as a child well I guess this is an appropriate assignment. Once I read my biography, the class had an opportunity to ask questions because of the size of the class some of colleagues did not get the opportunity to read theirs’ but the professor collected them all to ensure that everyone completed the assignment. Now the real work begins for every book that I was going to read throughout the semester, I was required to keep a response log.
The first genre of books I read was fairytales. Before I could read any books our professor posted an article on Blackboard entitled Beyond Disney: Reading and Writing Traditional and Alternative Fairy Tales in order to gain background information about fairytales. After reading the article, I had to record my opinion of the article in my response log. Once I read the article and discussed it in class, I proceeded to read books like Grimm’s Fairytales with some of classic like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood to name a few. These books brought back childhood memories but I would not read the original versions to young children because they were too graphic.
The second genre of books were Folklore and Heritage, all children need to know about their folklore and heritage. I read The People Could Fly, Cornrows, Zinzi and DeShawn Days. The People Could Fly was a book of black folktales in which the writer incorporates the dialect spoken by African slaves as she tells the traditional stories told by the story tellers. It took my class one class period to decipher these stories. My next assignment was to read Cornrows, Zinzi, and DeShawn Days. These three books were a little more modern and in my opinion were designed to boost the self- esteem of young black children. My professor asked us to get into groups and she assigned certain stories to each group. We were asked why are these stories important to a black person, were the illustrations in the books appropriate and would you teach it to a classroom and if so what age students?
The third genre of books were Fantasy and its Implications, every child has an imagination some more than others. I read the book for maybe the twentieth time and then viewed the movie for the first time Where the Wild Things Are. However, this time I had a different perspective about the book after I view the movie. As a class we were asked what are some of the issues raised in the story and how would you incorporate it in a lesson. This book was a coming of age story because the protagonist, Max, grows up as he goes off into his imaginary world; indeed, when he returns to reality he has a new perspective of how things really are.
The first three genres were appropriate for primary grades and the final genre of books Social and Historical Context of Young Adult Literature which was appropriate for upper elementary and middle school. There were four books, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Lord of the Flies, The New Tribe and Pemba’s Song. The only one of these books that I had previously read was To Kill a Mocking Bird which I think is a classic. For this book and Lord of the Flies we were placed in groups again this time different groups because my professor wanted us to work with colleagues we had not worked with before. Because these books are long and some people may even say boring, we were instructed to come up with ideas to keep the class interested in the books. The New Tribe was my favorite book that I read this semester because I could place myself in the protagonist shoes as he felt “unhomed” in the novel. Pemba’s Song the last book of the semester was another coming of age story.
As I previously stated there were a number of assignment in order to complete this course. I was required to write to book reports of ten books, five in each report, a research paper and this paper. The first book report was based on Irish Folklore and the second on the different types of families. I chose these two topics because of where I live and want to teach. I would not like any student in my class room to feel left out and I think we all need to know about each-others cultures and beliefs. My research paper was based on “unhomeliness” and I used the novel The New Tribe as my primary source. It was a five page paper. Throughout the semester I had an assignment which was to complete ten hours of service learning hours in a school setting. I enjoyed this assignment because it gave me an opportunity to be in the classroom and to help some fifth grade students write a short poem. The classroom teacher allowed me to assist her as she read from their social studies books and I had the opportunity to ask the students question in order to see if they comprehended what was read to them.
I must say this course was very enlightening and I learnt different ways to teach a text that may be boring to some students. The theory aspect of teaching children’s literature is easy because anyone could have ideas of what should be done, but when it comes to the practical aspect it is not so easy because you may be faced with a number of obstacles; therefore, as a teacher you should always have a backup plan. I definitely learnt this during the course of the semester.
Barchers, Susan. "Beyond Disney: Reading and Writing Traditional and Alternative Fairy
Tales." 12.2 (1988): 135-150. Web. 13 Dec 2010.
Emecheta, Buchi. The New Tribe. Heinemann Publishers, 2000. Print.
Golding, William. Lord of The Flies. New York: The Berkley Publishing Company Group, 1954.
Grimm, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm. Grimm's Fairy tales. New York: Pantheon Books, 1944.
Hamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Print.
Hegamin, Tonya, and Marilyn Nelson. Pemba's Song. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1960. Print.
Medina, Tony. DeShawn Days. New York: Lee and Low Books Inc, 2001. Print.
Sendak, Maurice. Where The Wild Things Are. Harper Trophy, 1991. Print.
Velasco, Lynette. Zinzi. New York: Worldwide Publications Inc., 1997. Print
Yarbrough, Camille. Cornrows. New York: The Putnam and Grosset Group, 1996. Print.