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Early Childhood Research & Practice is in the process of moving to the early childhood special education program at Loyola University Chicago after 17 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.We are delighted by the opportunity to “pass the torch” to our Loyola early childhood colleagues.Some critics, educators, librarians, and others involved with children and their books assert that literature (except for nonfiction) is art and need not be concerned too much with being verifiable.
Nonfiction, or informational books, have openly didactic purposes: to foster an interest in inquiry and involvement in the world (Mc Elmeel, 1995) or to inform, instruct, and enlighten (Freedman, 1992).
Nonfiction literature is expected to make clear distinctions between fact, theory, and opinion.
Rosenblatt (1995) categorizes readers' involvement in a text along a continuum.
At one end is aesthetic reading, in which the person is drawn into the story and participates through identification with characters. At the other end of the continuum is efferent reading, in which the reader is primarily interested in gaining information.
In general, literature is said to provide characters and events with which children can identify and through which they can consider their own actions, beliefs, and emotions.
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The characters and situations in books introduce children to what the world may look like through others' eyes and offer a chance to further construct their own views of self and the world.
In a study of picture books reviewed or recommended in (the National Association for the Education of Young Children's practitioner journal), Reese (2001) found a similar increase.
During the 9-year period from 1945 to 1954, 37 children's books were recommended, while 904 were recommended between 19.
In their relationships with books, young children may operate all along Rosenblatt's continuum, using books for both enjoyment and learning.
Literature is also seen as having several psychosocial uses for young children.