There is a key element that can unite all areas of the Australian Curriculum whether it be content areas, cross curriculum priorities or general capabilities. Let us explore this key – Picture Books.
Research has long shown the correlation between higher academic achievement and children who read daily for pleasure. However, the benefits of engaging regularly with quality literature extends well beyond academic achievement. It has also long been recognised that literature can be a powerful tool for developing children’s social and emotional well-being.
Literature can provide role models for children as well as a context for discussing morals and values. Children’s literature can also be used to extend children’s knowledge and understanding of themselves and those who may be different culturally, socially or historically.
With this examined briefly, we can begin to see how a well selected collection of children’s literature, coupled with sound practice, has the potential to provide a strong linking thread across the Australian Curriculum.
When working with picture books it is important to consider how the listeners or readers are responding to the text. It is important to let go of any notions of control to direct the responses and input of children. But rather let the discussion free flow so that children are given the opportunity to develop their oral language skills in a non-threatening environment.
Building a Picture Book Collection
Choosing age-appropriate material is vital to the success of language and literacy development in your students.
I have taken the hard work out of finding such books, by creating a list of book recommendations that are suitable for each Primary School grade listed in the Australian Curriculum. I have even linked each book to their most relevant curriculum areas although you will quickly see that many of the books address multiple curriculum requirements.
You can find these lists here:
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Foundation Year
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 1
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 2
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 3
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 4
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 5
Picture Books to Support the Australian Curriculum: Year 6
Well selected and used picture books can be powerful tools for educators. The magic of literature includes elements such as: helping children view others as equal members of society, promoting a more positive sense of self, helping children learn about the world, helping to cope with stress, providing insights into problems, and the list could go on.
When these elements are viewed in line with the Australian Curriculum it is clear to see that well selected and carefully used children’s picture books can and should be a vital key used by educators to unlock the Australian Curriculum, making the content more manageable for teachers and students alike.
Do you use picture books in the classroom? If so, I’d love to know some of your favourites for the grade you teach! Feel free to tell me by leaving a comment below.
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