In an age of globalisation and digital evolution, the literature curricula can be valued as contributing to a humanistic ideal or regarded as an anachronism. The goal of fostering reading habits through literature is to improve literacy standards and, significantly, help readers to learn about themselves and the wider world. In teacher education programs it is imperative to develop an appreciation of what literature can offer beyond the utilitarian aspect of encouraging language skills. The ‘usefulness’ of literature lies in the empathy it can engender towards others and the inspiration of opening the reader to new worlds. Critical awareness is important so readers can judge the accuracy and import of information they receive. Literature can offer pleasure and learning through an appreciation of ideas from a range of authors, inspire creative ideas, improve vocabulary and develop literacy skills (reading, writing, speaking, viewing). Examples are drawn from texts used in the Australian National Curriculum which includes literature by authors from different cultures of the world. Literature is a window onto great occasions in history, providing unique perspectives which can engage the imagination. Access to literature may be through the iPod, the web and those ICT applications which have potential to complement the reading experience, engage interest and enhance learning outcomes. The experience of the ‘book’ (the linear printed book format) can be enriched through multi-modality.
|Keywords:||Literature Education, Literacy, Multiliteracies, Primary Education, Preservice teachers|
Coordinator, Bachelor of Education (Primary Education), Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Technology, Lindfield, NSW, Australia