Reading literature offers children the opportunity to grasp meanings in narrative form that are important. The words of other people, whether spoken or written, allow us to reflect on the consequences and possibilities of our own experiences. Just as I am affected by human tragedy in my world, I am also affected by the tragedy of characters in books. So too, as readers, we can ‘enter into’ the lives of book characters and share their joy, amusement, fear, love, curiosity and sadness. For some, children’s books provide their first experience of hatred, death, disease, isolation, war, divorce and so on. These aspects of the human condition are important to understand without necessarily needing to experience them. Books allow us to reflect on these and other experiences and come to a greater understanding of our world and ourselves. As well, literature can act both as mortar to build rich personal and textual histories, and as a bridge between our lives and the lives of others. In this article I will outline research on narrative and literature that helps us to understand the transforming power of literature. I will also discuss the impact that the loss of literary experiences might have on children.
|Keywords:||Literature, Reader Response, Narrative Theory, Learning, Literacy|
Master, New College, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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