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ItemTeachers' storytelling techniques and comprehension of narratives in Singaporean preschool childrenSeet, Belinda ( 2004)There is growing body of evidence supporting the many connections between competent comprehension of narratives and the effective use of storytelling strategies. This study d?fines the cluster of concepts related to storytelling and narrative comprehension in young children and synthesizes the research on the role of storytelling in children's language development, in this case, the development of narrative comprehension. A critical review on storytelling beliefs and practices of preschool teachers in Singapore revealed that the espoused theories of the benefits of effective storytelling have not been distinguished from their own practices in the classrooms. This is due to a set of mitigating circumstances. The study notes the teachers' changing attitudes towards the use of more engaging storytelling techniques as emerging evidence suggest that a more engaging storytelling approach facilitates children's perspective taking and later abstract thought. This research also notes that there is a need for an inclusion of a more comprehensive storytelling course in the present Early Childhood training programme, thus identifying implications for understanding preschool teachers' development as storytellers. This study provides direction for further research in children's responses to storytelling.
ItemThe unreal, whizzpopping goose-sitters club: popular children's fiction: an analysis of structure, literary features and ideologyBrownscombe, Sandra M. ( 2000)Children are not so serious as grownups and they love to laugh (Dahl 1988, p81). A survey of children's choices of fiction from their school libraries over a 15 month period revealed six authors who were more popular than all others. The works of these popular authors were the subject of analysis in this study. The aim of the study was to identify characteristics which might explain the popularity of this fiction, and to recognize literary features which may indicate a change taking place in the whole body of children's literature. To achieve this aim the study proposed the benefits of taking an inclusive view of the canon of children's literature. Three aspects of the fiction were then subjected to the analysis tools of literary criticism. Some factors of overall significance emerged from the research. A number of these indicate reasons for children's choice of these authors. It was found that the use of textual support structures was common to the work of more than half of the authors, who then constructed simple linear plots, using devices such as exclamation to maintain interest. However, the research also revealed that it was possible for support structures to be used innovatively to construct more complex plots. Another important factor was the use of humour which could be combined with other genres and literary features to create a complex literary experience. Elements indicative of change in the whole body of children's literature were identified in the works of two authors, but did not feature strongly in any other. Analysis of ideology revealed support for the status quo or tolerance of antisocial behaviour. Only one author advocated respect for all others, perhaps indicating that negative values are not an essential element for popularity. Other significant factors emerging from the research support adoption of the inclusive view of canon in regard to children's literature. This view allows recognition and acknowledgment of authors of popular fiction through literary criticism and has positive implications for young readers.
ItemAn exploration of gender-neutral picture book characters with young childrenAlexander, Kate ( 2007)This study explored the use of gender-neutral characters in children's picture books with young children. The use of gender-neutral characters (characters that appear to be of indeterminate gender and display no `markers' that identify them as being either male or female) has increased in children's books with little research on the use of these characters with young children. Of the research that has been conducted, the majority has been conducted within developmental discourses. This study framed an exploration of these characters using concepts from both developmental discourses and feminist poststructuralist discourses to explore young children's reception of these characters and the possibilities and limitations using these concepts to explore gender-neutral characters created. A small-scale qualitative approach was employed with observations and interviews conducted with a group of nine preschool aged children. The conclusions both supported past research specifically around the use of gender stereotypes influencing the assignment of gender to gender-neutral characters and also challenged past research around the role of the concept of egocentric thinking in assignment of gender to gender-neutral characters by young children. It has also been highlighted how the use of concepts drawn from feminist poststructuralist discourses could add to and expand explorations around this topic.