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School Libraries Motivate Kids to Read

School Libraries Motivate Kids to ReadSchool Libraries Motivate Kids to Read

Direct communication between kids and their favorite writers and illustrators is an effective method for increasing children’s interest in books, said John Stephens, emeritus professor in English at Macquarie University in Sydney, at the 2nd Seminar of Teachers and Officials of Public Libraries last week.

The seminar focused on the common methods of promoting reading culture among students. Stephens said Australian schools “always welcome activists in children’s literature,” ISNA reported.

As the seminar’s special guest, Stephens stressed the significant role of schools and noted that teachers and education centers are influential in promoting reading among children. On Australian schools he said: “Reading books is prioritized. Presences of libraries in schools motivate children to read.”

He said schools should have a reading plan and during the allocated time, children should be able to choose their favorite books. “In Australia, children are allowed to visit other classrooms,” Stephens said noting that “they are considered independent people having their own unique taste.” Such methods help them discover their personal identity and interest.

Another method to elicit children’s interest in books, he said is to invite writers, poets and illustrators to meet children in schools. This can greatly encourage them in reading.

Stephens’s major focus is on children’s literature. Since retirement, he has continued to supervise a wide range of higher degree research topics within this field. His own research centers on the relation between texts produced for children (especially literature and film) and cultural literacy and practices.

He is the author of Language and Ideology in Children’s Fiction (1992) and Retelling Stories, Framing Culture (1998, with Robyn McCallum). He has also authored 100 articles and two books on discourse analysis. Stephens is a former president of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature, and currently Editor of International Research in Children’s Literature. In 2007 he received the 11th International Brothers Grimm Award, in recognition of his contribution to research in children’s literature.

 

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