Educating for values and diversity through culturally inclusive children’s literature

Helen Adam and Laurie Harper

 

Children’s literature is frequently integrated across the curriculum to supplement and extend literacy learning. However, the benefits of quality literature extend well beyond academic skills and achievement. Literature can be a powerful tool for developing children’s social and emotional wellbeing. Children who read show stronger ability to display empathy, consider multiple perspectives and to consider the opinions and beliefs of others (Harper, 2016; Mar & Oatley, 2008; Kidd & Castano, 2013). In particular, quality inclusive texts representing diverse perspectives can assist in developing children’s understanding of, and respect for, diversity (Boutte, Hopkins & Waklatsi, 2008; Harper & Brand, 2010).

Developing these qualities in children lies at the heart of the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum which highlights the potential of literature to help ‘shape personal, cultural and national identities’ (ACARA, 2016), as well as create the potential for ‘enriching students’ lives and expanding the scope of their experience’ (ACARA, 2016).

Literature ‘is also valuable in developing the imaginative application of ideas, flexibility of thought, ethical and critical reflection and motivation to learn’ (ACARA, 2016). This PETAA Paper highlights research-based, best instructional practice, to assist teachers to select and use literature with students as they implement the Australian Curriculum: English. In doing so, teachers create citizens with a strong sense of identity, social justice and sense of place in the world.


General capabilities of the Australian Curriculum and the potential of literature

The Australian Curriculum includes seven general capabilities, shown in Figure 1, which ‘play a significant role in the Australian Curriculum in equipping young Australians to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century’ (ACARA, 2016).

Overview graphic for Gneral Capabiliteis from ACARA website

Figure 1: General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum

Referenced PETAA publications

For The Love of Reading: Supporting Struggling Readers

 Put it in Writing

Frequently, the evidence of engagement with literature is demonstrated with academic achievement in areas including reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary and numeracy. Children who read daily for pleasure can show academic achievement of up to a year and half greater than children who do not (OECD, 2011). Lowe (2016) in the recent PETAA publication For the love of reading, refers to the work of Krashen (2004) highlighting the numerous literacy benefits associated with children engaging in free voluntary reading (FVR) on a daily basis at school.

Moreover, quality inclusive literature has the potential to develop critical and creative thinking; intercultural understanding; personal and social capability; and, ethical understanding.

Four wheel diagrams to show the organising elements of General Capabilities

Figures 2: Organising elements within the four General Capabilities of Critical and Creative Thinking, Intercultural Understanding, Personal and Social Capability, and Ethical Understanding

Figure 2 (ACARA, 2016) shows these four capabilities and the key ideas of each. In the Australian Curriculum each of these capabilities identifies key ideas which are broken down into elements followed by a learning continuum, and links to learning areas and supporting documents. For example, the key ideas of the personal and social capabilities are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social management. These elements are further delineated to identify qualities such as: considering emotions, empathy, ethics/morality/honesty, resilience, self-knowledge, awareness of diversity and multiple perspectives, ability to consider the opinions and beliefs of others, social justice orientation, friendship and cooperation, respect for others, and cultural/social/historical awareness.Teachers can explore the General Capabilities further on the ACARA website.

Evidence from numerous studies into the social and emotional benefits of sharing literature with children shows strong correlation with the qualities embedded within these General Capabilities. Children’s literature can assist children in promoting social justice, social viewpoints, personal qualities, emotional intelligence and healing and, empathy for others (Harper, 2016; Mar & Oatley, 2008; Kidd & Castano, 2013).

Moreover, literature can provide role models for children through the exploration of character traits through portrayal of qualities such as friendship, cooperation, respect and honesty (Kara- Soterious & Rose, 2008). Values, customs and behaviours can be examined through literature to ‘promote new ways of being and thinking’ (O’Neill, 2010 page 41). Additionally, children’s literature can be used to extend children’s knowledge and understandings of themselves and those who may be different culturally, socially or historically (Saxby, 1997).

Multicultural literature: a key to achieve equitable outcomes for all students

To achieve the goals of the general capabilities, students need to experience affirmation of their identities and learn how to live and work together in a diverse and inclusive world (Derman- Sparks & Edwards, 2010). This necessitates that students have access to authentic portrayals of diversity in the books they are exposed to, thus assisting to achieve equitable outcomes for all students (Morgan, 2009; Gollnick & Chinn, 2006). However, many classrooms contain book collections not reflective of diversity (Adam & Harper, 2016; David, 2001; Roberts, Dean, & Holland, 2005). Figure 3 shows the percentage of race portrayal by skin colour in the children’s books with human characters, available across five long day care centres, in Western Australia in 2011.

Race portrayal in 2011 study

Pie graph for race portrayal in 2011 study

Figure 3: Percentage of race portrayal in children’s books from 2011 study (Adam & Harper, 2016); soley caucasian 74%, predominantly caucasian 12%, racial diversioty 12%, soley one other race 3%

Further, in most books portraying more than one race the main characters were Caucasian with people of colour playing only support roles or in many cases, background roles in the illustrations only. In addition, the majority of books representing races other than Caucasian focused on more exotic aspects of culture such as celebrations or traditional stories (Adam & Harper, 2016). This reflects other evidence that stereotyping, lack of authenticity and misunderstood worldviews, perspectives and ideologies often emerge in the portrayal of non-dominant cultures in books (David, 2001; Roberts, Dean, & Holland, 2005; Adam & Harper, 2016).

This is not to say that the many high quality texts currently in classrooms are not of value, rather it is a matter of being aware and sensitive to the nature of the book collections in use in classrooms to ensure an equitable representation of diversity. It is particularly important that inclusion and use of multicultural texts becomes a natural part of the curriculum rather than a project addressed only at certain times of the year such as festivals, holidays and multicultural days. Selected texts should not merely focus on diversity as ‘special’ but incidental in good quality literature.

Linking the research to the general capabilities and the Early Years Learning Framework outcomes

Table 1 links the previously outlined evidence-based outcomes with specific examples from the general capabilities that inclusive literature fosters. While the key focus of this paper is on links to the Australian Curriculum (AC), the third column in Table 1 shows specific links to the sub elements of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) in order to demonstrate compatibility with the AC outcomes.

These examples are not exhaustive — many more can be found in the AC and EYLF documents. Research shows that literature can develop many of these outcomes such as a sense of social justice, positive social viewpoints, understanding of values and mores and many others (Kara-Soterious and Rose, 2008; Mar & Oatley, 2008; Kidd & Castano, 2013; Harper, 2016).


Qualities that
literature can develop
Examples from AC
General Capabilities 
Examples from EYLF
sub elements
A sense of social justice Appreciate diverse perspectives
Personal and Social Capability: Key Idea: Social Awareness
Students learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Outcome 1: sub-element 4: page 24 
Positive social viewpoints Social awareness; recognise ethical concepts
Ethical Understanding: Key Idea: Reasoning in decision making and actions
Students response to diversity with respect
Outcome 2: sub-element 2: page 27
A sense of wellbeing Self-awareness; empathise with others
Personal and Social Capability: Key Idea: self awareness
Students become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
Outcome 3: sub-element 1: page 31
Understandings of values
and mores
Exploring values, rights and responsibilities
Ethical Understanding: Key Ideas: Understanding ethical concepts and issues; exploring values, rights and responsibilities
Students learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Outcome 1: sub-element 4: page 24
Personal qualities Recognise emotions; recognise personal qualities and achievements
Personal and Social Capability: Key Ideas: self-awareness; self-management
Students become aware of fairness
Outcome 2: sub-element 3: page 28
Emotional intelligence Become confident resilient and adaptable
Personal and Social Capability: Key Ideas: self-awareness; self-management
Students feel safe, secure and supported
Outcome 1: sub-element 1: page 21
Emotional healing Recognise emotions; Considering and developing multiple perspectives
Personal and Social Capability: Key Ideas: self-awareness; self-management
Intercultural Understanding: Key idea: interacting and empathising with others.
Students become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
Outcome 3: sub-element 1: page 31

Table 1: Key outcomes of literature aligned to the Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework

Text selection: Building an inclusive culturally diverse literature collection

Selection of quality multicultural literature begins with the same criteria that apply to selecting quality children’s literature in general: the literary elements of plot, characterisation, setting, theme, and point of view must be interwoven to create a convincing story in an age-appropriate manner. Illustrations should be authentic and accurate and depict real people and real situations. These realistic elements are instrumental in students’ ability to comprehend text and make meaningful connections to their own lives.

Other important characteristics of quality literature include believable characters and realistic life styles with which students can identify, authentic language, and historical accuracy. Ideally, selected children’s books represent a variety of settings and themes within genres and cultures which provide opportunities for students to consider multiple perspectives and values; convey respect for diverse cultures and speak to all students (Ewing, 2012; Harper & Brand, 2010).

Research undertaken in the USA by the co-author has led to the development of a Checklist for selecting and evaluating multicultural picture storybooks (Harper and Brand, 2010 — see Table 2) that can be used to evaluate the books currently in classrooms and as a guide when adding to collections and planning units of work. It can also assist in providing discussion points with students around texts, illustrations, themes, viewpoints and perspectives and with older students as a doorway to author studies and literary criticism.


Author Are the author / illustrator qualified to write or illustrate material relating to the culture(s) portrayed? How? Have the author/illustrator conducted related research? If not, have they lived among (either as a member of or as a visitor to) the groups of people represented in the book?
Story
Is the story interesting to students?
Does the story contain authentic language?
Are factual and historical details accurate?
Overall, is this a high-quality story, independent of its multicultural aspects?
Characters Are characters believable?
Are universal human emotions, attitudes, needs, and experiences reflected?
Do characters represent people from a variety of cultural groups?
Are life styles realistic?
Are females as well as males depicted in leadership roles?
Setting Does the story reflect a variety of places and times?
Are urban, suburban, and rural settings represented realistically?
Are cultural settings and geographical features represented accurately?
Plot Are real situations depicted?
Are rigid boundaries of class, culture, religion and ethnicity dismissed?
Are various conflicts presented for students to explore and discuss?
How are conflicts resolved?
Theme Does the story offer students a variety of situations, concepts, and new ideas on which to reflect, question
and consider?
Are values explored, rather than preached?
Are there lessons to be learned?
Are students exposed to multiple perspectives and values?
How does the story promote understanding of our diverse society?

Illustrations Are diverse populations represented?
Is there diversity represented within cultural groups?
Are characters realistically and genuinely represented?
Do the illustrations avoid reinforcing societal stereotypes?
Do the illustrations and text use authenticity to demonstrate respect for other cultures?
Do the illustrations and text convey characteristics common to all people and cultures?

Developmental
appropriateness
Is the story age-appropriate; can students understand what is presented?
Is the story individually appropriate in terms of students’ family backgrounds?
Does the story reflect the social, linguistic, and cultural contexts in which students live or to which they can
relate?
Will the story encourage meaningful and relevant discussions?

Table 2: Checklist for selecting and evaluation of multicultural picture storybooks (Harper and Brand, 2010)

The aim of this checklist is to empower teachers to evaluate and select quality literature by providing a flexible and adaptable tool, to be used in whole or in part, according to instructional needs. It is not intended to be a checklist to fund books that ‘tick’ all the criteria – but rather as a lens through which teachers can carefully consider selection of diverse texts.

Using the checklist: An example

Table 3 shows a teacher’s use of the checklist in Table 2 with three Australian children’s books. Note that by adding comments throughout the checklist as in this example, stimulus points can be collated for working with the texts in the classroom.


Checklist criteria
Sam’s bush journey, Sally Morgan & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (2009)
The perfect flower girl, Chandab Tahgred & Binni Talib (2012)
The little refugee. Anh Do & Suzanne Do (2011) 
1. Author
 

 
Are the author / illustrator qualified to write or illustrate material relating to the culture(s) portrayed? How?
Yes, both authors and the illustrator are of Australian Aboriginal descent and live in Australia.
Yes, the author is an Australian-born Lebanese Muslim. She has coauthored The Glory Garage, about growing up Lebanese Muslim in Australia.
The author is Vietnamese writing about his own experiences.
Have the author/illustrator conducted related research? If not, have they lived among (either as a member of or as a visitor to) the groups of people represented in the book?
Yes, they live in Australia and are award winning authors and artists who are from the cultural group represented in the book.
Yes, the author grew up as a member of a Lebanese Muslim Australian family. She seeks to promote understanding between Anglo-Australian culture and Islamic culture in Australia through her writing.
The author was a refugee whose family sought freedom in Australia at the end of the Vietnamese war.
2. Story
Sam’s bush journey
The perfect flower girl
The little refugee
Is the story interesting to students?
Yes — themes will likely resonate with students and spark connection to/ or interest in Australian settings, overcoming fears, etc.
Yes — students are likely to identify with commonalities contained in the story and gain insight into the differences found in the story and their own lives.
Yes — opportunities for students’ experience and understanding are present. Potential exists for students to develop empathy and understanding of situations facing themselves or others in their class/community.
Does the story contain
authentic language?

Language likely to be familiar and/or authentic to readers, particularly relating to the Australian bush
Yes, authentic language is embedded within the story. A Lebanese glossary is provided in the book for further reference.
Language and vocabulary suited to the story
Are factual and historical
details accurate?

Some bush, waterhole, features of Australian bush settings
The author includes a note about Muslim wedding protocols and how the family portrayed within the story has embraced influences and traditions from other cultures and incorporated them into the story.
Yes, this story is based on the true experiences of the author as a child refugee following the Vietnamese war.
3. Characters
 Sam’s bush journey  The perfect flower girl
The little refugee
Are characters believable?
Are universal human emotions, attitudes, needs, and experiences reflected?
Yes, the emotions experienced by Sam are likely to resonate with students. Sam’s Nanna portrays a strong, wise and nurturing female figure.
Yes, the illustrator has portrayed a range of human expression and emotion in the characters that includes happiness, excitement, nervousness and pride.
Yes, the full range of human emotions are depicted in characters as the protagonist engages in various conflicts highlighted in the story.
Do characters represent
people from a variety of
cultural groups?
Characters are both Australian and Aboriginal and this is represented in the illustrations rather than the text. However, the story could relate to any group due to the universal themes. Just the Lebanese – Muslim group Yes, the story also highlights issues relating to adapting to a new country/acceptance of others.
Are life styles realistic? *Yes *Yes
*Yes
 Are females as well as males depicted in leadership roles? Strong female character portrayed in Nanna
Mix of traditional roles showing leadership characteristics of both genders
*Yes
4. Setting
Sam’s bush journey
The perfect flower girl The little refugee
Does the story reflect a variety of places and times? Set over one 24-hour period; yet a timeless story
Mix of settings
Yes, authentic Vietnamese and Australian settings are depicted
Are urban, suburban, and rural settings represented realistically?
Illustrations are stylised through authentic Aboriginal art complemented with authentic language appropriate to the description of the rural setting.
Yes, clear descriptions of each step and setting relate to the story
Yes, a variety of settings are portrayed realistically
Are cultural settings and geographical features represented accurately?
*Yes
Cultural settings are realistic
Vietnamese settings, war conditions, sailing, and piracy on the open ocean are authentic and contain accurate details.
5. Plot
Sam’s bush journey The perfect flower girl
The little refugee
Are real situations depicted?
Are rigid boundaries of class, culture, religion and ethnicity dismissed?

Real situation depicted. Universal themes apply across cultural boundaries.
The situation of marriage and its associated details, preparations and associated emotions of the wedding ritual are conveyed during the story.
Yes, those of being a casualty of war, adapting to a new country/life, and acceptance of difference are depicted.
Are various conflicts presented for students to explore and discuss?
Yes, universal themes of fear, trust and resilience.
Yes, universal themes of celebration, doubt, fear and pride.
Being a victim of war and a refugee.
How are conflicts resolved?
Support of loved ones; personal growth and trust.
Support of loved ones; resilience.
Acceptance is stressed at the end of the main character’s journey; the power of positive thinking and faith.
6. Theme
Sam’s bush journey The perfect flower girl
The little refugee
Does the story offer students a variety of situations, concepts, and new ideas on which to reflect, question, and consider?
*Yes
*Yes
*Yes
Are values explored, rather than preached?
*Yes
Yes, those of Muslim marriage and associated traditions
*Yes
Are there lessons to be
learned?

*Yes
*Yes
*Yes
Are students exposed to
multiple perspectives and
values?

Yes — Sam and his Nanna.
Yes, within the family.
Yes, opportunities for reflection on immigration as well as outsider and insider perspectives of belonging.
7. Illustrations
Sam’s bush journey
The perfect flower girl The little refugee
Are diverse populations represented? One race/culture One race/culture – variation of dress and lifestyle within that culture *Yes
Is there diversity represented within cultural groups? Yes, diversity of generations *Yes *Yes
Are characters realistically and genuinely represented? Represented through traditional Aboriginal art techniques combined with illustrator’s personal style Animated style of illustrations capturing emotion and activity Yes, with the full range of human emotions being depicted
Do the illustrations avoid reinforcing societal stereotypes? *Yes Yes – contemporary depictions of Muslims in Australia *Yes
Do the illustrations and text use authenticity to demonstrate respect for other cultures? The traditional style of artwork has the potential to enhance respect for Aboriginal culture Yes, for exzample, some of the women are depicted wearing traditional Muslim dress while others are in contemporary dress – this can assist in disrupting stereotypes.
*Yes
Do the illustrations and text convey characteristics common to all people and cultures?  *Yes  Yes, celebration of a wedding  *Yes
8. Developmental appropriateness
Sam’s bush journey
The perfect flower girl
The little refugee
Is the story age appropriate; can students understand what is presented? Yes, suitable to a range of ages from early to primary childhood Yes, students will be able to make connections to the students portrayed in the story Yes, suitable for primary years 3-6
Is the story individually appropriate in terms of students’ family backgrounds? Universal themes will resonate with all students with particular application to Aboriginal students Universal themes will resonate with all students with particular application to Muslim students Universal themes will resonate with all students with particular application to immigrant or refugee students
Does the story reflect the social, linguistic, and cultural contexts in which students live or to which they can relate?  *Yes Yes, every culture has traditions, ceremonies, rituals and emotions around weddings and other celebrations *Yes
Will the story encourage
meaningful and relevant
discussions?
 Yes, the story will provoke discussion around fears and family Yes, the story will provoke discussions around the traditions of weddings Yes, the story will provoke discussion of being a refugee, victim of war and acceptance of differences.

Table 3: Key outcomes of literature aligned to the Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework | * Cells containing a simple ‘Yes’ contain supporting detail in earlier sections.

Suggested strategies for using multicultural literature

Strategy of pairing texts

A series of lessons could be built around deconstructing then comparing and contrasting Sam’s bush journey (Morgan & Kwaymullina, 2009) and Where the wild things are (Sendak, 1963). Students could explore the themes of self-discovery, fear, agency and resilience. Lesson foci could include the use of vocabulary and literacy devices. A Venn diagram could be used to explore similarities and differences within the texts. Multimodal literacy could consider the artistic styles including (but not limited to) the use of colour, line, space, perspective and style. Students can create their own text linked to similar themes such as a desire of searching for meaning or sense of place. Such a unit of work could be built following ‘Model three –writing to evoke feeling’ from Put it in writing (Rossbridge, 2015).

Strategy of cross-curriculum integration

Seek out literature that supports content areas, general capabilities and crosscurriculum priorities. For example, incorporate The little refugee and Shaun Tan’s The arrival into a unit of work in History linked to  ACHASSK136 (ACARA, 2016).

Read and share the text through oral language sessions so that students are scaffolded before, during and after these sessions. Enable students to identify, discuss, report and ultimately write about the challenges faced by immigrants. Critical and multimodal literacy lessons could focus on the ways that Tan and Do have portrayed their messages. Compare the graphic novel approach of Tan and the text and image approach of Do.

 English for the Australian Curriculum link

Units of work from Foundation through to Secondary level, based around high quality literature texts and incorporating cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities can be accessed through the English for Australian Curriculum website.

Put it in Writing cover
Units of work based around quality literature texts can also be found in  Put it in writing: Context, text, language by Joanne Rossbridge, with Kathy Rushton (2016). This book provides effective evidence based strategies for building students’ understanding of texts in order to develop their ability to write their own texts.

A balanced book collection

While this paper aims to intentionally identify and use literature from and about diverse perspectives, many quality books that address diversity incidentally should also be a valuable part of every book collection. A good example is Bob Graham’s A bus called heaven, which reflects the diversity of the Australian community without making this the key focus. Many books with mono-cultural perspectives are high quality literature and should continue to be selected and used for the purposes of the teacher and interests of students.

Even books that are not found to be inclusive can be useful in exploring aspects of critical literacy, ethical and intercultural understandings, stereotypes and worldviews. However, we hope this paper raises teachers’ awareness of the importance of including diverse books in classrooms so that all students’ identities can be affirmed by seeing themselves reflected in the stories, characters, situations and emotions portrayed.

Equally important is the opportunity to learn about and develop respect for those different from themselves. This section highlights indicators of quality literature as well as teaching strategies for infusing literature into the curriculum.

Sourcing high quality literature

The website of The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) can support selection of books for the classroom. It contains lists of all award winning books, shortlisted and notable books. Book reviews are regularly included in the publication Reading Time

Other useful sources of book recommendations are: The Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards (found under the ‘What’s On’ tab)

Annotated lists of literature to support the Australian Curriculum can be purchased from Read Plus with publications including literature to support the General capabilities, the HASS Curriculum

Austlit: The Australian Literature Resource provides an online database of Australian literature and can be particular useful for sourcing culturally diverse books with particular sections dedicated to Aboriginal publications and Asian and Asian-Australian Children’s literature (Allan, 2106). While this is a subscription based database membership of a State library or the National Library of Australia includes access to Austlit (Allan, 2016)

A very useful webpage containing links to library collections and resources relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives is published by The University of Sydney

Effective practices with literature

Wolf (2003) recommends four literacy strategies associated with highly successful and effective teaching practices. These are outlined here and linked to recommended Australian resources to support students’ learning linked to the general capabilities of the Australian curriculum.

1—Read aloud daily

Teacher ‘read-alouds’ expose students to more complex texts than those they can read on their own. Teachers can draw attention to the images and how they combine with the text to contribute to meaning, and ways in which the illustrator portrays characters, events and viewpoints. Reading aloud can be a springboard to students’ further exploration of reading, writing or art. When students are read more complex texts than that they can read on their own, they develop comprehension and literary analysis skills, which has benefits for both reading and writing as well as ethical, critical and creative thinking (Wolf, 2008). Read alouds at every academic level by teachers should be an important part of each day. The minimum should be at least ten minutes each day, with evidence suggesting an optimum of 20–30 minutes.

Find Teaching strategies at Learner.org and tips on the Read Write Think website.

2—Daily independent reading/Free voluntary reading

Set aside a time each day when all students are expected to read a book of their own choosing. The evidence on the benefits is unequivocal: ‘no single literacy activity has a more positive affect on students’ comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than FVR’ (Krashen, cited by Lowe, 2016). Wolf (2003) suggests teachers use this time to rotate through the class over the week and engage for a few minutes with each student talking about what they are reading. This provides an opportunity for the teacher to collect evidence about reading practices, choices and comprehension as well as to develop reflective response in students as this practice develops students’ ideas and perspectives as well as comprehension skills.

3—Include a ‘recommended reading’ routine

Once a week or fortnightly, replace the FVR session with a ‘recommended reading’ session in which everyone, including the teacher reads a book recommended by a classmate. Students can create and display recommended reading posters to promote favourite texts. This encourages students to expand their repertoire of text types as well as providing opportunities to share responses as they develop literary analysis and reporting skills. Some students can be reluctant to try new books and this strategy provides a way in which students can ‘try before they buy’. A follow-up oral language session can encourage student discussion on the merits and craft of the books. This could be an opportunity to encourage students to engage with diverse literature that they may otherwise feel reluctant with which to engage.

4—Develop partnerships with parents

Wolf (2003) recommends teachers develop partnerships with parents by encouraging them to read to, and with their children regularly — no matter the age of the child. A weekly newsletter that includes reading tips for parents and open-ended discussion questions that stimulate students’ critical reflection and consideration of points of view can assist parents as they establish regular reading habits in their children. Initial questions about the craft of the author or illustrator are often enough to get the conversation flowing. Students and parents can use sticky notes to annotate their shared thoughts and responses to questions and the teacher can follow up on these to stimulate classroom discussion. Refer to the Parents’ guide to helping children with reading and writing at home Parents’ guide to helping children with reading and writing at home by Kaye Lowe.

List of Australian multicultural books

Alison, Lester (2014) Our Island, Puffin

Mirror
Baker, Jeannie (2010) Mirror, Walker Books Australia | PETAA Unit of work

Chandab, Taghr (2012) The Perfect Flower Girl, Allen and Unwin

One Minutes Silence

David, Metzenthen One Minute’s Silence (2014) Allen & Unwin | PETAA Unit of Work

The Little Refugee
Do, Anh The Little Refugee (2011) Allen & Unwin | PETAA Unit of Work

Fogorty, Renee (2010) Fair Skin Black Fella, Magabala Books

Fox, Mem (2006) Whoever You Are, Voyager Books

Germein, Katrina (2002) Big Rain Coming, Puffin Books  | Reading Australia Unit of Work

A Bus Called Heaven

Graham, Bob (2012) A Bus Called Heaven, Walker Books | PETAA Unit of Work

Jandamarra
Greenwood, Mark (2013) Jandamarra, Allen & Unwin | PETAA Unit of Work

Hashmi, Kerri (1999) You & Me, Murrawee, Puffin

Tea and Sugra Christmas

Jane, Jolly (2014) Tea And Sugar Christmas, National Library of Australia | PETAA Unit of Work

Lisa, Sarzin (2015) Stories for Simon, Random House Australia

Suri's Wall
Lucy, Estela (2015) Suri's Wall, Puffin | PETAA Unit of Work

Maxine, Kerr Anne (2014) Sorry Sorry, Riverbend Books

Morgan, Sally and Kwaymullina, E (2010) Sam’s Bush Journey, Little Hare Books

Pryor, Boori Monty (2010) Shake A Leg, Allen & Unwin

Saffioti, Trina (2011) Stolen Girl, Magabala Books

Sally, Morgan (2010) Me And My Dad, Little Hare Books

Sebastian, Azmen (2011) The Snake and the Boy, Riverbend Books

Tan, Shaun (2006) The Arrival, Lothian Children's Books | Reading Australia essay by Libby Gleeson

Tania, McCartney (2015) Australian Kids Through The Years, National Library of Australia

About the authors

Helen Adam is an academic lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University. She has lectured and written on the subject of children’s literature for the past ten years. Helen’s writing and research address the role and importance of quality literature in the social and emotional wellbeing of the child. Helen authored the chapter Children’s Literature in both the first and second editions of Language, Literacy and early childhood education (Fellowes & Oakley, 2e 2014) and served as a judge for Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2015 and 2016. Helen’s lecturing and writing highlight the potential and importance of quality literature in developing critical and creative thinking, ethical understandings, personal and social capabilities and intercultural understandings – all of which are highlighted in the Australian Curriculum and The Early Years Learning Framework, and are important to all children. She is currently undertaking her Doctor of Philosophy studies on the topic: ‘Investigating the use of children’s literature to support principles of diversity in long day care centres’.

Laurie Harper has worked on behalf of children, families and teachers over 25 years. As a teacher, she has taught in primary schools for 12 years, at University level for 13 years and continues to teach child development, children’s literature and early literacy courses for pre-service teachers. Laurie has presented her research at the state, regional, national and international levels. Her publications have appeared in peer-reviewed national journals such as Reading Improvement Journal; Journal of Language and Literacy; Young Children: The Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children; and international journals; Childhood Education: The Journal of the Association for the Childhood Education International, Practical Literacy: The Journal of the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association; and Early Childhood Education Journal.  

References

How this content relates to AITSL teacher standards

Standard 1: Know students and how they learn

  • 1.3.2 Proficient Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Design and implement teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Formative assessment of students emerging understanding and teaching accordingly

  • 1.3.3 Highly Accomplished Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Support colleagues to develop effective teaching strategies that address the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Reading Conferences

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Unpacking and explicitly teaching metalanguage

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Explicit teaching of comprehension — making connections

Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it

  • 2.3.3 Highly Accomplished Curriculum, assessment and reporting. Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using images as a summative assessment tool to synthesise learning

  • 2.5.2 Proficient Literacy and numeracy strategies. Apply knowledge and understanding of effective teaching strategies to support students’ literacy and numeracy achievement.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Improving sentence structure knowledge using oral language in Year 1

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using storyboards to develop multimodal texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Achieving multiple literacy outcomes through developing and composing multimodal texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Developing early literacy through explicit connections between meaning in text, oral language and image

  • 2.5.3 Highly Accomplished Literacy and numeracy strategies. Support colleagues to implement effective teaching strategies to improve students’ literacy and numeracy achievement.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using reciprocal teaching to improve reading with Year 3 and 4 students

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using Strategies Reading Action to investigate characters in texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Explicit teaching of high frequency words through big books

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Modelling focus group teaching in literacy

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Collegiate discussions to improve teaching in literacy

AITSL Certification Evidence: Developing a Cooperative Reading program to address underachievement and disengagement with reading in upper primary

Standard 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

  • 3.3.2 Proficient Use teaching strategies. Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
  • 3.3.3 Highly Accomplished Use teaching strategies. Support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Digital professional learning on the ethical use of information

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Professional learning in action — Ethical use of information

  • 3.4.2 Proficient Select and use resources.Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using ICT and other resources to differentiate group work when learning about figurative language in writing.

  • 3.4.3 Highly Accomplished Select and use resources.Assist colleagues to create, select and use a wide range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Working collaboratively with colleagues to select and use a wide variety of resources to support learning

  • 3.4.4 Lead Select and use resources. Model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT, for application by teachers within or beyond the school.
  • 3.7.2 Proficient Engage parents/carers in the educative process. Plan for appropriate and contextually relevant opportunities for parents/ carers to be involved in their children’s learning.

Standard 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

  • 4.1.2 Proficient Support student participation. Establish and implement inclusive and positive interactions to engage and support all students in class activities.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Differentiating language access to engage a variety of students in learning

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using drama and performance based approaches to explore and engage with texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using music to support inclusion and language development in early learners

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Holistic care to support learning

  • 4.1.3 Highly Accomplished Support student participation. Model effective practice and support colleagues in implementing inclusive strategies that engage and support all students.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Experiential learning through excursions and hands on experiences

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Supporting gifted students and their teachers

Standard 6: Engage in professional learning

  • 6.2.2 Proficient Engage in professional learning and improve practice. Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice, targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities.
  • 6.2.3 Highly Accomplished Engage in professional learning and improve practice.Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Quality placements for pre-service teachers