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How to Effectively Teach Children's Literature

As a college instructor at Illinois State, Erika Romero focuses on teaching future teachers. Her children's literature classes use literature to explore the meaning and life experiences of the students. Children's literature is targeted to children but is still complex and nuanced. This podcast will help you better understand how to effectively use children's literature when teaching young students.

For show notes, visit:

Erika's website can be found here: and on social media @evereducating

Listen to the podcast here:

About Erika

Erika is a PhD Candidate and college instructor at Illinois state, finished her 11th year in college

Blogs about children's literature topics Loves studying literature Got her masters, continued on with her education

Has taught at the college level for 5 years and before that was a writing instructor and teaching assistant.

Children's Literature

Teaches foundations and literature for children.

She teaches future teachers in her literature course.

It’s not a methods course; it’s a literature course.

Children's literature is targeted to children but is still complex and nuanced.

Teachers sometimes choose books based on standards, lengths or reading level.

Teachers need to carefully consider how much they can teach around world views and diverse experiences.

In her classes, she includes diversity in races, economics, family situations, etc.

She wants teachers to teach from a variety of situations and not just the ones they are most familiar with.

Erika says that she uses graphic novels and books with pictures in her course.

You can teach grammar, and plot structure, but it’s important to consider what we can learn from the characters as well.

Two Goals

In Children's literature there are two goals.

Sometimes they are used together; sometimes separately.



Even when the goal is to entertain, children are still internalizing beliefs and values whether they are conscious of it or not.

Real literature and consider potential implications of what’s been written and how it’s been written.

Many lessons can be taught from one piece of literature.

Take it seriously; take the time to closely read the literature.

Experience as a Reader

Some authors just write for fun, but there’s usually some kind of message.

Even when books are written just for entertainment, there is still some kind of education to it.

Authorial intention and reader response might be very different.

Experience as a reader influences what you get out of the literature and how you perceive and interpret what you’re reading it.

You can take the author's intention into account and learn more about the author, but on the other hand, you can take more of a reader response approach that relies heavily on what the reader has experienced. That can stand on its own as long as it is backed up by what is in the text.

The book isn’t complete until a reader reads it

Take literature seriously- each student has different experiences

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