Author: Turner, Carmel
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
Children are exposed to an ever-increasing range of visual media in the world around them. Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) argue that this ever-increasing complexity of images and texts demands a sophisticated ability from children to decode and make critical decisions about their worth and validity. Critical literacy is an important component of a balanced school literacy program, as indicated in the Australian Curriculum: English, which emphasises the need for students to ‘engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience’ (ACARA, 2017). In this small case study, a single class of Year 3 students were provided with the opportunity to develop metalanguage in response to the metafictive devices in picturebooks and to develop their skills in interrogating these texts and apply a critical stance to their evolving social schema (Sipe and Pantaleo 2008). Students participated in Readers’ Circles, in which they were given the opportunity to express their understandings of texts and embellish their articulations by interacting with their peers. This paper will provide some key findings from the study, in which students moved from limited literal responses to discussing intertextuality and other meta-fictive devices. It is expected that findings from this study will provide important information for teachers and researchers about how teachers might utilise picturebooks to encourage students to be critically literate and to creatively transfer meanings from literature to their worlds, while also encouraging a love of reading and engagement with literature.