The current study as collected data which focus on pre-service teachers' knowledge about children's literature and the importance of the reading of these texts by teachers and pre-service teachers. This provides part of a solid foundation for content knowledge required in Primary English Literacy teaching.
The study is comparative in nature and has collected data from England and Australia. Both the National Curriculum in England and the new Australia Curriculum afford greater focus on knowledge about children's literature. In fact the new Australian Curriculum states: "In the primary years I think that there will be a more of an intense focus on the use of literature by teachers. I hope it will encourage teachers to deal with fewer texts more deeply and that will put pressure on them to discuss with their colleagues what are really good texts that will bear that kind of attention and still be motivating and engaging" Freebody, P (2011) http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/English/Introduction
The research questions in this study are: (1) To explore a sample of pre-service teachers in England and Australia knowledge of children's literature using a simple questionnaire; and (2) To ask a sample of pre-service teachers in England and Australia about their engagement with reading and knowledge of children's literature. The instrument used in both the English and Australian data collection is replicated from that used by a larger study (Cremin et al., 2008) who administered the questionnaire to 2000 experienced teachers. The current study seeks to interrogate the earlier work by Cox and Schaetzel (2005) which found that the previously strongly held assumption that all primary teachers carried with them: a knowledge of and an inherent love and interest in children's literature, does not continue to be so.