(Image from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Developing-Childrens-Critical-Thinking-Picturebooks/dp/0415727723/)
Mary Roche’s new book Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picturebooks: A guide for primary and early years students and teachers was launched at the recent Reading Association of Ireland (RAI) 37th annual Conference in Dublin.
This accessible text shows students and class teachers how they can enable their pupils to become critical thinkers through the medium of picturebooks. By introducing children to the notion of making-meaning together through thinking and discussion, Roche focuses on carefully chosen picturebooks as a stimulus for discussion, and shows how they can constitute an accessible, multimodal resource for adding to literacy skills, while at the same time developing in pupils a far wider range of literary understanding.
By allowing time for thinking about and digesting the pictures as well as the text, and then engaging pupils in classroom discussion, this book highlights a powerful means of developing children’s oral language ability, critical thinking, and visual literacy, while also acting as a rich resource for developing children’s literary understanding. Throughout, Roche provides rich data and examples from real classroom practice.
This book also provides an overview of recent international research on doing ‘interactive read alouds’, on what critical literacy means, on what critical thinking means and on picturebooks themselves.
Lecturers on teacher education courses for early years or primary levels, classroom teachers, pre-service education students, and all those interested in promoting critical engagement and dialogue about literature will find this an engaging and very insightful text.
Congratulations on the launch of this book, Mary. As you know, I have forwarded it to a Faculty of Education colleague back at the University of Waikato whose research area is in children’s literature. I hope your important work becomes more widely known.
I am recalling something I saw recently on the development of philosophical thinking in children. If I remember where I saw it, I will pop back in and add the URL. It’s SO important that our young people grow up knowing how to discern the wheat from the chaff of what they encounter, both in education and in the wider society.