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Connecting Literacy And Popular Culture: Annotated Bibliography

1930 words - 8 pages

Popular culture is part of children’s everyday life experiences, embedded in film and news media, cartoons and television programs, in comics, music and advertising (Seiter, 1999; March, 2000 as cited in Ashton, 2005). Yet recognition of popular culture as a valid literacy medium within early childhood contexts continues to be problematic (Ashton, 2005; Shegar & Weninger, 2010; Arthur, 2001). The development of literacy learning begins well before children start school as they engage in literate practices in their homes and communities, allowing them to engage in meaning-making (Arthur, 2001; Ashton, 2005). Children engage with multi-modal texts that often consume forms of reading such as the internet, where children are required to have literacy skills to navigate (Shegar & Weninger, 2010). Inclusion of popular culture allows educators to develop intertextuality through linking home and community literacies with new experiences, helping them to feel connected to familiar people, places, events and understandings (Shegar & Weninger, 2010; Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2009).

Children can enter early childhood settings to be confronted by texts which are an established part of the ‘canon’ of children’s literature, a canon, which has historically being created by white, middle-class educationalists (Shegar & Weninger, 2010; Marsh, 2000; Arthur, 2001). Many early childhood educators regard literacy as being largely book-based alone, thus focusing on conventions of reading and writing thought to be fundamental to ‘good’ literature (Shegar & Weninger, 2010). Research has shown that inclusion of media outside the dominant preferred literacies of education allows children to build literacy capital and is conducive to student engagement and motivation as it reflects their interests (Arthur, 2001; Ashton, 2005; Marsh, 2000; Shegar & Weninger, 2010).Children are valued through learning experiences that support familiar texts as it builds on all children’s funds of knowledge and assists children to reach their literacy learning potential (DEEWR, 2009; Arthur, 2001; Ashton, 2005; Vera, 2011; Shegar & Weninger, 2010; Hedges, 2011). This practice diminishes and prevents marginalisation of minority groups such as children of disadvantaged families, those with limited English and as recent research suggests, boys (Shegar & Weninger, 2010; Ashton, 2005; Arthur, 2001).. Popular media is often feared as it portrayed to ‘restrict creativity’ due to the use of prescribed characters and set plots in play, however, it can also promote creativity. Engaging with popular culture is not only pleasurable for children, it also allows children to be social and collaborative in innovating and reinterpreting characters and plots to make them their own (Ashton, 2005; Arthur, 2001).

Research shows that educators and parents are concerned with the ‘harmful’ effects that popular culture texts can have on children (Ashton, 2005; Arthur, 2001;...

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