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The benefits of independent reading and writing

It is important to create multiple opportunities for children to independently engage in reading experiences, based on their interests, and at their own pace. See Literacy-rich environment for more information. It is helpful to provide books and other texts in which children have shown an interest. It is expected that children will use a combination of mark making, scribbling and drawing as their earliest forms of written expression. Some children will also experiment and begin to use aspects of print in their writing, though it is not required that children use print elements in early childhood settings.

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Through independent writing, children can develop their skills in their own time, and driven by their own writing interests for example: making meaning and expressing ideas through texts, concepts of print, phonological awareness, early phonics, exploring and creating texts. See the Literacy-rich environment for more information. Educators can use a range of different stimuli that can spark the beginning of the writing process for children.

These might include pictures, discussion questions, videos, storytelling and other experiences. Children may choose to respond to their provocations in writing experiences, or may create their own text. Such an environment includes attentiveness to the classroom setting and materials as well as the instruction provided.

Giving children free access to writing materials and print supports their writing development. Various materials can be provided for independent writing experiences, though educators should make sure they choose materials that are safe for the child to use without active adult supervision. Some ideas include:.

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Educational theorists e. Many see this fostering of enjoyment as linked to their exposure to a rich-literacy environment in educational settings and the home , as well as time and space to explore texts independently and with more capable peers:. Close observations of young children learning to read suggest that they thrive on the richness and diversity of reading materials and on being read to aloud.


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In fact, these early experiences feature prominently in the histories of successful readers, those children who not only know how to read but choose to read for learning and pleasure. The ways educators set up independent reading experiences can help children to feel comfortable and supported to explore texts. Independent reading is thus an opportunity for emergent readers to take agency and actively explore texts, depending on their interests and level of familiarity with how texts work, as well as the ins and outs of meaning making systems including written language.

For many decades children's first writing efforts were all but ignored by researchers… It is now understood that children who grow up in a literate environment do not wait until school or other formal instruction to explore the features of writing. They are already experimenting from a very early age, before they begin to understand the alphabetic principle and despite the fact that the writing produced might not be conventional from the perspective of an adult. Importantly, children are supported to write and draw for authentic purposes, and for real audiences.

Evidence of intentionality at such young ages is significant because it necessitates appropriate intervention by educators built on positive understandings of children capabilities. Children with conceptual interests used writing to explore and record ideas on topics of personal interest. Children with procedural interests explored how writing worked and practiced conventional literacy e. Children with creative interests explored writing materials to generate new literacy processes and new uses for materials. Children with socially oriented interests used writing to mediate joint social interaction and aligned their activity choices with those of other participants.

The finding that children may have different ways of interacting with texts, based on their interests, can help educators to provide a variety of materials and opportunities to develop different kinds of independent writing experiences. Children should be supported to write for real reasons, in age-appropriate ways:. Effective early childhood teachers help children feel free in their writing. Mayer , pp.

Children's Literature & Culture

The researchers found that children with frequent emergent literacy experiences print exposure had stronger comprehension and decoding skills in later schooling, which in turn supported them to engage in more independent reading time. The authors stressed the importance of creating time and space for independent reading from an early age, to help create this virtuous cycle between increasing exposure, proficiency, and willingness to engage in more reading:.

Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.

Hope and Judith Wright. Among the best known contemporary poets are Les Murray and Bruce Dawe , whose poems are often studied in Australian high schools. Although historically only a small proportion of Australia's population have lived outside the major cities, many of Australia's most distinctive stories and legends originate in the outback , in the drovers and squatters and people of the barren, dusty plains.

David Unaipon is known as the first Aboriginal author. Oodgeroo Noonuccal was the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse. While his father, James Unaipon c. For this he is known as the first Aboriginal author. Oodgeroo Noonuccal — was a famous Aboriginal poet, writer and rights activist credited with publishing the first Aboriginal book of verse: We Are Going The voices of Indigenous Australians are being increasingly noticed and include the playwright Jack Davis and Kevin Gilbert.

Alexis Wright won the award in for her novel Carpentaria. Letters written by notable Aboriginal leaders like Bennelong and Sir Douglas Nicholls are also retained as treasures of Australian literature, as is the historic Yirrkala bark petitions of which is the first traditional Aboriginal document recognised by the Australian Parliament.

At the point of the first colonization, Indigenous Australians had not developed a system of writing, so the first literary accounts of Aborigines come from the journals of early European explorers, which contain descriptions of first contact, both violent and friendly.

Many notable works have been written by non-indigenous Australians on Aboriginal themes. Differing interpretations of Aboriginal history are also the subject of contemporary debate in Australia, notably between the essayists Robert Manne and Keith Windschuttle. For centuries before the British settlement of Australia, European writers wrote fictional accounts of an imaginings of a Great Southern Land.

In Abel Janszoon Tasman landed in Tasmania and after examining notches cut at considerable distances on tree trunks, speculated that the newly discovered country must be peopled by giants. Among the first true works of literature produced in Australia were the accounts of the settlement of Sydney by Watkin Tench , a captain of the marines on the First Fleet to arrive in These novelists also gave valuable insights into the penal colonies which helped form the country and also the early rural settlements.

It was the first Australian novel printed and published in mainland Australia and the first Australian novel written by a woman. It is a Gothic romance. Ruth Park wrote of the sectarian divisions of life in impoverished s inner city Sydney The Harp in the South.

Alan Moorehead was an Australian war correspondent and novelist who gained international acclaim. A number of notable classic works by international writers deal with Australian subjects, among them D.

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Lawrence 's Kangaroo. The journals of Charles Darwin contain the famous naturalist's first impressions of Australia, gained on his tour aboard the Beagle that inspired his writing of On the Origin of Species. Ethel Turner 's Seven Little Australians , which relates the adventures of seven mischievous children in Sydney, has been in print since , longer than any other Australian children's novel. Wells and Germaine Greer. These classic works employ anthropomorphism to bring alive the creatures of the Australian bush , thus Bunyip Bluegum of The Magic Pudding is a koala who leaves his tree in search of adventure, while in Dot and the Kangaroo a little girl lost in the bush is befriended by a group of marsupials.

May Gibbs crafted a story of protagonists modelled on the appearance of young eucalyptus gum tree nuts and pitted these gumnut babies , Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, against the antagonist Banksia men. Gibbs' influence has lasted through the generations — contemporary children's author Ursula Dubosarsky has cited Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as one of her favourite books.


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In the middle of the twentieth century, children's literature languished, with popular British authors dominating the Australian market. The Children's Book Council of Australia has presented annual awards for books of literary merit since and has other awards for outstanding contributions to Australian children's literature. Notable winners and shortlisted works have inspired several well-known Australian films from original novels, including the Silver Brumby series, a collection by Elyne Mitchell which recount the life and adventures of Thowra, a Snowy Mountains brumby stallion ; Storm Boy , by Colin Thiele, about a boy and his pelican and the relationships he has with his father, the pelican, and an outcast Aboriginal man called Fingerbone; the Sydney-based Victorian era time travel adventure Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park ; and, for older children and mature readers, Melina Marchetta 's novel about a Sydney high school girl Looking for Alibrandi.

Robin Klein 's Came Back to Show You I Could Fly is a story about the beautiful relationship between an eleven-year-old boy and an older, drug-addicted girl.

One of them, the critically acclaimed Hitler's Daughter , is a "what if? Paul Jennings is a prolific writer of contemporary Australian fiction for young people whose career began with collections of short stories such as Unreal! The world's richest prize in children's literature has been received by two Australians, Sonya Hartnett , who won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award [25] and Shaun Tan , who won in Hartnett has a long and distinguished career, publishing her first novel at She is known for her dark and often controversial themes.

A generation of leading contemporary international writers who left Australia for Britain and the United States in the s have remained regular and passionate contributors of Australian themed literary works throughout their careers including: Clive James , Robert Hughes , Barry Humphries , Geoffrey Robertson and Germaine Greer. Several of these writers had links to the Sydney Push intellectual sub-culture in Sydney from the late s to the early s; and to Oz , a satirical magazine originating in Sydney, and later produced in London from to After a long media career, Clive James remains a leading humourist and author based in Britain whose memoir series is rich in reflections on Australian society including his recent book Cultural Amnesia.

Barry Humphries took his dadaist absurdist theatrical talents and pen to London in the s, becoming an institution on British television and later attaining popularity in the USA. Humphries' outlandish Australian caricatures, including Dame Edna Everage , Barry McKenzie and Les Patterson have starred in books, stage and screen to great acclaim over five decades and his biographer Anne Pender described him in as the most significant comedian since Charles Chaplin. Geoffrey Robertson QC is a leading international human rights lawyer, academic, author and broadcaster whose books include The Justice Game and Crimes Against Humanity Martin Boyd — was a distinguished memoirist, novelist and poet, whose works included social comedies and the serious reflections of a pacifist faced with a time of war.

Patrick White — became the first Australian to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature". Never destined for life on the land, he enrolled at Cambridge where he became a published poet. White developed as a novelist, but also had major theatrical success—including The Season at Sarsaparilla. A subsequent novel, Riders in the Chariot also received a Miles Franklin award—but White later refused to permit his novels to be entered for literary prizes.

He turned down a knighthood, and various literary awards—but in accepted the Nobel prize. David Marr wrote of biography of White in Coetzee , who was born in South Africa and was resident there when awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in , [35] now lives in Adelaide, South Australia, and is an Australian citizen. This latter work was the inspiration for the film Schindler's List.

James Clavell in The Asian Saga discusses an important feature of Australian literature: its portrayal of far eastern culture , from the admittedly even further east, but nevertheless western cultural viewpoint, as Nevil Shute did. Clavell was also a successful screenwriter and along with such writers as Thomas Keneally see above , has expanded the topics of Australian literature far beyond that one country. The Secret River is an historical fiction by Kate Grenville imagining encounters between Aboriginal and colonial Australia which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The Slap was an internationally successful novel by Christos Tsiolkas which was adapted for television by ABC1 in , and was described in a review by Gerard Windsor as "something of an anatomy of the rising Australian middle class". Grunge lit an abbreviation for "grunge literature" is an Australian literary genre usually applied to fictional or semi-autobiographical writing concerned with dissatisfied and disenfranchised [40] young people living in suburban or inner-city surroundings.

It was typically written by "new, young authors" [41] who examined "gritty, dirty, real existences", [41] of lower-income young people, whose lives revolve around a nihilistic pursuit of casual sex , recreational drug use and alcohol , which are used to escape boredom or a general flightiness.

Romantic love is seldom, as instant gratification has become the norm.