Stages of Development, GCSE Coursework Example

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GCSE Coursework

I have selected picture books for my discussion of how the audience’s developmental progress influences what the literature can cover and in what manner. Picture books are typically written for children who are either unable to read on their own or require physical and visual assistance to fully understand a story. As a consequence, the topics available to these readers are fairly limited, although they can be fiction or non-fiction tales. Generally, non-fiction educational topics or fantasy stories with a basic plot and storyline are preferred.

According to week 4 lecture, “Nonfiction and Informational Books”, the most popular non-fictional topics for children’s books are dinosaurs, horses, and fire (Nonfiction and Informational Books 1). It is important to take advantage of these concepts in picture books because it allows the writer to hold the interest of the audience while teaching them about something new. When a young reader who encounters a picture book about dinosaurs for the first time, it is unlikely they will understand the complete content of the literature. However, as a result of their fascination with the images and interest in the topic, they may one day be able to read all of the words in addition to gaining an understanding about dinosaurs.

The characters and characterizations that permissible depend on the topic that the author desires the children to read about, although the characters are generally simplistic and non-human characters are usually personalized with human characteristics. Although it is not a strict requirement, picture book characters are also required to look a certain way; the exact features are not well defined in any textbook, but it is useful for these characters to be attention-getting in order to engage the reader. In “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, for example, the caterpillar is very brightly colored which draws the attention of the young readers and keeps them engaged.

Aesthetics, number, and quality of illustrations varies for young readers of picture books because aesthetics are the main way in which the author is able to communicate the story to his or her readers. According to “Aesthetic Contributions of Children’s Illustrations” aesthetics can be either textual or visual (Aesthetic Contributions of Children’s Illustrations 1). Although authors of picture books are allowed some freedom when it comes to deciding what images to include, they should generally be colorful and representative of the story. Likewise however, the text that accompanies the graphics must be attractive. It would be helpful, for example, if the author were to provide a large, easily readable font beneath the images that depict the story. In this situation, the child will not have difficulty with reading the information provided and it will encourage him or her to want to read the book, rather than to simply view the pictures.

In picture books, it is essential to use a simple vocabulary due to the age of the reader. Occasionally, a large word could be used if it is repeated frequently throughout the story as a sort of theme, and explained early on in the text. Most importantly however, the style of the words must tie in closely to what is being discussed in the text. Chapter 6 of the textbook mentions the works of Maurice Sendak and how his vivid pictures draw the reader into the book, but the way that the text ties the pictures together truly creates the story (Stahl 716). It is therefore essential for picture book authors to ensure that their words truly have meanings. Pictures are fun for the child to look at, but they are not a story alone; it is the union of the text and the visuals that really create the story for the young picture book reader.

The one disadvantage of the picture book is that the story cannot be terribly complex. Since the picture book reader is typically of a young age, it is essential to stick to topics that will be easy for them to understand and follow. The main goal of engaging young readers in books though the use of pictures and other aesthetics is to foster their love for reading. It would be counterintuitive to scare them away from these stories by making the topics too difficult to understand. This is one of the main reasons that simple children’s books like “Strega Nona”, “Baby Night Owl”, and literary interpretations of the Disney films are extremely popular among young children.

Works Cited

“Aesthetic Contributions of Children’s Illustrations”.Week 4 Lecture. Children’s Literature. AIO.16 December 2013.

“Nonfiction and Informational Books “. Week 4 Lecture. Children’s Literature. AIO.16 December 2013.

Stahl, J D, Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth L. Keyser. Crosscurrents of Children’s Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

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