Re-Envisioning Authentic Literature Integration for Online Teacher Education: A Programmatic Approach

Re-Envisioning Authentic Literature Integration for Online Teacher Education: A Programmatic Approach

Grace Enriquez (Lesley University, USA), Valerie Harlow Shinas (Lesley University, USA) and Barbara Steckel (Lesley University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0206-8.ch013
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This chapter discusses how the important evidence-based practice of integrating authentic children's literature across literacy learning activities is a critical component of online teacher education. Rather than focus on a single course within an online literacy program, the authors consider the pedagogical practices threaded throughout an entire online program designed for literacy educators. The chapter demonstrates how, utilizing various digital tools, this practice is woven into the online program's theoretical foundations, methods, and capstone courses, ultimately modeling and supporting two literacy teachers to integrate authentic literature into their own literacy instruction and curriculum.
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Goal Statement

In this chapter, we discuss a programmatic approach to integrating children’s literature into online literacy teacher education. This approach is grounded in the evidence-based practice of integrating children’s literature across literacy learning activities (Lehman, Freeman, & Allen, 1994; Leland, Lewison, & Harste, 2012; Sipe, 2008). While many online teacher education programs acknowledge and champion this evidence-based practice, the vast majority focus on the integration of children’s literature by teaching and modeling how to do so in a single, stand-alone course. Such a concentrated exploration can demonstrate the effectiveness of literature integration into literacy instruction (Ciecierski & Bintz, 2015; Ouellette, Dagostino, & Carifio, 1999; Weih, 2014). However, a risk with this kind of deep dive and work with children’s literature via a stand-alone course is that candidates may likewise limit their integration of children’s literature to stand-alone units or activities. There is a dearth of scholarship examining if and how literacy educators fold this evidence-based practice beyond single units, throughout all of their instruction, and across entire literacy curricula. Even harder to find is scholarship that looks at the integration of children’s literature within online teacher education.

We thus offer this study to teacher educators to examine the development of two in-service classroom teachers as they experienced the integration of children’s literature into literacy instruction across an entire online literacy teacher education program. The central purposes for this chapter are twofold: (1) to present examples of how authentic children’s literature can be meaningfully integrated into online teacher education for literacy educators, and (2) to push back against the notion of the isolated literature course within a teacher education program. We assert that an essential component for sound pedagogy in the online teacher education program is the interconnectedness of concepts, materials, and methods. A comprehensive, programmatic approach to integrating children’s literature in the classroom, taught and modeled through an online program for literacy educators, allows teacher educators to model and support the development of evidence-based practices that teachers then carry into their classrooms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Literature Integration: The inclusion and fusion of literature into various activities throughout course instruction.

Learning Management System (LMS): An online software tool used to host course content and activities.

Methods Course: A course designed to focus on the instructional methods for a particular content area, such as writing or assessment.

Programmatic Approach: A manner of considering the inclusion of similar content and activities across various courses within a program.

Capstone Course: The final course scheduled in a program, in which students synthesize learning objectives that were critical throughout the program.

Specialized Literacy Professional (SLP): An educator with advanced, specialized preparation and licensure in literacy theory and pedagogies, such as a reading/literacy specialist, literacy coach, literacy staff developer, or any other literacy educator in a leadership role.

Authentic Text: Text that is published for the general public, rather than the specific academic purposes of a school population.

Foundational Course: A first course scheduled in a program, in which students learn fundamental principles, theories, and approaches that will be expanded in later courses.

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