BY SELENA E. VAN HORN
Some of the most beautiful stories will not come from books but from the voices of our families and communities. Oral storytelling and oral histories are passed from generation to generation, told during times of struggle and celebration. Many of our cultural, linguistic, religious, and community identities are shared through these stories. Below are a few picturebooks where authors have shared the crafts and values of oral storytelling.
Connecting with Picturebooks
Recording and Transcribing Oral Stories
After sharing the above mentor texts on oral storytelling/histories, teachers can invite young storytellers to engage in their own oral history/storytelling projects. Some examples might include:
Oral histories/stories can be recorded and transcribed for multiple listening/reading opportunities. They can be shared with their teacher/class and shared with family/community as a treasure. Students might also consider starting their own podcast and/or oral journaling. Below are a few tools that offer free recording and transcription.
Zoom is removing the 40 minute time limit on their Basic Free Account for K-12 schools affected by the COVID-19. This includes the ability to record and transcribe zoom sessions with lessons to allow students to learn how at their own pace.
The Basic, free account syncs with Zoom cloud recordings and allows up to 600 minutes (recording and transcription) for free (max. 40 min. sessions) each month.
This free app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Mac allows you to record, edit, and share recordings; however, it does not offer transcription capabilities.
Recording oral stories can be a documentation of a moment in time and/or an on-going form of reflection and connection. For teachers and parents interested in oral stories, check out the StoryCorps Podcast.
Selena E. Van Horn is a CLA/IDE Committee Member.
BY ASHLEY A. ATKINSON
As we enter another week of sheltering in place and remote learning, it is clear that COVID19 will continue to impact our educational practices for the foreseeable future. As I talk to friends and colleagues still in the classroom, they share some beautiful moments of success that should be celebrated. However, I also hear stories highlighting the difficulty of continuing to maintain student engagement. During this time of stress on a global level, we, as educators, have to reach deep into our toolboxes to find new ways to engage with our students and their families.
One silver lining that has stemmed from COVID19 is the influx of resources provided by authors and illustrators to assist parents and teachers in engaging with literacy learning at home. I have seen several blog posts, including Lora M. Dewalt's Post on this blog @Instagram’s #KidLit Community, that highlight amazing opportunities to engage with authors. In today’s post, I am going to focus on the illustrators.
Visual images are an important aspect of meaning making for young children. Often in the classroom, we focus on the words authors pen and less on ways in which the illustrator is a crucial part of the story. Larry Sipe in his book, Storytime: Young Children's Literary Understanding in the Classroom, highlighted the interplay and interconnectedness between images and text, what he called synergy. The synergistic relationship of illustrations and text makes clear the greater impact when viewed together. Giving students a chance to engage and create both text and illustrations honors this relationship and expands the possibilities for how children make meaning.
Mo Lunch Doodles
You may be familiar with Mo Willems as the well-known author and illustrator of the Elephant and Piggie book series, but did you know he is also the Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence at Home? In partnership with the Kennedy Center, he has created 15 episodes of Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. In his own words, Mo Willems says, “You might be isolated, but you’re not alone. You are an art maker. Let’s make some together.” The series offers downloadable activities that focus on his creative process as well as some “how to draw” activities. In an effort to isolate together, students can tag their artwork on social media with #MoLunchDoodles. What a great way for students to see how a single image can be the seed that grows into a whole picturebook!
Dav Pilkey at Home
Another great resource comes from Dav Pilkey, author and illustrator of Captain Underpants and Dog Man. He is working in conjunction with Scholastic and the Library of Congress to offer weekly video lessons that focus on a chance to read, to draw, to create, and to engage with other multimodal fun. What is great about this resource is that it offers a chance for families to have conversations around books and create art together.
Lastly, Debbie Ridpath Ohi offers daily creation challenges via her twitter that allows another way for students to work together while apart. Each day offers an art creation project that can be down with things around the house. Some recent challenges... broken crayon story/art, creating a dog character, and laundry art! Check out other children’s responses by searching for her tag #KidsDailyDebbieOhi.
These resources can offer entry into discussions of the images within picturebooks or a great springboard into students creating their own stories. They also create opportunities for students and families to engage with literacy in a new way. I hope you enjoy using these resources to help your students and families have a little fun as they imagine and create together.
BY ALEXANDRA LAMPP BERGLUND
Transitioning to online education isn’t an easy task for educators, parents, and students by any means, and adapting and modifying online instruction for students with (dis)abilities presents unique challenges. Providing accessible literature in both print and audio versions is essential to many learners that have (dis)abilities. However, this can be quite challenging in distance learning contexts as students may not have access to a variety of resources and assistive devices available at school. Several apps exist to support this need, particularly in the realm of literacy learning. As discussed in previous posts, Epic! is an excellent resource that offers a wide array of children’s literature in a visual format alongside audio tracks with a “read-to-me” tool for many of its texts. Another app that I’ve found particularly helpful in my own preschool classroom is Tales2Go.
Providing audio material by using apps like Tales2Go and other resources such as text to speech software or sharing how to create audio materials with students are just a few small steps in making online literacy learning accessible to students with (dis)abilities, but they are important ones. Accessibility is essential, as we continue to navigate this digital landscape together, as educators, students, and family and community members. Together, we can all make small adaptations that make big differences in our online classrooms which we continually strive to make inclusive for all learners.
Alexandra Lampp Berglund is the Chair of the CLA student committee. She is a doctoral student in Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia.
LORA M. DEWALT
Instagram is a great social media platform for connecting with authors, illustrators, and publishers. If you are not familiar, Instagram is a photography-based social media platform where people share posts (usually one photo with a caption) or stories (usually multi-page photos with embedded text or gifs). Instagram accounts can be set up as public or private.
Authors and illustrators of picturebooks, middle grade novels, and YA texts are active on Instagram with public accounts. They often give sneak peeks into their lives by showcasing their writing studios, inspiring quotes, or their latest doodles
Instagram Inquiry Project
One assignment could be an Instagram Inquiry. I envision that undergraduate or graduate students might inquire into their personal interests with a particular author or illustrator on Instagram. Possible topics might include “What can we learn about an illustrator’s process from watching their Instagram stories and posts?” or “What do I notice about the way an author crafts their captions, how does that reflect (or differ) from their writing in books?” Perhaps a student might ask “What did a particular author share prior to March 2020—what do they seem to be sharing now?”'
This inquiry assignment might be offered as a follow up to an author study, which Erika Thulin Dawes wrote about on the 3/24/2020 CLA Blog.
Instagram TV (IGTV)
Sometimes authors and illustrators host an “Instagram Live” or pre-record videos for IGTV. IGTV videos are generally 3-10 minutes and currently run ad free. This feature is available for anyone with an Instagram account. You can tell when an Instagram post connects to IGTV because it has a little white TV with a swiggle/lightning bolt on it.
Members of the children’s literature community have been hosting Q&As, doodling sessions, and even read alouds. Mac Barnett is posting a series he calls Live Cartoons in which he shares his drawings with hilarious voice overs. Mac Barnett also shares an evening read aloud in his series Mac’s Book Club Show. Other great IGTV read alouds include Marla Frazee’s reading of her wordless picturebook The Farmer and the Clown which she shared in collaboration with #SaveWithStories, which is available on Marla's Instagram.
Other authors are giving great heart to hearts with their audiences about being a creator and artist in this period of #StayAtHome. Jason Reynolds recently shared a creative game he plays with a card deck (Disruptus) to keep his mind in an imaginative space by putting two random items together. Christian Robinson recently shared a story in which he demonstrated how to create a mosaic rainbow with recycled materials as a symbol of gratitude.
One possible assignment could to be watch a particular video or a few episodes of an author/illustrator’s series and reflect on the intended audience, the genre of multimedia art, or a comparison/contrast with pre-recorded YouTube read alouds. IGTV could also be used as a host for students to respond to authors and illustrators with videos of their own.
Active Instagram Authors & Illustrators
Many authors, illustrators, and publishers are active on Instagram. You (or your students) can engage with them by asking questions in their comments section. A lot of them are very prompt at replying! Most of the time, authors and illustrators will share glimpses into their lives (well, the life they are willing to share on a public social media account).
Earlier this semester I shared Erin Entrada Kelly’s Instagram account with some undergraduate students while we read Hello Universe. In particular, I was showcasing Erin’s love of sharing the international covers for her books. A week or so later, one student told me that she had started following Erin on Instagram and ordered all the books Erin posts about so she can read them too! This was a great reminder to me that even when students are not “assigned” a task, just providing them access into the world of authors and illustrators can be powerful.
@aishacs (Aisha Saeed)
@andominguezzzz (Angela Dominguez)
@authorderrickdbarnes (Derrick Barnes)
@colleenaf (Coleen AF Venable)
@cordell_matthew (Matthew Cordell)
@erikalsanchez (Erika L. Sanchez)
@erinentrada (Erin Entrada Kelly)
@jessicalovedraws (Jessica Love)
@macbarnett (Mac Barnett)
@marlafrazee (Marla Frazee)
@nicolayoon (Nicola Yoon)
@oge_mora (Oge Mora)
@rainbowrowell (Rainbow Rowell)
@Sean_qualls (Sean G. Qualls)
@theartoffun (Christian Robinson)
Lo DeWalt is a CLA member. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. Lo co-teaches an undergraduate children’s literature course and works as a district administrator in Manor, Texas.
Supporting PreK-12 and university teachers as they share children’s literature with their students in all classroom contexts.
The opinions and ideas posted in the individual entries are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of CLA or the Blog Editors.
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