About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5694-5697
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

THE REPRESENTATION OF DISABILITY IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: DIVERSITY UNPLUGGED

K. Speaker

The College of New Jersey (UNITED STATES)
An implied discussion of disabilities in the classroom is evident in the Position Statement of the International Reading Association – Investment in Teacher Preparation in the United States. Preparing Teachers to Close the Reading Achievement Gap.
Closing the achievement gap in reading is essential; however, this task will not be simple. High-poverty, low-performing schools must have excellent reading teachers. Currently, they have the least prepared, least experienced teachers (Education Week, 2003). Reversing this situation so that the best teachers teach the students who most need expert teachers will require a comprehensive approach. Teachers in these schools, and indeed in all sites, must be well prepared to implement research-based programs and practices, and they must have the knowledge and skill to use professional judgment when those programs and practices are not working for particular children.

Teachers need to know enough about and value the cultures and languages students bring to school to use those differences as resources rather than as excuses for not teaching them well. This presupposes that the definition of “culture” includes the diversity of disability as well as ethnic background or language. Teachers are charged with the responsibility to create a literate environment, to know how to set up, organize, and manage a classroom so that students can and will learn to read. Motivating students to do their best work necessitates an informed and accurate discussion of disability and its reflection in the literature.

The number of students with disabilities mainstreamed into standard public school classrooms has increased significantly in the past ten years and that has created a very diverse school population. Teachers must make curricular changes that benefit all students and that includes altering the curriculum readings with updated texts that represent disability advocacy and equality. Children's literature that focuses on disability is beneficial in helping children understand the challenges that those with disabilites face, as well as the similarities they share in their lives. While books that depict characters with identified disabilities have appeared on bookshelves and award lists, these characters usually have minor roles and merely assist main characters in their growth and development. The growing need to educate children of different races, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds has forced educators to look for literature and curriculum that best suits the mix of students in classrooms across America. The use of multicultural, inclusion and gender bias-free literature should be the goal of every classroom teacher.
@InProceedings{SPEAKER2010THE,
author = {Speaker, K.},
title = {THE REPRESENTATION OF DISABILITY IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: DIVERSITY UNPLUGGED},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5694-5697}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. Speaker
TI - THE REPRESENTATION OF DISABILITY IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: DIVERSITY UNPLUGGED
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 5694
EP - 5697
ER -
K. Speaker (2010) THE REPRESENTATION OF DISABILITY IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: DIVERSITY UNPLUGGED, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 5694-5697.
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