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Literacy in Primary School: Importance of the Topic

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The different approaches of children´s narratives that have been learned during this course are of great importance for teachers to be able to apply them in future planning and using them with a pedagogical purpose. The children´s way of reading is also an important consideration that teachers need to know. Although some people might think that young people do not read the same amount that was read in the past, the fact is that the ways of reading are not the same as it was in the past but reading is still an activity presented in the daily lives of the whole population. 

As Mackey M says “young people read as much and as well as ever, what they have done is to add game-playing and internet use to the kinds of reading and viewing that have gone on in the past.” p.49.There was a change in the way of reading and the types of sources that people use to read, write and speak. “Young people today actually read within the framework of a sophisticated context that includes numerous forms of media, multimedia and cross-media”.

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Nowadays what teachers have to take into account is that pictures can be an important way of communication. In the new multimodal texts, there are interactions between visual and verbal information and the relation between them involves the application of different skills to comprehend them. Working with picture books, comics or any type of multimodal texts implies a different way of interpreting them and analysing them. 

First, we have to consider that multimodal texts involve different modes. This means that texts have different ways in which culture makes meaning through speech, writing, image, gesture, music. Children are in contact with different modes outside school because those are related to their out-of-school interests, and they should be engaged with those interests and experiences at school too.

Having in mind the different modes that can be used to engaged the students have to be related to the affordances of each type of reading, for example: Some comic’s ´affordances are: “tell a complex story in a few images, provide comment and provoke thought on events and issues in the news, give an example of vocabulary related to current trends and fads, comment on and illustrate a whole range of issues like racism, teenage relationships, sexism, ageism, family .relationships.” . 

And some picture book´s affordances are: they provides the child with a visual experience; “provides the language student and the teacher with a challenge, but an interesting one. These picture books can be used to create discussion, as well as getting children to use their own words to retell parts of the story using the illustrations.”. What teachers able to do with these children´s narratives is to connect the stories with other curriculum areas providing activities useful to work with different contents from the real-life, such as sexual education, socio-affective or cultural traditions, etc, or other subjects “playing with ideas and feelings and promoting empathy”. 

Also, teachers can promote vocabulary development in children and expose children to rich, authentic language; provide activities such as; information gaps, questionnaires and surveys, guessing games or retelling the story. “Children of the twenty-first century are users of new technologies, which include computers, DVD, videos, cell phones, email, text messaging etc. 

These technologies are influencing and changing the activities that children engage with and are in turn influencing and changing literacy.” Both the learner and the teacher are involved with the material. A teacher needs to invest time in preparing the lessons but by appropriating the material they become more engaged. And the learner will be involved with the material if we as teachers can provide meaningful activities related to their interests and ways of knowing the world.  

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