Children's literature

3 Values of Children’s Literature and the Importance of Stories

Children’s literature is that which is directed and adapted to children and which uses the word with an artistic purpose so that they can understand and enjoy it.

children's literature
Children’s literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are created for children.

Values are a topic of great importance in today’s society since they affect all aspects of social reality. They are proper to the individual, and accompany and condition them throughout life, depending on what he prefers and feels. This is why children’s literature takes on such an important role.

Education, from the earliest ages, should promote the development of all aspects and dimensions that make up the human being. Values, understood as a basic and inseparable element of the person, are part of the educational process, and therefore, it is necessary to educate in values from the educational institution, since it must not only transmit knowledge and information but must also bear in mind and make a pedagogy of values a reality, teaching to live together in harmony and to actively participate in the process of social transformation.

Children’s literature helps to internalize and discover universal, social, and human values, and it is essential to educate children on a series of essential principles for coexistence, such as love, respect, dialogue, empathy, equality, solidarity, honesty, cooperation, responsibility, friendship, tolerance, self-esteem, and awareness of problems.

The story, therefore, becomes a fundamental tool in the transmission of social values, especially for its playful, pleasant character, and because it allows us to imagine fantasies that cannot be achieved in the real world. It also speaks to the heart of the reader and the listener, opening ways of dialogue and communication with children that help to better understand their internal affective experiences that influence their performance and behavior.

1. The Stories and Their Importance

“The story is a brief narration, with a simple and linear plot, characterized by a strong concentration of action, time and space.”

The story has an immensely wide value since through it everything that the child knows takes movement and acts in unreal and magical ways. Fundamentally, it is a very enriching means to use in teaching, promoting learning, and introducing or reinforcing concepts, which is why it has become the resource most used by teachers and the main motivator to initiate a series of learning at school.

The story opens a wide range of possibilities in the evolution of the child and is a great tool to achieve the main objectives and facilitate the teaching-learning process, bringing into play all areas of child development, psychomotor, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and social.

Dramatization, so important in corporal expression and frequently used in Early Childhood Education, has always been closely linked to stories, and its representation contributes to the child a myriad of capabilities, such as the acquisition of roles, the development of perceptual-motor skills, the discovery of the body as a vehicle for communication, the space around him, etc

2. Social Values

Among the values provided by children’s literature, we can highlight 3 groups that we consider the most important:

  1. Multiculturalism and tolerance
  2. Environmental education, respect for the environment, and love for nature
  3. Compassion, friendship, and solidarity.

The formation of every individual depends on two groups which are the family and the school. In principle, the creation of reading habits, behavioral habits, attitudes, and values is initially in the family. Although in developed societies, due to early schooling every day, this formation belongs more and more to the school.

Through literary characters, children can discover the different ways to solve a situation. The way they face problems, or the definition they have of “right” and “wrong,” will serve as a reference in their future conflicts. That is to say, the protagonists of the stories are generally examples of behavior that will guide the child in solving a situation, so it is important that we choose stories that are consistent with the values we want to convey to them.

3. Functions of Children’s Literature

To be a source of pleasure and amusement

The child learns, enjoys, and is entertained through reading. Thus, the initial contact with the children’s literature must be interesting, fun, and enjoyable. To this end, both families and teachers can create a literary space to encourage imagination and the discovery of the pleasure of reading.

Be a source of personal enrichment

Literature develops curiosity, creativity, and imagination through events, characters, and different situations, in addition to stimulating the habit of reading, a habit that should last a lifetime thanks to its many benefits.

Being an instrument of communication and expression

Children’s literature brings children closer to language, which is essential for socialization among peers. It provides models to imitate, facilitates the experience of different roles from a safe distance, expands children’s vocabulary, shows the patterns of spoken and written language, and offers children the possibility of expressing their inner world.

Bringing children closer to the world around them

Reading allows the child to learn about the cultural characteristics and values of the social context since stories are a resource of social representation with aspects of real life.

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