As a matter of necessity, all teachers should be knowledgeable about high-quality children’s literature.
Literacy is a foundational skill that aids in the development of critical thinking and analysis, two cognitive processes that are required in all fields of study and facets of life. Therefore, it is important for teachers as the education-purveyors of society to promote literacy in their classrooms.
One of the key foundations for encouraging literacy is engaging students’ interests. A student who is engaged will be more focused on a learning task. To engage students in reading, then, requires providing access to texts that students will like based on their interests. However, the abundance of media available is not equal in terms of quality. Students might enjoy lower-quality, lower-skill-level texts if they deal with an “interesting” subject. To truly improve students’ literacy, teachers need to find literature that fits at the intersection between engaging and challenging.
This can also help with standards based instruction. A teacher who is relatively limited in his or her knowledge of available literature will be less likely to select the most appropriate resources to use in the classroom. For example, one of the high school English-Language Arts standards asks students to trace the development of theme across the course of a text. While this standard can be used with any number of accompanying texts, the best fit would be a lengthy work that has multiple themes from which students could choose.
Besides this, teachers should always be equipped to recommend books to students. With so few students continuing to read for entertainment beyond elementary or middle school, it is crucial for teachers to be resources for their students.