A rationale to support the teaching of Anthony Browne’s ‘ZOO’
Anthony Browne is a very prolific children’s author and illustrator, whom some of the children may already be familiar.
It is possible to use this familiarisation to discuss with the pupils reoccurring themes within Anthony Browne’s books. The anthropomorphism of his characters and the use of motifs, such as bananas and hats, are prevalent throughout his books. This is a quality that adds an extra-textual element to Browne’s work, as the reader already has a wealth of prior knowledge to bring to the picture reading process (Duncan, 2009).
It is this wealth of prior knowledge that I intended to incite via the lesson starter. It is assumed that most children have, by the age…show more content…
This approach works very well when teaching skills to pupils, but, as Winston (2004) suggests, this strategy does not work so well for other important areas of learning, such as moral and social concepts; the likes of which Browne presents to the reader in Zoo.
Using dramatic conventions to express and challenge these somewhat complex issues allows the children to feel as though they have “lived through, or have actually witnessed the experience…allowing their talk to be situated within the experience, as well as being reflective of the experience under discussion.” (Winston, 2004:21). This “experience” should, in turn, produce a meaningful and informed stand point from which the pupils can express their opinions and understanding of the issues.
The idea of using drama as a tool to provide genuine contexts for reading and writing, speaking and listening, flows strongly through the lesson. Its intentions are to enable the child to make a comfortable transition between speaking and listening, and reading and writing, whilst discovering their interconnectivity.
Drama provides a “reflective experience” (Winston, 2004) that reveals a child’s inner voice, or ‘inner speech’ (Vygotsky, 1978), required so that pupils are able to produce critical developments within their writing. Bearne (2002) explains that the inner voice must first develop through a network of meaningful social interactions