Georgia Southern Alumna Harnesses The Power Of Children’s Literature In Her College Classrooms

September 22, 2020

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Georgia Southern alumna harnesses the power of children’s literature in her college classrooms

September 22, 2020

For children’s literature expert and educator Katy Basch (’17), picture books transcend elementary classrooms, and have found a home in her college classroom.

“Children’s literature is a powerful tool,” said Basch. “You can pull from the wealth of knowledge in books. Everything you need to teach has a correlating book.”

Basch has taught literacy education to college students for 18 years. Prior to that, she began her teaching career in a second grade classroom.

“I loved delivering that instruction to my second graders and now sharing that passion and knowledge with college students,” she said.

In 2015, Basch pursued an Ed.S. in reading education from Georgia Southern University that allowed her to continue to work with students while enriching her classroom approach and deepening her theoretical knowledge.

“The reading education program is practice-based,” said Basch. “And it provided me with great tools and models for creating more engaging learning experiences for my students.”

A senior lecturer at Kennesaw State University (KSU), Basch searched for an effective way to engage her students and instill best practices for literacy education. She has taught content literacy courses for all age groups, but her area of focus is ages 3 to 5. It occurred to her that perhaps she could incorporate literature for elementary age students into her college classroom setting for demonstrative learning. She was pleasantly surprised with the results.

“When you select a text to study, that text can align to situational context,” she explained. “For example, if your student needs help with a certain strategy, you can find children’s literature that will support your instruction to teach that strategy. I read children’s books to the class, and we work through the strategies as though they are the elementary students. This is practical experience.”

When Basch began this practice, she was concerned students may feel like it was silly or childish, but she said it has been well received by all her classes.

As classes shifted to fully online delivery as a result of COVID-19, Basch continued her methodology of reading to her students.

“My classes have been delivered in virtual, synchronous format,” she said. “So I still read to them and share my screen and write on it to keep them engaged. They miss the personal touch of in-person classes, and I do too, but we are definitely making it work.”

Basch said having completed the fully online specialist reading program at Georgia Southern assisted with her online instruction.

“Validation of practice is good, but this program provided me with some new insights to instruction and technology in both in-person and distance learning,” she said.

While Basch has always thought she would remain at KSU indefinitely, she said this degree has opened her opportunities to do something that would bring her back to the K-12 realm as a reading coach, curriculum specialist or literacy-based position.

“I really enjoy working with university students,” she said. “But I also miss working with young children. It’s nice to know I have options.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 26,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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This press release was produced by Georgia Southern University. The views expressed here are the author’s own.


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