Literature, Literacy, Children's Literature, and Media Definitions and Benefits

This page has a collection of definitions and a literature and literacy model.

For more see my article on Educational issues for literature, literacy, media, and the arts.

Focus questions

Literature Definitions

Traditional Definition #1

Literature is the ability to read, write and comprehend.

Traditional Definition #2

Literature is the body of writing that exists because of inherent imaginative and artistic qualities.

Louise Rosenblatt

Any piece of writing or pictorial narrative may potentially be considered literature. When a reader gets involved with the text and brings it to life, this transaction makes it literature

Quality literature

Quality Literature

Quality literature brings a tear to your eye,
keeps you up all night,
and makes you ask.
"How, could anyone think of that?"
It makes you say,
"that’s me. That’s the way I feel."
"I wish I would have said that."
and most importantly...
It makes us understand and live better.


Robert D. Sweetland


Benefits of Quality Literature

Introduces us to a writer-creator from whose inquiry communicates through words and different channels information about a subject, human nature, vision, life's meaning, and hope through which we gain insight of:



Carolyn L. Piazza

Multiple literacies are the complex amalgam of communicative channels, symbols, forms, and meanings inherent in oral and written language (verbal and nonverbal) as well as the arts-visual arts, music, dance, theater, and film (including television, video, and technology).

Literacy is the use of multiple channels to inquire, represent, and communicate, through an array of conceptual and stylistic elements.

Children's Literature

Purves and Monson

Children's literature is the arrangement and structure of words, or children's response to those or combination of the arrangement of words and punctuation that creates a mood in children that entices them to read it.

See: Exploration of characteristics of children's literature


Media is a medium or means for communication. Which can range from: words, phrases, stories, poems, speech, print, books, pictures, illustrations, maps, songs, recordings, advertising, social multimedia, animations, art, music, live actors, dancers, graphic novels, e-books, clothes, tapestries, sculpture, internet pages and sites, videos, dramas, musicals, theatrical productions, concerts, and other creative artifacts including specific methods used to create the media: paper, pencil, ink, printers, piano, oil, canvas, violin, actors on a stage, and ...


Art is any thing that is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer and listener. A transaction that communicates information through a piece of work, created by an artist or artists, and experienced by a viewer or listener, who responds to the idea or product to complete the transaction.

Literature and Literacy Model

Literature & Literacy Model

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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