Developing Children’s Environmental Literacy Through Literature: An Analysis of 100 Basic Literary Works

Mehmet Erdoğan, Eyyup Coşkun, and Muhammet Uşak
*Asist. Prof. Dr. (Corresponding Author) Akdeniz University, Faculty of Education, Antalya, Turkey
**Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kemal University, Faculty of Education, Hatay, Turkey
***Asist. Prof. Dr. Zirve University, Faculty of Education, Gaziantep Turkey

Problem Statement: Development of environmental literacy, the ultimate goal of environmental education, should not be bound only to the natural sciences. It can also be developed though art and literature when considering the interdisciplinary nature of environmental education. Literary children’s books, for example, can be an effective tool to develop students’ environmental literacy. Even though MoNE suggested 100 classics for elementary and secondary education students to develop reading habits and to introduce the national and international classic works, a number of studies focussing on the implications of these classics on the educational process (policy and practice) and individual development of the students is limited. In this regard, the present study is one of the initial attempts to reveal the hidden and/or explicit effects of these classics on students’ environmental literacy.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of the study was to analyze the components of environmental literacy embedded in the classic works recommended by MoNE for Turkish elementary schools.
Methods: For a detailed examination, the researchers randomly selected 10 classics from 63 well-known Turkish classic works for content analysis considering the framework of environmental literacy proposed by Simmons. Content analysis enables the researchers to examine what is or what is not in the selected written or visual document(s). The results reported the frequency and percentage of environmental literacy components embedded in the selected works.
Findings and Results: The content analysis of these works revealed three types of main components (knowledge, affect and behavior) andseveral sub-components. Students’ awareness of the natural environment and geographical pattern (morning-night and seasons-climate) was mostly emphasized in nearly all of the analyzed works. Students’ affect and physical behaviors were relatively less emphasized.
Conclusions and Recommendations: In the analyzed classics, environmental pollution, which is one of the main topics and emphases of Environmental Education (EE) was paid very little attention. Considering its interdisciplinary nature, EE should be infused in other subjects (i.e., art and literature) and various classroom activities taking place in humanity classes. In this regard, 100 classics suggested for the elementary and secondary school students can be used as a vehicle. This study was only realized with 10 selected classics out of 63 Turkish classics. Foreign classics were not included in the study. It is suggested to other researchers to conduct broader research with more classic works, including both national and international classics. 
Keywords: Environmental literacy, content analysis, 100 basic literary works, Turkey