September 2011: Shaping Early Literacy Policy and Practice
This theme examines the implications of social, cultural, and political contexts on early literacy development and policy. Early literacy policy is shaped by at least three powerful forces: government, professional associations, and the workplace. Federal and state policies impact the ways in which teachers, administrators, and teacher educators view early literacy development. Language Arts seeks manuscripts that offer insights into how policies shape the beliefs and practices of educators working with young children. In the aftermath of No Child Left Behind and Reading First, how do teachers, administrators,
and teacher educators envision literacy practices in early childhood classrooms? How are early literacy policies interpreted in local contexts? How does policy influence the use of instructional time and resources for early literacy development?
(Submission deadline: May 15, 2010)
November 2011: Beyond PowerPoints and Scavenger Hunts
In the past 30 years, composition tools have changed from pen, pencil, or typewriter to a seemingly limitless array of digital media. As young students surf the Web at home, where they visit and sometimes create content for online sites, teachers are challenged to find ways to include new media instruction in their classrooms. However, they are frequently dissatisfied with lessons that limit development of digital literacy to PowerPoint how-tos and Internet scavenger hunts. In this issue, we invite authors to consider the role new media can play in ELA classrooms to facilitate both complex creative expression and critical literacy. What are the implications for teaching and learning when students are asked to be not only analytic readers of new media texts, but also challenging, thoughtful, and effective creators of them? In what ways do the innovative creation and critical consumption of new media texts affect students’ sense of their own identities as they wrestle with 21st-century notions of literacy and learning? What responsibilities do we as teachers take on as we prepare students to be both savvy readers in the digital age and imaginative and insightful producers?
(Submission deadline: July 15, 2010)
January 2012: Writing the Image,Writing the World
For many, Paulo Freire’s notion of reading the word and the world is very well known. We must be able to read the world that is written by the word. In today’s world, there has been increasing attention paid to the role of the visual text in ELA instruction and learning. We want readers to think about how visual texts inform how we write, interpret, and create our worlds. That is, we want authors to consider the role of visual representations in the teaching and learning of literacy and the language arts. How do images help us read the world, both those created in ELA classes and those created outside? In particular, we hope that authors will consider the critical role that images play in what and how students write their world and how images position humans in particular ways. Consider, too, how images that we read and create shape our identities as textmakers. In this issue, we ask: How does intertextuality, or the connections among and between texts, shape who we are as textmakers? How do we understand our world from the images that we write and/or interpret? How can educators see the worlds of their students through the visual texts that they create?
(Submission deadline: September 15, 2010)
March 2012: Professional Development in the Age of nick.com
YouTube, MySpace, Mario Brothers, nick.com All are sites where children engage with texts as they make sense of living in the 21st century. But how are language arts teachers preparing themselves to guide students who no longer defi ne reading as picking up a book, or writing as putting pen to paper? What kinds of professional (and personal) development are teachers undergoing as they try to make sense of this transitional era in literacy education? In this issue, we want educators to look at themselves. What types of professional development are most useful to practicing teachers as they consider issues relating to multiple literacies, digital literacies, and the literacy heritages of children from diverse backgrounds and with diverse ways of making meaning? How are teacher education programs preparing prospective teachers to effectively engage students in the creative and critical practices necessary to be participating citizens in the 21st century? What are educators doing—in groups or on their own—to rethink literacy instruction in order to be successful teachers of students who, in many ways, are making the road by walking it?
(Submission deadline: November 15, 2010)