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Language Arts, Vol. 79, No. 2, November 2001

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 79, No. 2, November 2001

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Organizing for Literacy Instruction

  • Organizing and Managing the Language Arts Workshop: A Matter of Motion

    Douglas Kaufman

    Abstract: Kaufman provides a classroom portrait of Linda Rief's middle school language arts program, in which students move and work independently and interdependently. Rather than providing traditional, teacher-controlled instruction, Rief instructs her students on the organizational framework of the classroom, spending much of her instructional time at the beginning of the year focusing on the procedures of the classroom. Using this progressive approach, classroom management serves to encourage rather than limit motion, channeling it to facilitate students' abilities to recognize options and to work responsibly and efficiently to meet literacy goals.

    Keywords: Assessment, Pedagogy, Reading, Elementary, Middle

  • What Do I Do with the Rest of the Class?: The Nature of Teaching-Learning Activities

    Brian Cambourne

    Abstract: With system-wide mandates of explicit and systematic literacy instructions requiring work with small groups, teachers are continually on the lookout for ways that keep the rest of their class actively engaged in learning activities. But what features constitute "successful" teaching-learning activities?" In his research, Brian Cambourne, NCTE's outstanding educator of the year, finds that effective learning activities are contextual to other classroom activities and explicitly instructed; allow for social interaction and employ various modes of language and subsystems of languages; offer flexibility in student response; and are cost efficient and developmentally appropriate. Further, effective teaching-learning activities are contingent upon the nature of the classroom culture as well as teacher professional knowledge and skill.

    Keywords: Assessment, Pedagogy, Research, Reading, Elementary, Middle, Secondary

  • When Writing Conferences Don't Work: Students' Retreat from Teacher Agenda

    Jodi Nickel

    Abstract: How should teachers respond when writing conferences don't work? What are children experiencing when they resist teacher suggestions about their writing? These are the questions Nickel addresses in this teacher research report. As she transcribed recorded writer's workshops in her first-grade classroom, she noticed that questioning occasionally led students to retreat from the conferences. Further, teacher scaffolding can be ineffective when there is a mismatch between teacher-student purpose, age, culture, etc. She notes that questions may stifle dialogue when they require closure rather than extension, imply error, or suggest that the teacher has the correct answer, and concludes with seven recommendations to help guide writing conferences.

    Keywords: Research, Writing, Elementary

  • Book Club Plus: A Conceptual Framework to Organize Literacy Instruction

    Taffy E. Raphael, Susan Florio-Ruane, and MariAnne George

    Abstract: Book Club Plus, designed by the Teachers' Learning Collaborative, a practitioner inquiry network, provides an organization framework for literacy instruction. Designed to promote student engagement and ownership of the literacy process while at the same time include traditional skills instruction, Book Club Plus is a thematically linked framework divided into two contexts, book club and literacy block, which combine literature discussion and appreciation with focused instruction and practice with skills and strategies. The authors illustrate how the framework supports diverse learners with three examples from a third-grade class.

    Keywords: Literacy, Literature, Pedagogy, Writing, Reading, Elementary

  • Thoughts from the Editors

    Jean Schroeder, Kathy Short, Gloria Kauffman, Sandy Kaser

    Abstract: The articles in this themed issue, "Organizing for Literacy Instruction," present a range of perspectives including how teachers' beliefs inform instruction, the broader curriculum frameworks that bridge theory and practice, and how teachers move from a theoretical frame to instructional planning and a daily schedule.

    Keywords: Pedagogy, Elementary

  • Have We Lost Our Way?

    Mem Fox

    Abstract: Author and educator Mem Fox cautions against forsaking outdated practice completely for the new. Adopting a new orthodoxy, she says, is no replacement for good practice and design. In this article, she addresses the various movements that she has seen come and go, and suggests that teachers critically address new orthodoxies as they become popular. Full article available in print version only.

    Keywords: Pedagogy, Elementary

  • Running Out of Time: Rushed Read-Alouds in a Primary Classroom

    Jeane F. Copenhaver

    Abstract: In this study conducted in a multiethnic, primary grade classroom, Copenhaver explores the consequences for children and teachers when a scripted literacy program eliminates time for thoughtful and meaningful responses to literature during read-aloud time. She notes that the shift from an authentic conversational form to a initiate-response-evaluation (I-R-E) format significantly limited the responses of all children, but the greatest effect was on children who did not fit the I-R-E sequence. Those "marginalized" students were more likely to have their responses invalidated by their teacher and less likely to be engaged in the activity. She charges readers to resist the rushed culture of today's schools and to make read-aloud time a place for inquiry.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Literature, Pedagogy, Reading, Elementary

  • READING CORNER FOR EDUCATORS: Teachers and Researchers Organizing for Literacy Instruction

    Sonia Nieto with Marilyn Antonucci and NĂ©lida Matos

    Abstract: The three books reviewed in this column emphasize the role of teachers as researchers working in collaboration with one another and with university researchers in the search for what it means to effectively organize classrooms for literacy instruction.

    Keywords: Literacy, Research, Elementary, Professional Development

  • READING CORNER FOR CHILDREN: Outstanding Nonfiction Choices for 2000

    Richard M. Kerper

    Abstract: This issue's column features the 2000 Orbis Pictus Award winners, honor books, and honorable mentions.

    Keywords: Literature, Reading, Elementary

  • PROFILE: A Day in the Life of Brian Cambourne: Teacher, Activist, Scholar

    Denny Taylor

    Abstract: In this article, Denny Taylor has a series of conversations with distinguished educator Brian Cambourne, this year's Outstanding Educator in the Language Arts.

    Keywords: Pedagogy, Research, Elementary, Social Justice / Activism


    Catherine Compton-Lilly

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Elementary

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts