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Language Arts, Vol. 85, No. 3, January 2008

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 85, No. 3, January 2008

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Challenges to Children's Literature

  • Thoughts from the Editors: The Pros and Cons of Challenges

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Graphic Novels in the Classroom

    Gene Yang

    Abstract: In this article, in one of the first-ever journal articles in graphic novel format, educator and graphic novel author Gene Yang makes a case for using graphic novels in classrooms.

    Keywords: Literacy, Pedagogy, Writing, Elementary, Media Studies / Journalism

  • The Representation of Authors and Illustrators of Color in School-Based Book Clubs

    Jonda C. McNair

    Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine Firefly (Preschool) and Seesaw (K–1) Scholastic book club order forms for a period of one year—from September of 2004 through June of 2005—in order to determine which authors and illustrators of children’s literature, particularly those of color, were routinely included and excluded. This study was undergirded by the theory of the selective tradition and the work of children’s literature experts who advocate for the inclusion of books written by people of color. The results indicated that books written and illustrated by European Americans dominated both book clubs to an extreme degree while books written and illustrated by people of color were often excluded. For example, this study found that no books written or illustrated by Native American were made available for purchase during this one-year period.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literature, Elementary, School-Community Relation

  • Really Reading: What Does Accelerated Reader Teach Adults and Children?

    Renita Schmidt

    Abstract: This qualitative work analyzes what parents, teachers, and children say about reading when Accelerated Reader and Reading Renaissance are used for reading instruction. Critical discourse analysis offered a glimpse at beliefs about reading and how power relations were embedded in what teachers, parents, and children said about AR and reading. Although school officials hoped to build a love of reading and provide more time for reading, disjunctures were found between what teachers thought was important and what really happened when AR was used for reading instruction.

    Keywords: Assessment, Literacy, Pedagogy, Technology, Elementary

  • Transactional Theory and the Study of Multicultural Literature

    Mingshui Cai

    Abstract: Recently, transactional reader response theory has been criticized for providing an inadequate theoretical guide for the study of multicultural literature. Some scholars argue that Rosenblatt assumes the reader and her response to literature are ideologically innocent and the continuum of aesthetic and efferent stance does not encompass critical reading. They call for re-theorizing or moving beyond transactional theory.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Literature, Research, Elementary

  • Focus on Policy: Intellectual Freedom

    Megan Schliesman

    Abstract: Recognizing that teachers draw on a wealth of knowledge, professional judgment, and resources in determining what children and teens are reading at school, the author asks what it means for teachers and librarians today? It means they must understand the principles of intellectual freedom, and also how those principles are applied in the real world. They must be willing to acknowledge and move beyond their own biases and fears, and they must be prepared to defend the rights of the children and teens for whom they have a professional responsibility.

    Keywords: Literature, Standards, Elementary, School-Community Relation

  • Research Directions: Book Challenges, Challenging Books, and Young Readers: The Research Picture

    Christine A. Jenkins

    Abstract: Jenkins takes a broad look at censorship, including its history; the organizations, tactics, and goals supporting both sides of the issue; research on what factors lead people to complain about a book and how reading affects readers; resources available to those fighting censorship; and what levels of complaint and action a given case may need to work through. Ultimately, she asks, “Is it possible to ‘censor-proof’ a library or school?”

    Keywords: Literature, Research, Standards, Elementary, School-Community Relation

  • Profiles and Perspectives: Sy Montgomery: Part Indiana Jones and Part Emily Dickinson

    Terrell A. Young

    Abstract: As important as accuracy may be to nonfiction writers, few have taken such risks as Sy Montgomery in gathering information for her articles, books, and films. In this profile article, Young recounts many of the risks and adventures Montgomery has taken for the sake of accurate and impassioned writing. Montgomery says, “I consider my books love stories and that is why I write them. I want to convey to both adults and kids the thrill of discovery. . . . I want my words to inspire people to love this Earth for its beautiful animals and intriguing mysteries and great adventures. . . . This is the world that is in our hands not only to explore, but to honor, treasure, and protect.”

    Keywords: Literature, Writing, Elementary

  • Professional Book Reviews: Challenges and Solutions: Children’s Literature in Today’s K–12 Classrooms

    Laura Pardo and Jodene Kersten

    Abstract: Children’s literature can help students to understand complex concepts in content areas, how to participate in the world as a social activist, and the rich history and values of a cultural group. In this challenging era of national, state, and local policies, one might think that teachers have withdrawn their use of children’s literature and focused on test preparation.

    Keywords: Literature, Pedagogy, Elementary

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Challenges to Children’s Literature: Deskilling, Censoring, and Obsolescence

    Deborah L. Thompson and Susan S. Lehr

    Abstract: The reviewers argue that teachers face a confluence of three major challenges: the codification of deskilling through national legislation, attempts to limit what children can read through censorship, and the difficulties of keeping abreast of the newest ideas, compounded by the immediate obsolescence of new science and social studies textbooks and teaching materials.

    Keywords: Literature, Elementary, School-Community Relation

  • In Closing . . .: Poetry Lesson Grade 6

    Joanne Durham

    Abstract: A teacher’s poem reflects on the multiple meanings and creative, personal expressions that children bring to the study of poetry specifically and language arts more generally.

    Keywords: Diversity, Writing, 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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