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Language Arts, Vol. 88, No. 4, March 2011

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 88, No. 4, March 2011

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Remaking Literacies across Time and Place

  • Call for Manuscripts

  • Language and Literacy in the Borderlands: Acting upon the World through Testimonios

    Cinthya M. Saavedra

    Abstract: Saavedra discusses how children in the borderlands can inform our language and literacy practices through the Latin American literary genre known as testimonio. Drawing from the work of Chicana/Latina feminist pedagogy, I frame my experiencias with language and literacy in three different moments in my life. Through these testimonios, I make connections to the lived realities of many border crossers in the US, arguing that immigrants, border crossers, and transnational children have important lessons to teach us about language and literacy. Furthermore, testimonio continues the project of critical pedagogy through the political act of remembering, as that is also a way to reconnect language with body and consciousness in order to act upon the world. Suggestions for using testimonio in the classroom are presented.

    Keywords: Diversity, Language, Literacy

  • Climbing Walls: Attempting Critical Pedagogy as a 21st-Century Preservice Teacher

    A. Robin McGee

    Abstract: A preservice teacher wants to teach for social justice, but faces challenges effectively engaging in critical pedagogy.  Her class of sixth-grade students wants to examine more closely the issues around immigration, and the author is eager to disrupt any one-dimensional stereotypes of immigrants that the students might have picked up from popular culture.  Together, they craft a unit of language arts study based upon students’ inquiry.  Now a few years into her teaching practice, the author reflects on what worked and what could have gone differently.

    Keywords: Pedagogy, School/Community

  • Literature of Social Transformation: Helping Teachers and Students Make Global Connections

    Ann M. Neely

    Abstract: Neely sought to draw upon her experiences in teaching courses in children’s literature, research on global/multicultural education, and her own beliefs in order to design and implement a course on literature written about and after the end of segregation in the United States and Apartheid in South Africa. The course included travel to some of the sites in which the literature was set. The interplay between reading the literature and the travel are discussed. The article explores ways that this sort of literary study and travel experience may help future teachers begin to see themselves as more globally interconnected. Experiences that directly relate to a focus on global interdependence were the basis for this course. Do these connections help students examine the potential for hegemony and to resist such ideology? Finally, the article suggests implications for elementary classroom teachers and teacher educators who focus on the language arts and literature.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Literature

  • Research Directions: Moving across Languages, Literacies, and Schooling Traditions

    Leslie C. Moore

    Abstract: Millions of children participate in both Qur’anic schooling and public schooling. For the majority, this double schooling entails learning (in) two different non-native languages. Seeking to understand the double-schooling experiences of Muslim children for whom the language of literacy in both of their schools is not their native language, Moore conducted research in a Fulbe community in northern Cameroon, and then in the Somali immigrant-refugee community in Columbus, Ohio. In this article, she draws upon both projects in order to provide insights into the schooling and literacy experiences Somali children and other Muslim immigrants may bring to public school from their other school. She discusses Qur’anic schooling in the Fulbe community, describing the organization and the significance of this schooling tradition for participants, as well as the recent rise of double schooling and changes in Islamic educational practice. She then shifts her focus to the Somali immigrant-refugee community in Columbus, discussing changes in Qur’anic schooling that have arisen in this diasporic context. After discussing how Qur’anic school experiences may affect Muslim language-minority children’s second language and literacy learning in public school, she concludes with reflections on how knowledge of Qur’anic schooling and Qur’anic school-based literacies might impact the practices of public elementary school educators.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, School/Community

  • Focus on Policy: Life and Literacy in Haiti: A Conversation with Jocelyne Trouillot

    Barbara A. Lehman & Cheryl L. Logan, with Anne Pellowski & Gail Bush

    Abstract: A year after the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010,  Lehman and Logan have a virtual conversation with Jocelyne Trouillot, author and publisher of Haitian Creole children’s books, founder of the Haiti section of the International Board on Books for Young People, and head of the Université Caraïbe in Port-au-Prince. They discuss the effects of the widespread destruction and Trouillot’s involvement in rebuilding her university and the Haitian education system, her work with traumatized children and colleagues, the workshops she developed for promoting new writers of children’s books, and her own writing. Anne Pellowski and Gail Bush, who have helped to lead these workshops in Haiti, also describe their experiences. Trouillot provides background for the status of language and literacy in the Haitian context.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Literature

  • Profiles and Perspectives: Living History: Cat Royal and Her Readers

    Julia Golding

    Abstract: Author Julia Golding reflects on her process for writing historical fiction for children.  She wants to leave readers with an image that will encourage their young minds to turn on to history: The popularity of the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series shows that huge numbers of children love fantasy, perhaps best summed up as going-through-the-wardrobe to other worlds. I enjoy this, too. Yet the pleasure of writing historical novels is similar in my experience to writing fantasy: the past is one place to which my imagination/wardrobe leads. If a young writer gathers just enough information to map a few steps beyond the door, then they have a whole new world to explore, which, if they give it a chance, will be just as exciting as anything a magician or half-blood could experience.

    Keywords: Literature, Writing

  • Professional Book Reviews: Movement in Literacy: New Directions in Multilingual, Multicultural, Multinational, and Multimodal Literacy Studies

    Angie Zapata & Audra K. Roach

    Abstract: This column features professional and academic resources for literacy educators exploring multilingual, multicultural, multinational, and multimodal literacies for an increasingly global and digitally networked world.  In these print and electronic materials, readers will find support for: teaching code-switching to strengthen students’ language awareness (Code-Switching Lessons by Rebecca Wheeler and Rachel Swords); deconstructing dominant discourses in children’s literature (Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors by Maria José Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman); applying a critical multicultural perspective across disciplines (Critical Multiculturalism: Theory and Praxis edited by Stephen May and Christine Sleeter); assessing copyright and fair use in digital learning (Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning by Renee Hobbs,; and envisioning the next generation of research in the field of literacy studies (The Future of Literacy Studies edited by Mike Baynham and Mastin Prinsloo).  Collectively, these resources invite literacy educators and learners to engage the opportunities and tensions of literate lives that reach across linguistic, cultural, and semiotic boundaries in a globally networked world.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Pedagogy

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: 2010 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts

    Janelle Mathis, April Bedford, Mary Lee Hahn, Mary Napoli, Jonda C. McNair, Kathy G. Short, and Quinn White

    Abstract: The Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Committee of the Children’s Literature Assembly reviews the 2010 award-winning list of 30 books chosen as notable for K–8 classrooms. The list is a blend of genres, reading levels, inviting formats, and intriguing topics that share selected criteria. These criteria, in addition to exemplifying the generally accepted traits of quality literature, ensure that books: deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or uniqueness in the use of language or style; invite child response or participation; present an appealing format; and exemplify enduring quality.

    Keywords: Literature

  • In Closing . . . Rhythms of Story

    Cynthia Grady

    Abstract: School librarian Cynthia Grady was asked by a student, “Do we have any books where nothing happens?” The implications of that question stretched her thinking about language, story, and children, and altered how she works with students to choose books that will engage them.

* 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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