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Language Arts, Vol. 88, No. 6, July 2011

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 88, No. 6, July 2011

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Inquiries and Insights

  • Calls for Manuscripts

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Transformations and Reflections: Editing Language Arts 2005–2011

  • “My mom says I’m really creative!”: Dis/Ability, Positioning, and Resistance in Multimodal Instructional Contexts

    Kathleen M. Collins

    Abstract: How do the children in our classrooms get identified as certain “types” of students, as “disabled” or as “competent”?  What factors bear on who the children in our classrooms are able to be?  How might exploring the answers to these questions lead us to create classroom communities that are more inclusive, livable, and equitable?  Beginning with this inquiry, Collins explores how multimodal forms of literacy and varieties of social positioning contribute to shaping students’ identities in classrooms.  She shares the story of Christopher, an African American boy labeled “deficient” by the school he attends.  Drawing on a variety of literacy tools present within his teacher’s multimodal instruction, Christopher worked to be recognized as competent within his classroom community.  His efforts to do so illustrate how classroom interactions and instructional choices work to position children as “normal” or as “deficient.”

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, Elementary Education

  • Teachers’ Texts in Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Ted Kesler

    Abstract: In this paper, the author shares three teaching stories that demonstrate the social, cultural, political, and historical factors of all texts in specific interpretive communities. The author shows how the texts that comprised his curriculum constructed particular subject positions that inevitably included some students but marginalized and excluded others. Coupling critical literacy theory with culturally responsive teaching practices enabled the author to open up the curriculum to students who might otherwise have been shut out by challenging and reformulating these texts.  Thus, culturally responsive teaching becomes stronger when coupled with a critical literacy lens. The author concludes with two implications for teachers. One implication is for teachers to recognize and embrace the critical literacy dimensions in the texts that constitute our curricula and, based in culturally responsive pedagogy, anticipate the many ways these texts might situate students and their families. A second implication is for teachers to become responsive to the unanticipated ways that students will respond to texts during curriculum enactment to enable more inclusive teaching practices.

    Keywords: Literacy, Pedagogy

  • By the Book and Behind-the-Glass: Teacher Self-Regulation in One Reading Intervention

    Catherine Compton-Lilly

    Abstract: This paper presents the voices of Reading Recovery teachers in order to examine their self-regulation in that context.  Foucault’s constructs of hierarchical observation, normalization of judgment, and technologies of self are used to explore how self-regulated stances are created and sustained and to explore the way self-regulation operates within a community in which particular ways of acting, interacting, believing, and teaching are valued.  Sixteen Reading Recovery teachers were interviewed about their teaching and learning experiences.  Findings suggest that while teacher self-regulation in Reading Recovery imposes particular limits, these limits provide both opportunities for professional growth and collective learning while contributing to the sustainability of the Reading Recovery Program.

    Keywords: Literacy, Pedagogy, Reading, Elementary

  • Research Directions: Having Words: Contrasting Perspectives on Children’s Writing through the History of Language Arts

    Gail Boldt, Sharlene Gilman, Suyoung Kang, Elsie Olan, and Nicole Olcese

    Abstract: This article is an historical study of the understanding of children’s writing through Language Arts.  The author and her research team did a content analysis of articles about writing that appeared in Language Arts beginning in 1924 through January, 2010.  Analysis shows that a major area of tension throughout the history of the journal has been between conceptualizations of writing as a form of language use for children’s thinking and expression and writing as a standardized set of skills and processes.  The authors propose that these positions can be traced, through the pages of Language Arts, to contrasting perspectives on the value of diversity in experience, interest, and language use, and on standardization versus teacher control of curriculum.

    Keywords: Literacy, Writing

  • Professional Book Reviews: Socially Engaged Scholarship: Linking Youth Popular Literacy Practices and Social Justice

    K. C. Nat Turner

    Abstract: This column features the books of colleagues who are both teacher educators and senior scholars in the field of literacy working for social and educational justice.  Their work not only calls for engaging youth in intimate and honest conversations about racism, inequality, and social justice using accessible language, but each scholar has made long-term commitments to personally work alongside the African American and Latino youth they aim to learn from using a method of socially engaged scholarship. Collectively, the books reviewed in this column investigate effective practices of incorporating three different genres of youth popular culture to develop students literacies while addressing issues of social import beyond the walls of the classroom: sports—What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher: Lessons Urban Schools Can Learn from a Successful Sports Program, written by Jeff Duncan-Andrade; multimodal media production—Harlem on Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth, by Valerie Kinloch; and hip hop culture—Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity by Marc Lamont Hill.

    Keywords: Diversity, Literacy, School/Community

  • Profiles and Perspectives: J. Patrick Lewis: A Joyful Master of Poetry, Pun, and Word Play

    Barbara A. Ward and Terrell A. Young,

    Abstract: Most readers think that prolific children’s poet J. Patrick Lewis has always been a poet and an author of children’s poetry. But nothing could be further from the truth. Lewis was once an academic, teaching and writing articles about economics at a university before the allure of poetry beckoned him from his ivory tower world. This profile of the 16th recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children explores some of the influences on Lewis’s writing life as well as some of his favorite topics. Lewis also provides insight into his creative process and coins a phrase or two while sharing the start of a poem.

    Keywords: Literature, Writing

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Tasting Seasoned Words of Joy: Notable Poetry Published in 2010

    By Barbara A. Ward, Terrell A. Young, Mary P. Napoli, Elaine Magliaro, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

    Abstract: The great variety and forms of poetry for children and young adults is explored in this annual review column. Members of the NCTE Excellence in Poetry for Children Awards Committee celebrate their favorite poetry offerings from 2010. Sixteen titles for children and four novels in verse are described enthusiastically, providing teachers and librarians with a taste of what the poetry world has to offer.  Readers will find poems to share, reread, and reflect upon as they use these poetry reviews as a starting place to build a poetry library.  The list of Notable Poetry titles contains poems by long-time favorite writers as well as some surprising and appealing offerings from novice poets. There is a poem or a poetry book for every taste here.

    Keywords: Literature

  • In Closing . . . : Poetry Is . . .

    J. Patrick Lewis

    Abstract: J. Patrick Lewis makes a creative run at defining the elusive genre of poetry, capturing the diverse meanings and emotions each reader draws from its words and internalizes as his or her own.

  • Guest Reviewers for Volume 88

  • Index for Volume 88

* 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