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Language Arts, Vol. 89, No. 5, May 2012

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: History of the Word, Part I: Centennial Issue

  • Call for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Considering the Past to Think about the “New” [FREE ACCESS]

  • Reading and Writing the World Using Beautiful Books: Language Experience Re-envisioned

    James V. Hoffman and Nancy Roser

    Abstract: Through this article, we describe an instructional strategy termed "Beautiful Books." This strategy involves the creation of images and texts to be used in the development of oral and literacy skills. We explore the historical roots of the strategy in Language Experience Approach (LEA) and Whole language and consider how dictation and early writing can be used together to support development. We discuss the inherent tensions in emergent writing, dictation, and sharing the pen, and describe some of our recent research using Beautiful Books in preservice teacher education.

  • A Tale of 3 P’s—Penmanship, Product, and Process: 100 Years of Elementary Writing Instruction

    Lisa K. Hawkins and Abu Bakar Razali

    Abstract: From penmanship, to product, to process . . . this article recounts 100 years of instructional practice in the US elementary writing classroom through the voices of past teaching manuals and curriculum guides. This particular tale begins at the turn of the 20th century—a time when the elementary school was firmly established in the country, and writing instruction still referred (as it had in centuries past) to the instruction a student received in penmanship. To organize this account, three key definitions of writing that have greatly influenced instructional practice were drawn upon: writing as penmanship, writing as product, and writing as process. This structure highlights the historic arc of elementary writing instruction to date. While 100 years ago there was a strong focus on penmanship, more recently we have seen a greater emphasis on the process of writing, with echoes of penmanship and product remaining.

  • Reclaiming Pleasure in the Teaching of Reading

    Sharon Murphy

    Abstract: Beginning with the premise that pleasure is a driving force in life, this article examines the relationships between pleasure, schooling and society across the past century.  Through the examination of school texts, narratives, and histories of literacy instruction, a case is made that part of the move away from keeping pleasure at the heart of reading is based on the economic role that literacy is perceived as having in contemporary society. Consideration is given to a renewal of interest in rekindling the centrality of pleasure and the positive effects of such efforts. Some of the examples provided are deceptively simple to implement. To conclude, an argument is made that the road to the renewal of reading for pleasure can be embarked upon one teacher at a time.

  • Research and Policy: Reading the Past: Policy and Professionalism in This Journal’s Earliest Issues

    Beth Maloch, Randy Bomer, and Amy Burke

    Abstract: How did elementary language arts teachers of yore respond to policy issues in their own day? A review of the first two volumes of Language Arts, then called The Elementary English Review (1924–1925), suggests the journal served as a dynamic and productive space for language arts teachers and scholars to share their work and debate its merit. Much of this debate focused on what encompasses an appropriate language arts curriculum, including what books are of value (and to whom) and the relationships between curriculum and students' lives. We argue there is much to learn, and much hope to be found, in the space that would become Language Arts.

  • Professional Book Reviews: The Things They Carried: 100 Years of Literacy Learning and Scholarship [FREE ACCESS]

    Lillian Reeves, Amy Johnson Lackhuk, and Diane DeFord

    Abstract: The authors review three books that explore issues affecting literacy, teaching practices, and scholarship throughout the last century.  Interwoven across these texts is the common theme that efforts of teachers, scholars, professional organizations, and policies from the past continue to shape, shift, and define the future of literacy instruction. Within and across the shifts that define current theories and practices are determined teachers, committed to responding to the evolving roles language, literacy, and learning play in meeting and overcoming the challenges young learners face as they navigate school.

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Great Books for Sharing and Reading with Children in Grades K–8 [FREE ACCESS]

    Jonda C. McNair, Alan Bailey, Lesley Colabucci, and Deanna Day

    Abstract: This review column features 14 unthemed children's books written by authors from diverse racial groups. It also includes books from multiple genres, such as nonfiction, contemporary realistic fiction, alphabet books, graphic novels, etc.

  • Conversation Currents: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times?

    Yetta Goodman, Ken Goodman, and Bess Altwerger

    Abstract: In light of NCTE’s 100th birthday, three prominent scholars in the field of literacy discuss important issues ranging from the history of reading theory to the increase of public interest. They also shed light on the evolution of reading, the importance of constructivism, progressive education, and Whole Language.

* 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