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Language Arts, Vol. 90, No. 1, September 2012

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Local Literacies in a Global World

  • Call for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Exploring Shifting Times [FREE ACCESS]

  • Story as World Making

    Kathy G. Short

    Abstract: Stories are woven so tightly into the fabric of our everyday lives that it’s easy to overlook their significance in framing how we think about ourselves and the world.  Stories are meaning making, providing a means of structuring and reflecting on our experiences in order to understand their significance. Story is also life making, a way of knowing.  Educators are often so focused on using literature to teach something else that they lose sight of literature as having value in and of itself in illuminating what it means to be human.  In addition, story is world making, inviting readers to participate in another’s vision of the world and to “live through,” not just gain knowledge about, life.  This vision provides a way for students to imagine and live within and across global cultures.  Finally, story defines our professional identities and possibilities as teachers, creating the basis for a true democracy of the intellect.

  • Learning from Bilingual Family Literacies [FREE ACCESS]

    Luz A. Murillo

    Abstract: This ethnographic study explores the literacies of bilingual families living in the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S.-Mexico border. Murillo argues that immigrant families living on the border play an important role in their children’s literacy development, but that their voices are seldom heard in schools due to powerful and persistent deficit views of Spanish and Spanish-speaking families. To counter these views, Murillo describes the literacy practices that bilingual families engage in on a daily basis, and reports bilingual parents' views about literacy in Spanish and English. To encourage and guide language arts educators who wish to use bilingual family literacies as resources for teaching and learning, Murillo identifies key themes and instructional strategies that bilingual and monolingual teachers alike can use with bilingual readers and their families.

  • “Oigan, tengo un cuento”: Crossing la Frontera of Life and Books

    Julia López-Robertson

    Abstract: This teacher research study took place in a bilingual second-grade classroom in the southwestern United States.  The study investigates the cuentos told during pláticas literarias/literature discussions and explores how five young Latinas used their cuentos to communicate meaning through intertextual connections. These intertextual connections revealed that young children from linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds are indeed capable of drawing on their cultural traditions—in this case storytelling—to make meaning.   Their cuentos were used as the building blocks for the pláticas literarias and provided counternarratives to the prevailing deficit view used to measure the academic potential of Latinos.

  • Research and Policy: Diverse Local Literacies and Standardizing Policies

    Randy Bomer and Beth Maloch

    Abstract: The authors challenge educators to speculate on how to address local issues in a world that is increasingly diverse and global.  This Research and Policy section emphasizes the seemingly paradoxical importance of both local and global literacy, illuminating the tension between the preservation of local literacy and a global standardization of literacy education.  The article also addresses the rapid globalization of literacy due to technologies that expand learners’ horizons beyond their small communities and the increased diversity that stems from a mobilized immigrant population.

  • Professional Book Reviews: Contextualizing Literacy [FREE ACCESS]

    Pamela C. Jewett, Lillian G. Reeves, and Tasha Tropp Laman

    Abstract: An investigation into the differences and similarities between local and global literacy forces us to question what constitutes literacy.  This issue’s Professional Book Review department focuses on three books that challenge conventional views of global or standardized literacy by highlighting literate practices of formerly colonized or enslaved people.  These books emphasize the need to contextualize, rather than standardize, our conceptions of literacy.

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Global Children’s Literature [FREE ACCESS]

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

    Abstract: Featured is a selection of books that were first published outside of the United States, as well as titles published in this country that have global settings. Titles first published within the United States but featuring global themes are also included.

  • Conversation Currents: Learning Local and Global Literacies from Students and Families

    Sonia Nieto and K. C. Nat Turner

    Abstract: Two prominent scholars, Sonia Nieto and K. C. Nat Turner discuss the importance of collaboration between schools and families. They highlight the concept of transformation, which fosters a two-way process. They also offer authentic ways for teachers to become part of the community and embrace home literacy practices.

* 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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