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Language Arts, Vol. 90, No. 2, November 2012

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Development

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Baby Steps: Development as Incremental Process [FREE ACCESS]

    Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Amy Seely Flint, Teri Holbrook, Laura May, and Peggy Albers

  • Critical Lessons and Playful Literacies: Digital Media in PK–2 Classrooms [FREE ACCESS]

    Nicholas E. Husbye, Beth Buchholz, Linda Coggin, Christy Wessel Powell, and Karen E. Wohlwend

    Abstract: Utilizing a New Literacies Studies framework, this article presents critical lessons in film production from a multiple site case study. Examples of children’s classroom experiences demonstrate how filmmaking and play come together in a process of storying—a collaborative and multimodal approach to text composition. Students in both preschool and early elementary contexts expressed an expanded understanding of composing collaboratively through digital means. Students also utilized technology in sophisticated ways and accessed their knowledge of popular culture and film conventions through the process of storying. Storying allowed diverse learners to cultivate their literate identities along a variety of possible developmental avenues. These multiple pathways to literate identity development invite teachers to examine what counts as literacy within the classroom and imagine possibilities for students when oral language and written text are no longer privileged.

  • Kindergarten Is More Than Ready for the Common Core State Standards

    Louisa Kramer-Vida, Roberta Levitt, and Susan P. Kelly

    Abstract: Standards can aid educators as they work to produce strong student writers who can create meaningful and skillfully crafted authentic pieces of writing. This once -a -month, yearlong professional development program, conducted during the school day, shifted a district’s kindergarten writing program to a writing workshop model that enabled the teachers to concentrate student work on kindergarten and beyond-grade-level writing standards. Transitioning from a basal-based, isolated skills worksheet writing program to a meaning-making writing process approach enabled the teachers to use their professional experience and discretion to articulate and operationalize their fundamental beliefs about teaching writing. As the teachers worked through their own struggles with how to teach writing, and as they made some hard methodological decisions, these teachers began to see the writing standards as a flexible framework whose expectations could be exceeded by their general education, special education, and English Language Learner kindergarten population.

  • A New Spin on Miscue Analysis: Using Spider Charts to Web Reading Processes

    Karen E. Wohlwend

    Abstract: This article introduces a way of seeing miscue analysis data through a spider chart, a readily available digital graphing tool that provides an effective way to visually represent readers’ complex coordination of interrelated cueing systems. A spider chart is a standard feature in recent spreadsheet software that puts a new spin on miscue analysis by quickly generating visual displays of children’s documented reading processes. Also known as radar charts, spider charts show webs that point to the apparent strategies that readers are using, providing a way to quickly visualize how well readers are noticing and coordinating syntactic, semantic, and graphophonic cues during the process of constructing meaning for a text. Following a brief overview of miscue analysis procedures, a range of spider charts is presented, using charts generated from reading analyses conducted by preservice teachers in the author’s early literacy methods course.

  • A Call to Action: JoBeth Allen, 2012 Outstanding Educator in the Language Arts

    Carmen Tisdale

    Abstract: This article is a tribute to JoBeth Allen, recipient of the Elementary Section's 2012 award for Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts. Each year, this award recognizes a distinguished educator who has made major contributions to the field of language arts in elementary education. This article was written by second-grade teacher and former member of the Elementary Section Steering Committee, Carmen Tisdale, in tribute to Professor Allen's lifelong dedication to children, families, teachers, and the transformation of schools to address the strengths and needs of students most marginalized. The article is organized around major aspects of JoBeth's call to action as she urges us to teach for social justice, helping us understand the power of critical pedagogies in the lives of students.

  • Research and Policy: Developing Discussion

    Beth Maloch and Randy Bomer

    Abstract: Researchers and educators have long argued for the importance of providing time and space for rich conversations around literature. This column draws on research to consider how teachers make room for these discussions inside their classrooms. Particularly, the authors consider different dimensions along which teachers might examine and grow discussions in their classrooms: inviting and growing literary response, growing strategies for conversation, and acquiring the discourse practices of a community.

  • Professional Book Reviews: Watching Children Grow as Thinkers, Learners, and Readers [FREE ACCESS]

    Lucy K. Spence, Heidi Mills, and Amy Donnelly

    Abstract: In this issue, we take a look at child development and at authors who conceptualize child development as a process of being and becoming learners and literate people. The first review examines what we learn when we observe one learner closely—first as a person and then as a learner across time. Julianne Wurm’s (2005) book invites readers into Reggio Emilia schools and describes the processes and practices that inform this child-centered and generative curriculum that has resulted in preeminent early childhood schooling in Italy and is generating renewal in the United States. Our final review examines the importance of unpacking our reading practices from the inside in order to teach readers in ways that help them know and grow their own understandings about their reading processes.

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: 2012 Orbis Pictus Award Winners [FREE ACCESS]

    Fran Wilson, Barbara Chatton, Jan Kristo, Deborah Thompson, Lisa Morris-Wilkey, Cyndi Giorgis, and Sue Parsons

    Abstract: This children's literature review column features the 2012 Orbis Pictus award winner, five honor books, and a list of eight recommended titles. The Elementary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English established the Orbis Pictus Award in 1989—the first award to acknowledge outstanding nonfiction books for children. This year's award-winning titles explore a variety of topics, including history, art, nature, biography, and science.

  • Conversation Currents: Aligning Instruction to Developmental Needs in Critical and Digital Literacies

    Jackie Marsh and Vivian Vasquez

    Abstract: Prominent scholars Jackie Marsh and Vivian Vasquez provide information about young literacy learners and problematize the notion of developmental models. Instead, they posit that children will demonstrate achievement at their own pace. The scholars also discuss the value of kid-watching as well as critical and digital literacies both in and out of school.

* 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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