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Language Arts, Vol. 93, No. 3, January 2016

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Insights and Inquiries

  • Calls for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Thoughts from the Editors: Taking the Time to Watch and Learn [FREE ACCESS]

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

  • Career Dream Drawings: Children’s Visions of Professions in Future Workscapes

    Jennifer D. Turner

    Abstract: This article highlights career dream drawings as a tool for language arts teachers to learn more about children’s professional aspirations. I first situate the concept of career dreams in relation to literacy, identity, and multimodality. From this sociocultural frame, career dream drawings are visual renderings of the professional identities, artifacts, and literacies that children envision taking up in future “workscapes” as adults. Next, I focus on the career dream drawings created by 37 children in a university-sponsored summer reading clinic, illustrating how the career dream drawings served as multimodal spaces where children could imagine themselves as future professionals effectively using particular literacies and tools in a variety of imagined workplaces. Finally, I conclude the article with lessons that language arts educators can learn from examining children’s career dream drawings.

    Keywords: Visual Literacy, children’s drawings, multimodal learning/literacy

  • Feedback Loops: Assembling Student Editors, Stories, and Devices for Multimodal Peer Feedback

    Kimberly Lenters and Kimberley Grant

    Abstract: This article explores the transformational learning opportunities and challenges that arose when multimodal recording devices were introduced for providing peer feedback in a fifth-grade classroom's writers’ workshop. This study takes up the challenge of addressing ways in which using iPods and iPads might open new possibilities for writing and editing rather than just overlaying established practices with digital technology. Using a socio-material lens to examine multimodal literacy, the study examines the practices of 15 students as they interacted in peer-editing assemblages their teacher labeled “feedback loops.” Observations and interviews with two pairs of students are highlighted to explore how students used and adapted feedback loops to enhance their current and emergent literacy learning.

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, Multimodal Literacy, Literacy Practices, peer feedback

  • Becoming Writers in a Readers’ World: Kindergarten Writing Journeys

    Sara Ackerman

    Abstract: While research demonstrates the importance of writing in early literacy, school standards and practices do not necessarily operate with this understanding. This action research, conducted in a kindergarten class in an international school in Ethiopia, investigates how students develop identities as writers, the relationship between their writing and reading development, and the implications of this for teaching. Data was collected in the form of personal interviews, writing samples, reading assessments, and anecdotal observations. The results show that in contexts that support and value writing, kindergartners see themselves as writers before they write conventionally and before they begin to read. This study demonstrates the importance of writing to kindergartners and underscores its crucial role in the context of literacy development.

    Keywords: teacher action research, Kindergarten literacy, writing development, writing identity

  • Revaluing Readers: Learning from Zachary [FREE ACCESS]

    Yetta Goodman, Prisca Martens, and Alan Flurkey

    Abstract: In this article, the authors share their work with Zachary, a fourth grader who was perceived as having difficulties with reading. Through retrospective miscue analysis (RMA) over 14 sessions in 5 months, Zachary came to revalue reading as a process of constructing meaning and to revalue himself as a capable reader. The authors describe and use transcripts to show how Zachary came to understand and build on his strengths as a reader through RMA and read more effectively and efficiently. They argue that RMA is a powerful tool that enriches a reading curriculum of authentic reading. It raises reading to a consciousness level, demystifies the reading process, and helps readers, particularly those who are struggling, grow stronger as readers.

    Keywords: Struggling Readers, Miscue Analysis, retrospective miscue analysis

  • Research & Policy: Calling for Response-ability in Our Classrooms

    Maureen P. Boyd

    Abstract: How teacher talk frames, prompts, and responds to student contributions—in the moment and across time—directly impacts the scope and manner of student learning.  Response-able teacher talk practices cultivate student exploration and articulation as they frame and connect material to local experiences and student funds of knowledge, guide critical exploration, and cultivate openness to perspectives. Response-able teacher practices are a concrete manifestation of a dialogic instructional stance. This article identifies three recognizable features of response-able talk and provides examples of what they look like in our elementary classrooms.

    Keywords: Professional Development, classroom practices, dialogic teaching and learning, elementary instruction

  • Professional Book Reviews: Limiting Curricular Bias: Creating Relevance through Authentic Instruction and Assessment [FREE ACCESS]

    Diane DeFord, Janie Goodman, Tasha Laman, and Victoria A. Oglan

    Abstract: The professional literature we review in this issue explores a variety of ways teachers can expand opportunities their students have to read and write utilizing cutting-edge literature, and connect the variety of genre they study to their personal lives. We also address assessment practices that keep the learner sharply in focus rather than the resulting numbers. Finally, we consider professional literature that can help us explore recent events that have begun to shape our lives and impact the schools we work within. The potential impact of this professional literature is to highlight ways to remove bias from the curriculum and transform our schools and communities through dialogue and critical inquiry.

    Keywords: Assessment, Writing, Professional Development, Curriculum, race, genre

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Bigfoot, Bones, and Benjamin Franklin: A Bunch of Books for Sharing in K–8 Classrooms [FREE ACCESS]

    Jonda C. McNair, Deanna Day, Karla J. Möller, and Angie Zapata

    Abstract: This open-themed children's literature review column features a selection of some of our favorite recently published titles. There are books across multiple genres including biography, informational text, poetry, and fiction.

    Keywords: children’s literature

  • Conversation Currents: On Stories and Revolutions with Brian Williams and Deborah Wiles

    Abstract: For this issue, the Language Arts editors invited Brian Williams, expert in cultural relevancy, and children´s book author Deborah Wiles to discuss making the multidimensional nature of history available to young readers and the affordances of multigenre texts in allowing different perspectives to sit side by side.

    Keywords: children’s literature, Brian Williams, cultural relevancy, Deborah Wiles, multigenre texts

* 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