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Language Arts, Vol. 94, No. 1, September 2016

Cover Art for Language Arts, Vol. 94, No. 1, September 2016

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Viewpoints and Visions

  • Calls for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Thoughts from the Editors [FREE ACCESS]

    Wanda Brooks, Jonda C. McNair, and Kelly Wissman

  • The Power of Purposeful Talk in the Primary-Grade Writing Conference [FREE ACCESS]

    Lisa K. Hawkins

    Abstract: When making determinations about how to teach students, educators often give thought to the content of their talk. However, the ways in which they deliver that content, or the talk itself, receive considerably less attention. Yet how talk functions is of critical importance to the success of the teacher–student writing conference as a pedagogical tool in primary-grade settings. In this article, four illustrative writing conference cases are shared from one veteran writing teacher’s first-grade classroom that showcase how teacher talk, and especially teacher talk in relation to overall conference purpose, greatly shapes the nature of work young children are able to accomplish within a particular conference. Recommendations for implementing purposeful talk when conducting writing conferences in primary-grade classrooms are also offered.

    Keywords: Writing, Writing Conferences, classroom discourse, teacher talk, genre

  • (Mis)Understanding Manuel: One Student’s Perspective on His Literacy (In)Competence

    Monica A. Belfatti

    Abstract: Achievement ideologies and discourses permeate classroom life, yet how these ideologies and discourses get interpreted and appropriated by young students is far less understood. This article explores one student’s understanding of what it means to work hard to be a good literacy student. Specifically, it explores how Manuel, a fourth grader of Puerto Rican heritage, verbally participated in information book discussions across a school year and what his participation meant to him. Findings indicate Manuel forged a practice of playing devil’s advocate based on achievement discourses that he interpreted as “displaying effort in school leads to academic rewards.” Manuel’s teacher held a different notion of what constitutes literacy prowess based on high-stakes testing discourses. The ideological gap contributed to Manuel’s participation practices being rendered invalid. This study points to the need to unpack achievement ideologies held by various educational stakeholders and understand students’ perspectives on their own education in order to challenge deficit perspectives that adversely affect the educational prospects of minority youth.

    Keywords: Early Literacy, Response to Literature, achievement ideologies, Deficit Perspectives, Student Perspectives

  • Education Activist Bess Altwerger, NCTE’s 2016 Outstanding Elementary Educator in the English Language Arts

    Richard J. Meyer

    Abstract: Educational activist Bess Altwerger describes and discusses the influences upon and nature of her work in support of literacy in public schools. 

    Keywords: Whole Language, Advocacy, Bess Altwerger, Progressive Literacy

  • Research & Policy: “Education without Boundaries”: Literacy Pedagogies and Human Rights

    Gerald Campano, María Paula Ghiso, Alicia Rusoja, Grace D. Player, and Emily Rose Schwab

    Abstract: This column examines the possibilities and critiques of human rights thinking and its implications for literacy and participatory research. 

    Keywords: Critical Literacy, community-based research, Human Rights

  • Language Arts Lessons: Co-inquiry, Co-construction, Collaboration: The Emergence of Curriculum

    Kuan-Hui Leu, Tran Templeton, and Haeny Yoon

    Abstract: Using close observations of children’s conversational threads, inquiries, and play enactments, this article describes the process of designing emergent curriculum with young children.

    Keywords: Drama, Inquiry, Play, Emergent Curriculum

  • Children’s Literature Reviews: Courage, Compassion, Connection: Building Community through Powerful Characters [FREE ACCESS]

    Grace Enriquez, Mary Ann Cappiello, Erika Thulin Dawes, and Katie Egan Cunningham

    Abstract: In this column we review a selection of children’s books focusing on characters and communities that connect and grow with one another through their courage and compassion. 

    Keywords: Community, children’s literature, Compassion, Courage

  • Perspectives on Practice:Twitter in the Elementary Classroom: A Teacher’s Journey [FREE ACCESS]

    Holly Marich

    Abstract: This article focuses on a primary teacher’s eight-week journey using an unfamiliar microblogging technology and its positive impact on her teaching as well as her students’ learning.

    Keywords: Technology, 21st Century Literacies, Twitter, New Literacies, Elementary Education, microblogging

* 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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