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LA Guidelines for Authors - Previous Revision

Language Arts publishes original contributions on all facets of language arts learning and teaching focusing primarily on issues concerning children of preschool through middle school age.


1. Know the journal. Read several issues of the journal. Look for the following types of information: (a) the intended audience, (b) the specific themes and issues addressed, (c) the tone and style, (d) the format and organization, and (e) the length of pieces.

2. Follow submission guidelines carefully. Your submission will be expedited if you follow our submission guidelines. Check the latest issue of the journal to be sure that you are following the most recent guidelines. (Look for the section titled Manuscripts presented just after the table of contents). Examples of the information contained within submission guidelines are: (a) the kind of contact information the journal requires, (b) the number of copies of the manuscript you should send, and (c) the style manual expected for use in preparing manuscripts.

3. Create content that will be new to the readers of the journal. Writers should remember that although an idea may be new to them, it might have been represented previously in the pages of Language Arts. Consequently, when exploring old ideas, writers should, for example, think about what a novel theoretical framing might bring to an idea or the particular tensions in implementing these ideas within a specific classroom context.

4. Think through your presentation of classroom studies. Discussions of classrooms should have a theoretical framing. Be sure to include examples of classroom data (i.e., quotes from transcripts and observational notes) rather than summarize what occurred. Don't just present data; analyze it and reflect on it in relation to the theoretical framing.

5. Thing about a range of forms for manuscripts. Language Arts publishes a range of forms as possibilities for articles. Reflective pieces: Reflections upon an experience must have meaning beyond the specific experiences of the author. Poetry: We are particularly interested in poetry that relates to literacy issues. Photo essays: In preparing photo essays, work with large images that need little or no explanatory text. Usually four or five images is a maximum. Plays: For submissions that are plays, a key consideration is that the language arts must be central to the piece. In addition, authors of plays should keep manuscripts well below 20 pages since the formatting of plays takes up considerable space. Visual texts: Language Arts is interested in receiving submissions that work with the visuality of text. In such submissions, authors are asked to consider layout and design (consider the submission as a whole text rather than pieces). Reviews: Currently Language Arts has departments that perform the task of reviewing either children's books (Reading Corner for Children) or professional books (Reading Corner for Educators). In addition, we have another department that presents profiles on authors and educators. Consequently, the editors are not interested in receiving manuscripts that duplicate the function of these departments.

6. Follow practices of good writers. Authors of manuscripts for Language Arts should follow the same guidelines that all good writers follow: (a) get others to read your drafts, (b) set aside your work and reread later for proofing and organization, (c) check for assumptions you make of the reader (i.e., your reader's background knowledge), (d) check the organization of your manuscript (headings may help), (e) look to smooth transitions between sections of your work, and (f) include all cited references (and only cited references) in the reference section and make sure each reference entry is complete.

Questions Authors Often Ask

How many copies of the manuscript should be submitted?

For all submissions include 6 copies and an electronic copy on disk or cd. Authors outside the United States and Canada may forgo hard copies and just submit electronic copies of manuscripts.

How long should my manuscript be?

Usually, essay manuscripts are approximately 6500 words (or about 20 pages) including references.

Are there any restrictions on photo essays?

Photos should be black and white and on glossy paper, if possible. Electronic versions should be jpeg or tiff files at least 300 ppi at the final run size.

Can I submit copies of students work?

Copies of student work should be legible. Illegible copies cannot be reproduced. In addition, authors should know that, if the manuscript is accepted for publication, they should ensure that they can present a camera-ready copy of the work and that they will need to have completed informed consent forms allowing for the written material to be reproduced in the article. Electronic versions of student work are welcome as long as they are jpeg or tiff files scanned at least 300 ppi at the final run size.

What style should I follow?

All manuscripts should be prepared according to the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association with the following exceptions: a) the reference list should use a hanging indent, b) the running head need only appear on the cover page of the manuscript c) avoid footnotes and endnotes d) endmatter should be ordered as follows - Author's Notes, Children's Books Cited (only for cases in which there is a lengthy children's book list), and References. Please note that attentiveness to the guidelines will expedite the processing of your manuscript.

What information should I include in my submission?

Each manuscript should include: a cover sheet containing the author's name, affiliation, position, preferred mailing address, telephone number(s), fax number, e-mail address, running head, and abstract. Identifying information should not appear elsewhere in the manuscript in order to ensure an impartial review.

What are the steps in the review process?

The manuscript review process takes several steps.

Step 1: When manuscripts are received at Language Arts, they are first assigned a manuscript number and are entered into the database.

Step 2: Every manuscript is then read by the editors who make a joint decision on whether the manuscript should proceed to the review stage. If a manuscript is clearly inappropriate for Language Arts, it is not sent out for review. Approximately 50% of all manuscripts are sent out for review.

Step 3: Each manuscript is sent to at least two members of the Editorial Board for blind review. The timeliness of this part of the review process is dependent upon the review board. The reviewers are asked to evaluate the manuscript on the basis of the following criteria: · Appropriateness for a Language Arts audience · Significance of the topic being written about · Theoretical or empirical basis for the article · The degree to which the article contributes new insights or information · The form and style of the manuscript (its clarity, focus, and writing style).

Step 4: Once the manuscript has been reviewed, the editors consider the manuscript in light of the review comments, the fit of the topic to the theme, and their original notes on the manuscript. At this point, the editors place the manuscript into one of the following decision categories: · Publish · Accept with Changes · Invite a Resubmission · Reject: The editors then write a letter to the author of the manuscript informing the author of the decision. If a manuscript falls into the "invite a resubmission" category, it may be rewritten and go through a review process again, frequently with at least one of the reviewers from the first submission re-reviewing the manuscript. The offer to resubmit does not indicate that the manuscript has been accepted; instead, it suggests that the editors and reviewers see some promise that might be fulfilled given a substantial revision. Resubmitted manuscripts can be rejected as the result of a second review process.

How long does the review process take?

Usually, decisions are made within 5 to 6 months. However, because of the themed nature of Language Arts, a final decision about a manuscript may take as long as a year, especially if the subject of the manuscript is not focused on one of the monthly themes.

Editors: Patricia Enciso, Laurie Katz, Barbara Z. Kiefer, Detra Price-Dennis, and Melissa Wilson

Mailing Address:

Language Arts Editorial Team
The Ohio State University
333 Arps Hall, 1945 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-7559 (Fax): 614-292-7695 - Attn: Language Arts Editorial Team

Also send an email to to let them know you sent a fax.

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