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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 14, No. 4, May 2007

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 14, No. 4, May 2007

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Taking a Toll: Who Gets Left Behind?

  • Intervention All Day Long: New Hope for Struggling Readers

    Richard L. Allington

    Abstract: School districts have come to think of intervention for struggling readers as something accomplished in a session outside the classroom, one period long, taught by someone other than that student’s usual teacher. This often leaves struggling readers in a learning environment where no theory or empirical evidence would predict substantial learning. Allington feels that in an effort to comply with federal regulations, these students are also being asked to read texts that are just too hard, leading to frustration and, eventually, giving up. He contends that until we recognize that appropriate instruction has to be available to struggling readers all day long, it is unlikely we will meet the challenges of the new legislation and the moral obligation to end the struggles of our struggling readers.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Lessons from Jeniffer: Addressing Common Assumptions Regarding "Former" English-Language Learners

    Kimberley K. Cuero & Joel E. Dworin

    Abstract: This article draws attention to the ever-increasing population of middle level students who come from bilingual education programs and find themselves in our classrooms still learning to use English for academic purposes without the benefit of ESL or primary language supports. Authors Cuero and Dworin advocate for curriculum and teaching that values bilingualism and biliteracy development for students, and for programs whose goals and structures support those ends. They offer ways that teachers may better acknowledge the complexities of educating bilingual students and their specific needs, both in and out of school.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Using a Writing Marathon to Create a College Culture among At-Risk Sixth-graders

    Liz C. Stephens, Rich Radcliffe, Jan Schaefer

    Abstract: Because approximately two-thirds of the nation’s middle school students are writing and reading below the proficient level (NCREL, 2005), researchers warn that we may be facing a literacy crisis in the next decade unless schools commit to creating a culture that promotes college or other postsecondary education. The authors endorse the position that schools should create a “college culture” that encourages all students to consider college by introducing information about higher education opportunities during early adolescence and in high school. This article details a project, intended to inspire this consideration, in which 50 sixth-graders were selected to participate in a writing activity that was coupled with a visit to a university campus. The interaction with campus life and the glimpse of college classes seemed to yield positive results.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Are Urban Middle Schools Leaving Bright Immigrant Youth Behind?

    Theresa McGinnis

    Abstract: McGinnis draws on the idea of engaged learning as critical and illustrates how school literacy practices do not provide urban Khmer youth (and by extension, other groups whose backgrounds are linguistically or socioculturally distinct) with deep levels of engagement in literacy activities. By looking at the types of writing experiences these youth are offered and asking them directly about their perceptions of their own education, McGinnis has deduced that these children are, in fact, being left behind. She believes that learning about students’ lives outside of the classroom, at home, in their communities, and among their peers will help classroom teachers consider multiple perspectives of literacy and knowledge inside the classroom. Thus, this article aims to support educators in organizing social experiences and interactions within the classroom that are meaningful to all students.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Poem: "Hope for Struggling Readers"

    Patricia Watson

    Abstract: Within the genre of rhyming verse, Watson offers research, questions, and answers about working with struggling readers.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • EDITORS' MESSAGE: Taking a Toll: Who Gets Left Behind?

    Roxanne Henkin, Janis Harmon and Elizabeth Pate

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Michael J. Vokoun

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • NEXT STEPS IN THE JOURNEY: Personalizing Our Teaching: No Specific Human Being Left Behind

    Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, editor

    Abstract: Recognizing the challenge of individualizing instruction, Wilhelm reminds us of some specific areas teachers must focus on: developing apprenticeship and inquiry settings in which student difference is a resource; connecting students to their reading and writing; honoring and using students’ first languages; situating instruction in real or simulated contexts where learning can be applied; using a variety of assessment practices. “This is our privilege and our purpose as teachers, and it is the only path to transformative teaching and learning.”

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADOLESCENTS: Leaving No Reader Behind: Some Tips for Reluctant Readers

    Teri Lesesne, editor

    Abstract: Lesesne examines some of the qualities that attract all readers—including reluctant ones—and gives examples: Title (After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates; The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson); Cover (Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonneblick; Pick Me Up: Stuff You Need to Know by Jeremy Leslie and David Roberts); Opening Paragraph (The Legend of Bass Reeves by Gary Paulsen; The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci).

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • NEW PUZZLES, NEXT MOVES: How Can You Gain the Most from Working with a Literacy Coach?

    Nancy Shanklin, editor

    Abstract: If student learning is to increase, coaching requires the development of a reciprocal relationship of trust between a teacher and a coach. To help relieve the potential for apprehension, Shanklin describes what happens in quality coaching sessions and specific steps teachers can take to work well with a literacy coach.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • STUDENT TO STUDENT: What’s the Difference between What and Who Gets Left Behind?

    Kim Ford, editor

    Abstract: Recognizing that curriculum mandates often cut short the time students have for “those special projects that let kids really dig in and learn,” Ford laments the paucity of student book review submissions and encourages more teachers to submit their students’ work. Nine student-written book reviews are included.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • TECHNOLOGY TOOLKIT: How Can We Already Be Left Behind When Nobody Told Us Where We Were Going

    Sandy Hayes, editor

    Abstract: A seldom-publicized section of NCLB calls for “every student [to be] technologically literate by the time the student finishes the eighth grade, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.” Yet standards, when they even exist, fail to define “technologically literate,” and those definitions that do exist are constantly being revised. Hayes offers no answers for this conundrum, but does give notice of a pending area on NCTE’s website where teachers will be invited to share their own solutions.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Penny Silvers, editor

    Abstract: Reviewed are: Why Jane and John Couldn’t Read—and How They Learned: A New Look at Striving Readers by Rosalie Fink, and Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom by Jaime Wood.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • BUMPS IN THE ROAD:There Is More to Fluency than Speed and Accuracy

    Wanda Hedrick, editor with Rita Harb, Adrienne Paone, Christine Sikes, and Peggy Clark

    Abstract: Fluency is another concept whose many definitions lead to widely differing practices. It is easy to understand that reading words on a page does not make a person fluent if they don’t take away meaning from that reading. Hedrick asks that teachers and administrators examine policies that let speed and accuracy in reading substitute for meaning making.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

* 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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