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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 24, No. 4, May 2017

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: What’s Next in Teaching Reading?

  • Calls for Manuscripts [FREE ACCESS]

  • Office Hours: Learning from Teachers Who Read [FREE ACCESS]

    Sara Kajder and Shelbie Witte

  • Pop Culture Classroom Presents … Discovering Literacy through Comics [FREE ACCESS]

    Illya Kowalchuk, Adam Kullberg, Jay Peteranetz

    Abstract: The team at Pop Culture Classroom makes a great case for using comics in literacy education, pointing out the various ways this visual storytelling style scaffolds reading comprehension.

    Keywords: Middle School, reading comprehension, Reading Instruction, Struggling Readers

  • Notes from The Nerdy Book Club: What’s Next in Reading?

    Donalyn Miller, Colby Sharp, Cindy Minnich, Katherine Sokolowksi

    Abstract: In their debut column, the facilitators of The Nerdy Book Club blog discuss what literacy means in the current educational climate that emphasizes quantifiable, testable skills and places more value on opinion than fact. What’s next in reading depends on answers to larger questions that teachers and communities will work together to answer.

    Keywords: 21st Century Literacies, cultural literacy, Reading Instruction

  • Leading the Call: Read Talk Write: Developing 21st-Century Skills [FREE ACCESS]

    Laura Robb

    Abstract: The author, an award-winning teacher and scholar, discusses the literary conversations students can have with a small group, the entire class, partners, and even themselves in the form of in-the-head conversations. She includes specific tips for guiding student-led literary discussions.

  • Dropping Everything to Read? How about Picking Some Things Up! [FREE ACCESS]

    Jennifer Serravallo

    Abstract: While it’s crucial for students to be allowed independent reading time, it’s also important to teach them how to be engaged with their reading. The author includes several strategies for helping students set reading goals, including regular conferences with students to provide feedback in the form of conversation rather than critique.

  • YA Voices: Hellen Keller, Annie Sullivan, Mr. Thomsen, and Me, Nora Raleigh [FREE ACCESS]

    Nora Raleigh Baskin

    Abstract: On a return visit to her former school, the author reflects on the importance of her school library and a supportive teacher in setting her on the path to being a writer. 

    Keywords: identity, school library, Young Adult Literature

  • New Voices: Reading Is Absolute and Elemental

    Christopher Lehman

    Abstract: The New Voices column explores the struggles, successes, and dreams of early-career middle level educators, from preservice through sixth year. In this issue, Chris interviews Nicole Dixon, an early-career teacher in New York City who has been using reading to develop thoughtful citizens.

    Keywords: early-career teachers, Reading Instruction

  • Read Aloud Often and Well

    Lester L. Laminack

    Abstract: Reading aloud to students is often relegated to the elementary classroom—the early grades in particular. Here, the author gives guidelines for reading aloud to all ages.

    Keywords: read-aloud, Reading Instruction

  • Sharing Reading: Moving beyond Tools to Create a Community of Readers

    Kristen Hawley Turner

    Abstract: In this essay, the author expands on lessons she learned while researching for her coauthored book Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Reading in a Digital World. It is important for teachers and other experienced readers to reflect on and model our reading practices for students so they can being to think critically about the various modes of texts they experience in their daily lives.

    Keywords: 21st-century literacies, Multimodal Literacies, Reading Instruction

  • Layers of Cultural Responsiveness: Community, Collaboration, and Literacy

    Aimee Myers

    Abstract: Culturally responsive teaching can be a complex concept to educators. They must stay flexible and organic to respond to the challenges faced by students’ cultural, linguistic, and social group affiliations. This article suggests layering three different aspects into the classroom to support culturally responsive teaching: the development of community, supporting collaboration, and authentic literacy.

    Keywords: Collaboration, culturally responsive teaching/CRT, democratic classrooms, Diversity, Literacy

  • The Digital Pencil Project: Annotating Electronically in the Middle Grades

    Jennifer K. Lubke and Lesli Dabney

    Abstract: Annotation is a recommended strategy for supporting comprehension and developing metacognition while reading, but now that we are digitizing, archiving, and sharing texts by way of course management sites and mobile technologies, we need new methods for marking text. So, "what's next" in annotation? How do we introduce and promote digital annotation in the middle grades? In response to these questions, a sixth-grade teacher implemented a four-week unit in which she and her students read, annotated, and responded to short story PDFs on iPads. This article summarizes insights and implications resulting from this pilot project.

    Keywords: 21st-century literacies, blended learning, Multimodal Literacies, reading comprehension, Reading Instruction

  • Discovering Giftedness and Autonomy: Jayda Becomes a Reader

    Justin Stygles

    Abstract: When students face challenges in reading because of pedagogy, practices, or programs, they can become accommodating readers rather than gifted readers, especially when under pressure for meeting expectations along a continuum. When students like the one featured in this piece are allowed to discover autonomy by volume and strategic reading, their gifts—a combination of perception and comprehension—flourish. As a result, disenfranchised readers become more committed and engaged readers.

    Keywords: Reading Instruction, strategic reading, reciprocal teaching

  • Student Voices: What Reading Makes

    Linda Rief

    Abstract: Linda Rief crafts this column, writing alongside her middle school students, to show the beauty and possibilities that lie within the words our students use to make sense of their world. In this issue, she discusses the interconnectedness of reading and writing and notes that creating readers and supporting them through avid discussion helps fuel imagination and confidence, allowing those students to feel successful as writers as well.

    Keywords: Reading Instruction, Writing Instruction, writing strategies

  • Collaborating for Success: Teachers and Librarians as Partners in Learning

    Don Latham and Melissa Gross

    Abstract: When discussing collaboration in an educational setting, most thoughts turn to teacher-teacher collaboration. The authors give us a reminder that teacher-librarian collaborations can be useful in teaching twenty-first-century skills, including information analysis (fake news vs. news), and discuss how to apply Patricia Montiel-Overall’s four-level model of collaboration to enhance instructional strategies, facilitate learning, and achieve learning outcomes.

    Keywords: Collaboration, middle school literacy, school librarians

  • Challenging Constructions Together: Implications of a Mother-Daughter Book Club for Classroom Practice

    Deborah Vriend Van Duinen, Erica R. Hamilton, and Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil

    Abstract: In this article, we explore ways our mother-daughter book club provides opportunities for participants to identify and, in some cases, challenge various dominant constructions of adolescence.

    Keywords: Adolescent Literacy, Book Clubs, cultural literacy, Reading Instruction

  • Picture Books Aren't Just for Kids! Modeling Text Structures through Nonfiction Mentor Books [FREE ACCESS]

    Tracey S. Hodges and Sharon D. Matthews

    Abstract: Integrating nonfiction picture books into reading instruction can provide middle level learners with motivation, engagement, and mentor texts. When teachers combine picture book instruction with teaching text structures, middle school students gain a better understanding of how texts are organized, strategies for recalling information, and approaches to use in their own writing. In this article, the authors discuss classroom practices appropriate to for teaching text structures through nonfiction mentor texts and provide a list of popular children's books appropriate to use in this instructional practice.

    Keywords: book list, reading comprehension, Reading Instruction

  • Notes from the Middle Level Section: Why Diversity Matters in the Middle [FREE ACCESS]

    Margaret Hale

    Abstract: This column brings news from the NCTE Middle Level Section steering committee. In this issue, get a glimpse of what’s happening specifically for middle grades at the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO, in November.

    Keywords: #NCTE17, Middle Level

  • Editorial Board Reviewers for Volume 24 [FREE ACCESS]

  • Index

* 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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