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NCTE INBOX Newsletter
April 15, 2014
News links are provided for informational purposes, do not imply endorsement by the National Council of Teachers of English, and were live when this issue was published; free registration or a paid subscription may be required for some news articles. Free access to NCTE journal articles mentioned in this INBOX is provided for 21 days. After this free access period expires, articles are available to journal subscribers only. Articles are intended for personal use only and may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from NCTE.

Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important
The Atlantic, April 8, 2014

Check out these ideas from your colleagues for teaching poetry:

Save the Earth Poetry Prize

April 13 #nctechat on "Valuing Poetry in the Common Core Era" with NCTE members Paul Hankins (@PaulWHankins) and Cynthia Alaniz (@utalaniz)

360 Degrees of Text: Using Poetry to Teach Close Reading and Powerful Writing by NCTE member Eileen Murphy Buckley; see also Eileen's lesson plans Speaking Poetry: Exploring Sonic Patterns Through Performance and Sonic Patterns: Exploring Poetic Techniques Through Close Reading 

"Poetry and World War II: Creating Community through Content-Area Writing" from Voices from the Middle 

Working with Veterans in College Composition
Listen!Hear the interview with NCTE members D. Alexis Hart and Mike Edwards this Thursday, April 17, at noon ET, on Higher Ed Talk Radio.

Hart and Edwards chair the CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication) Veteran Students Task Force, which is charged with conducting research that documents how institutions around the country are doing in response to the influx of veteran students; developing a "Best Practices" document based on the research; drafting a position statement and guidelines for instructors and tutors of college composition to better serve the increasing number of veterans; and thinking critically about the other ways our field can be responsive to the needs of veterans who may not enter our classrooms through the promotion of literacy, language, and writing.

See also:

"An Ethical Obligation": Promising Practices for Student Veterans in College Writing Classrooms (results of a 2011 CCCC Research Grant)

"Casualties of War: Combat Trauma and the Return of the Combat Veteran":  This essay discusses how firsthand accounts of American soldiers can help literature students appreciate how the combat trauma and homecoming experiences of today's soldiers parallel the stories of Homeric heroes.

Push to Reform Remedial Education Raises Difficult Questions for Colleges
The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2014

Watch!See the video:  "How One University Has Achieved Parity in Student Success":  The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 10, 2014

Serious Reading Takes a Hit from Online Scanning and Skimming, Researchers Say
The Washington Post, April 6, 2014

. . . Literary Notes
"Book News: A Q&A with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Vijay Seshadri":  The Two-Way blog,, April 15, 2014 
"Grapes of Wrath Is 75, but Its Depictions of Poverty Are Timeless":  Morning Edition, NPR, April 14, 2014

Looking to Chat about the Book?  Check out "Last Book Club Meeting: Grapes of Wrath Turns 75. Let's Discuss" as the #NPRGrapes book club ends and invites your conversation.   Monkey See blog,, April 14, 2014 

See also Designing Museum Exhibits for The Grapes of Wrath: A Multigenre Project from

The House of the SpiritsCaptain Underpants, Bluest Eye, Top ALA List of Most Challenged Books
Curriculum Matters blog, Education Week, April 14, 2014 

Banning Books Hurts Students
Walt Gardner's Reality Check blog, Education Week, April 7, 2014

Finally, these North Carolina students (see photo at right) get to read Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits which was removed in November and finally returned to the class at the end of March.

Speak Up: The Current State of Digital Learning
Read the reporteSchool News, April 11, 2014 

How Are Students' Roles Changing in the New Economy of Information?
Mind/Shift blog,, March 31, 2014

Take Note!
NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment 

Celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros
Children's Day/Book Day Is April 30

El dia de los ninos/El dia de los librosEl día de los niños/El día de los libros was created under the leadership of author Pat Mora in 1996. Read about Mora and the history of Día.

In "The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children," the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association describes El día de los niños/El día de los libros as "a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds." The article highlights programs at local libraries.

Yvonne Freeman and David Freeman, in the Talking Points article "Connecting Students to Culturally Relevant Texts," argue the importance of providing students with culturally relevant books and discuss their criteria for deciding if a book is culturally relevant to a particular child.

Find classroom activities and other resources for celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros on the website calendar entry.


NCLE WEb Event April 30NCLE Web Event: Remodeling Summer Learning
Re-imagine traditional summer school and district workshops by remodeling summer learning experiences to focus on student achievement AND professional development simultaneously. Join this NCLE Web event to hear about two different initiatives that are challenging the longstanding traditions about how we design summer learning: Sharing Our Practices: Developing Literacy Teaching and Learning in the Off-Season,
Wednesday, April 30, 11:30 a.m. ET.

Make a Difference in Your Practice by Enrolling in an NCTE Online Course!
NCTE-facilitated online courses guide you using classroom videos and professional texts to encourage collaboration around critical questions about literacy learning and school improvement. Whether you are a classroom teacher or are responsible for leading professional learning, you will gain powerful insights to apply to your work! 
Two brand-new, six-week courses begin May 19:

NCTE/Norman Mailer Writing Awards for Students, Teachers
Students from high schools and two- and four-year colleges and middle and high school teachers can submit their writing for the following awards sponsored by NCTE and the Norman Mailer Center:

April 30 deadline:
Creative nonfiction written by high school students
Creative nonfiction written by students at two-year colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges
Creative nonfiction written by four-year college students
Poetry written by students at four-year colleges, two-year colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges

July 23 deadline:
Nonfiction written by middle school and high school teachers

Additional Upcoming Award Deadlines

April 30:

May 1: 

May 18:

Submit Your Nominations for the Orwell and Doublespeak Awards
The NCTE Public Language Awards Committee invites nominations for the 2014 George Orwell and Doublespeak awards. The NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, established in 1975, recognizes writers who have made outstanding contributions to the critical analysis of public discourse. The NCTE Doublespeak Award, established in 1974, is an ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered. The nomination deadline for both awards is September 15; winners will be announced in November at the 2014 NCTE Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

April 2014 English EducationApril 2014 English Education
Subscribers can see their April 2014 English Education online now; free access to the article "Learning to Teach and Critical Pedagogy: Struggling with a 'Do as I Say, Not as I Do' Pedagogy" is available those who don't subscribe. Learn more about English Education, the journal of the Conference on English Education.


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