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2015 July Language Arts, v92.6

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Issue Theme: Insights and Inquiries

Level(s): Elementary, Middle

ISBN/ISSN: 0360-9170


Language Arts
Volume 92, Number 6, July 2015
Issue Theme: Insights and Inquiries

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Thoughts from the Editors

Call for Manuscripts

Participatory Action Research, Youth Voices, and Civic Engagement
Kevin Burke and Stuart Greene
Abstract: In this article, we describe a youth leadership program we designed with a nonprofit organization aimed at revitalizing low-income neighborhoods. The partnership that we describe stresses the value of understanding youth perspectives on a dearth of affordable housing in their neighborhoods, the threat of the loss of vital goods and services through increased tax cuts, and the need to provide safe spaces for kids to be kids. By including kids as researchers, we have faith that they will become leaders in and beyond their neighborhoods and work to protect the interests of all who live in these communities. We argue that programs like the one we discuss provide a logical starting place for reinvesting time and energy in opportunities for relationship building with children. Understanding youth’s perspectives on what it means to flourish is especially important at a time when neighborhood schools are disappearing and policies have eroded public spaces where youth can build relationships and a sustaining sense of community. Without schools as anchors in neighborhoods, it is more essential than ever to understand how to create and maintain vibrant communities that support youths’ sense of identity, agency, and development.

Reading Lessons from Martin: A Case Study of One African American Student
Catherine Compton-Lilly
Abstract: While American schools become increasingly diverse, the achievement gap remains. However, reading educators have been surprisingly silent on what diversity means in terms of helping children learn to read. Compton-Lilly hopes that this case study helps teachers to identify and address times when they and their students are out of synch. This article is not about identifying a set of characteristics of African American learners. It is not about finding the best way to teach African American children to read. It is about getting beyond our assumptions and beliefs as White educators and closely watching children to become sensitive to what they can teach us.

Multimodal Literacy: From Theories to Practices
Frank Serafini
Abstract: The creation of visual images and multimodal texts allows humans to communicate feelings and ideas across time and space, develop relationships with one another, and document the details of everyday experiences. With greater frequency, students are confronted with texts that include visual images and a variety of design features rather than texts that focus primarily on written language. The inclusion of multimodal features in addition to written language presents challenges to novice readers as they work within and across multiple sign systems to construct meaning. The purpose of this article is to offer a framework for bringing theories of multimodal literacies into the classroom, to reconsider the text as a visual object, semiotic resource, and sociocultural artifact, and to offer instructional approaches for developing students' interpretive repertoires.

Fostering Culturally Relevant Literacy Instruction: Lessons from a Native Hawaiian Classroom
Katherine Wurdeman-Thurston and Julie Kaomea
Abstract: While a good deal of research has been conducted on the benefits of culturally relevant education for indigenous and culturally diverse students, many educators continue to ponder what a culturally based literacy curriculum might look like in practice. This article draws from a Native Hawaiian second-grade classroom to offer a number of practical examples for classroom teachers who are committed to providing culturally and linguistically diverse students with a rigorous, strengths-based approach to literacy instruction that honors their students’ lived experiences and cultural frameworks alongside mainstream academic literacies.

Research & Policy: Doing What You Can: Considering Ways to Address LGBT Topics in Language Arts Curricula
Jill M. Hermann-Wilmarth and Caitlyn L. Ryan
Abstract: In this column, using a range of theoretical and pedagogical tools, the authors highlight how classroom teachers might make use of multiple approaches to addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) topics in their variously situated classrooms. Specifically, they outline three approaches to addressing LGBT topics through literature, each with its own benefits, drawbacks, possibilities, and risks—including books with LGBT characters, reading “straight” books through a “queer lens,” and queering LGBT-inclusive books. In these ways, the authors hope to help teachers shift the conversation away from what they think they can’t do to what they could do. They want to move teachers from considering if they can include particular lessons or particular texts in their instruction to how they might find multiple, even creative, ways to address the larger systems that enable homophobia and heterosexism in the first place.

Professional Book Reviews: Change, Challenge, and Opportunity: Teachers’ Professional Concerns
Abstract: Change and growth are integral elements of the teaching profession that oftentimes place increased demands on the professional lives of teachers. And with these increased demands, many teachers face professional concerns that impact them in significant ways. Addressing concerns provides both challenges and opportunities that may provide the impetus for teachers’ professional growth and change.  This issue explores a variety of resources that address teachers’ professional concerns and reflects on the future directions of education and the tireless work of teachers everywhere.

Children’s Literature Reviews: 2014 Notable Children’s Poetry Books
Abstract: This children's literature review column focuses on outstanding books of poetry published in 2014.

Indexes for Volume 92

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