Volume 5(1), 2009


Amy Alexandra Wilson

Associate Editors

Dawan Coombs and George Boggs


Reflecting on the Challenges of Conducting Research across National and Linguistic Borders: Lessons from the Field

Rubinstein-Ávila, E.

Whether a study is qualitative or quantitative, the process of data collection is not as orderly as it may seem when described in published research reports, articles, or books. Data collection may be more challenging when conducting research across national and linguistic borders. In this article, I share and reflect upon the complex and messy experience of conducting an exploratory, “qualitative-oriented” study in Internet Cafes across three South American countries (and two languages): Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. I provide several examples of the challenges I encountered and my attempts to “solve” them. Studies that are transported across national and linguistic borders cannot simply be translated but also must be adapted to the cultural, social and linguistic norms of each particular context. The article also points out how changes in the ways in which data are collected ought to be carefully considered during analysis and interpretation of the findings. Finally, implications for researchers—novices and seasoned—are provided. Read the full article


“That Just Really Knocks Me Out”: Fourth Grade Students Navigate Postmodern Picture Books

Swaggerty, E.

What happens when children come across texts that push the boundaries of what they expect to encounter when they pick up a picture book? There exists a genre of nontraditional picture books, commonly referred to as “postmodern picture books,” which is characterized by a variety of alternative literary and illustrative devices. Given that these books often deviate from traditional narrative structure and elements, traditional comprehension strategies may not be effective in assisting students’ understanding of the story. The purpose of this study was to examine and interpret the ways in which a small group of successful fourth grade readers navigated five postmodern picture books. Video transcripts and field notes from ten individual think aloud sessions and five group book club discussions serve as data sources that reveal the complexity of the ways in which students navigated these books. Read the full article


Mapping a Rhizomatic Ecology of Reading

Cole, L.

Readers, texts, and readings can take unpredictable and seemingly tangential detours that educators might find undesirable and difficult to control. Readers can stray far from the text to seek out desired meanings. In the same way, media outlets can reappropriate favorite literary fictions in ways that can perturb educators and readers alike. Using the theories of an ecology of reading and the rhizome, together with evidence from an adult book club comprised of graduate students studying literacy education, this conceptual piece argues that undisciplined relations among readers, texts, and readings are admittedly tangential but nonetheless vital to the process of meaning-making. Read the full article


The Power of Students’ Stories: Narrative Inquiry in English Education

Knight, S. D.

This theoretical article outlines the rationale behind one teacher educator’s decision to use student-written narratives as part of a narrative inquiry in a year-long English methods course. The article is an explication of why narrative inquiry, as both an individual and a collective endeavor, can be a powerful tool for student learning. Finally, the author explores the epistemological underpinnings of such an inquiry, as well as the stance a teacher educator might take when engaging in narrative inquiry. Read the full article


Voices from the Field

Building an Effective Classroom Library

Catapano, S., Fleming, J., & Elias, M.

New teachers are eager to begin their careers with the information learned from their teacher preparation programs. Too many times, the classroom library is a second thought to the establishment of classroom rules and the implementation of curriculum. Rather than an instructional tool for literacy and classroom community, the library can become a neglected corner of the room without organization. In this practitioner-oriented article, researchers worked with a group of new teachers to help them establish and use their classroom library as part of their literacy program. As a result, tips on building and organizing a classroom library were developed and can be used to guide and support new teachers as they establish their classroom libraries. This article discusses proven strategies and ideas that were developed and tested with classroom teachers. Read the full article


Meeting of Two Minds: Research-Based Literacy Activities in Practice

Borgia, L., & Jackson, J.

This study examines a collaborative project between a literacy professor and a classroom teacher. The professor used a Newbery Award winning novel to develop a unit for a fifth-grade classroom using curricular materials and methods that showcased research-based literacy practices. The fifth-grade teacher, in turn, used her knowledge of students’ strengths and challenges in comprehending texts to modify the activities to meet their specific needs. This collaborative approach to designing instruction enhanced students’ enthusiasm for the unit, the depth of their discussions, their personal connections with characters, and their critical and literary analyses of the text. This collaborative approach also provided an authentic model of effective literacy instruction for the professor’s preservice teachers. Read the full article


Book Reviews

Book Review One
Hamilton, D. (2009)

Author reviews Book Review of Immigrant students and literacy: Reading, writing and remembering by Gerald Campano

Book Review Two
Volz, A. (2009)

Author reviews Culturally contested literacies: America’s “rainbow underclass” and urban schools by Guofang Li




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