Volume 6(1), 2010

Dawan Coombs and George Boggs

Associate Editor
Amy Alexandra Wilson



Learning to Write in a Mexican School

Teague, B. L., Smith, P.H., & Jiménez, R.T. (2009)

This study documented the writing practices of students in a Mexican elementary school and identified participants’ attitudes toward different forms of writing. Data included observations in two classrooms as well as interviews with six case-study children and their parents. Results revealed copious writing in the school including dictations, copying, and simple texts. The teachers seldom integrated home or community texts into classroom instruction. Participants indicated that writing was a “skill” to be learned and practiced exclusively at school. Shared, ideologically motivated views of ‘legitimate’ writing were important factors in the invisibility of other forms of writing. The study concludes with recommendations for structuring writing instruction to better meet the needs of Mexican-origin students as well as ideas for future research. Read the full article

The Power of Teachers’ Writing Stories: Exploring Multiple Layers of Reflective Inquiry in Writing Process Education Bausch, L. S. (2009)

The purpose of this theoretical mixed-method study was to examine teachers’ self-assessments of their perceptions about writing development and instruction. One hundred and fifty teachers participated in a multiple-method data collection utilizing a Likert survey, extended narrative response, and sociometric networking of literacy identity (sociogram). Results indicated that there is a contradiction between the stated beliefs, self-perceptions and descriptions of practice. This article is an explication of why examining teachers’ self-perceptions concerning themselves as writers and exploring the ways in which this self-perspective phenomenon influences the teaching of writing in their classrooms, through multiple methods, will lead to greater educational clarity of identity and practice. Read the full article

Primary Teachers’ Explorations of Authentic Texts in Trinidad and Tobago

Seunarinesingh, K. (2009)

This study focused on investigating (a) what authentic texts were used and (b) how they were used for instruction in three elementary schools, where learners’ L1/D1 was a Caribbean Creole. Three findings were identified: First, teachers focused considerable attention on developing students’ vocabularies and knowledge of English grammar. Second, they used a variety of easily available textual resources for developing children’s reading and writing skills. Third, they explored topical issues, which they felt would provide meaningful prompts for wanting to read and write. The findings suggest that authentic materials can be seen as supplementing, not supplanting, established basal readers and workbooks. Read the full article

Constructing a Pedagogy of Comedy: Sarcasm and Print Codes as Social Literacies in Winnie-the-Pooh

Kohn, L. & Yarbrough, W. (2009)

This article provides a theoretical framework for a pedagogy of comedy that aids evaluation or instruction of the linguistic and social literacies that are part of speech act implicature and context. By understanding comedy’s embeddedness in (an incongruence with) social and linguistic relationships and expectations, comedic texts and episodes can be heuristics that target areas of knowledge that are underdeveloped in groups or individuals. This article examines two types of comedy: sarcasm and meta-communicational commentary; and visual print literacy mistakes as social phenomena. While pedagogy often examines character traits in fiction, this article utilizes forms or frames of comedy borrowed from linguistic, cognitive, and educational research. Examining comedy frames, rather than character types, allows for meta-cognitive analysis of recurring, but individually situated, social and linguistic strategies and practices. The article examines episodes from Winnie-the-Pooh to provide practical classroom practices where instructors discuss comedy’s social and communicational incongruence with social conventions and expectations (literacies) that are required to “get the joke.” Through discussion of comedy’s forms, gaps in linguistic and social knowledge can be identified in students, and reading strategies can be provided for understanding indirect communication and context. Read the full article


The End of Crocodile Tears or Child Literature as Emotional Self-Regulation

Kellogg, D. (2008)

This article begins by revisiting an old dispute between the children’s writer Chukovsky and the child psychologist Vygotsky on whether and how child literature should mediate development. It then considers child language language lessons in South Korea for clues about how such mediation might happen, and finds the development of rote language, the creation of concrete roles, and the formulation of abstract rules. The real aim of child literature in the classroom is not story sharing per se, but rather sharing-for-development, specifically development away from other-regulation and towards self-regulation, particularly emotional self-regulation, through role play and rule play. Chukovsky’s work, rich in sonorous rhyming language suited to rote learning, is a good example of children’s literature, but not a good example of child literature serving the emotional self-regulation of older children through the formation of roles and rules. Child literature is that which can be mastered by children as producers rather than passive consumers. Read the full article

Reader Response Journals: Novice Teachers Reflect on Their Implementation Process

McIntosh, J.E. (2010)

Do novice teachers effectively use teaching strategies they learn in a preservice course? This study examines how five novice intermediate (Grades 7 -10) English language arts teachers implemented reader response journals, an instructional activity they learned about in their preservice English methods course. During interviews, they shared the challenges they encountered when using this instructional strategy for the first time. While using reader response journals in their classrooms, novice teachers provided student encouragement, thoughtful reflection on their approach, modification as needed, and a consistent positive attitude even in the face of challenges. Study findings indicated that the theory and practice acquired in their preservice course was beneficial to them, and that gaining confidence in themselves as teachers through further practice and experiences would enhance their effective use of this classroom strategy. Read the full article


Voices from the Field

Using Keyword Mnemonics to Develop Secondary Students’ Vocabularies: A Teacher’s Action Research to the following

Benge, C. & Robbins, M.E. (2009)

Vocabulary has a critical place in literacy instruction. Research clearly points to a strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension and most agree that the larger one’s base vocabulary, the better one’s ability to comprehend text. Students who are able readers continue to grow their vocabularies while students who are struggling readers do not. In an effort to bridge this gap, a secondary English teacher using action research methodology explored keyword mnemonics as a way to actively engage her students in learning new vocabulary. The results indicate that the keyword mnemonic method was effective with her students. Read the full article.


Improving Students’ Literacy Awareness Through Service Learning in UAE: Chidren’s Language and Activity Bag (CLAB) Almazroui, K. (2009)

This study explored the service learning experience of university students and invites teachers at all levels to make use of the content to improve awareness of the role of literacy. In an elementary Language Education course taught at Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, 23 students designed a language bag for elementary students to improve children’s language ability and promote education and reading in English. Students transformed a curriculum requirement into a service learning project to meet the needs of long-term hospitalized children who could not attend school and were considered literacy-deprived. Theories, concepts, and the importance of service learning were introduced. University students’ reflections showed they realized a greater sense of self, developed a partnership with community members and improved communication skills through discussions and language activities. Read the full article

Book Review

Book Review One
Collier, N. D. (2009)

Author reviews Comprehension and collaboration: Inquiry circles in action by Harvey & Daniels




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