Volume 6(2), 2010

Dawan Coombs and George Boggs

Associate Editor
Amber Simmons

Book Review Editor
Elizabeth E. G. Friese

Associate Book Review Editor
Jairus-Joaquin Matthews


Scaffolding the Home Reading Exeriences of African-American First Graders

Dunston, Y. L., Patterson, G.C., & Daniels, K. N. (2010)

This study explored the feedback provided by sixty African American mothers as they listened to their first grade children read aloud from a grade level text. Maternal feedback fell into two distinct groups. Children with higher oral reading accuracy levels on the text had mothers who more frequently waited and permitted opportunities for the children to work through one or more word identification attempts before they intervened with difficult words. Conversely, children with lower accuracy levels on the text had mothers who provided more immediate and explicit support for difficult words, particularly providing words with few to no opportunities for children to try out reading strategies on their own. These findings suggest that the mothers were able to effectively determine the amount of assistance their children needed based on how well they were reading the text. The findings are aligned with the type of support teachers typically provide for children during oral reading in schools. Implications are provided for developing a curriculum connecting school literacy learning with at-home reading practice to capitalize on the positive strategies parents and caregivers seem to intuitively offer. This connection may be a critical factor as educators continue their efforts to close the literacy achievement gap between African American children and their non-minority peers. Read the full article


“Now I Believe if I Write I Can Do Anything”: Using Poetry to Create Opportunities for Engagement and Learning in the Language Arts Classroom

Wiseman, A. M. (2010)

This paper describes how adolescent students responded to a poetry workshop in an English classroom where the content was derived from their knowledge from their various life experiences and understanding of world events. Informed by theories of New Literacy Studies, ethnographic methods of participant-observation were used to document an eighth grade urban public school classroom where a community member implemented a weekly program using music lyrics and poetry for an entire school year. Findings demonstrate how poetry, facilitated learning by attending to students’ emotions and background knowledge, encouraging social collaboration, and providing an authentic purpose for students to communicate through their writing. A community-based poetry workshop provided students with powerful ways of using language to communicate led to important learning opportunities at school. Read the full article


From Stranger to Friend: The Effect of Service Learning on Preservice Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Diverse Populations

Zeller, N., Griffith, R., Zhang, G., & Klenke, J. (2010)

Service learning experiences hold the potential to significantly influence participants’ view of cultures other than their own. This qualitative study examines how service learning affects preservice teachers’ attitudes about working with students from diverse backgrounds. Two groups of preservice teachers enrolled in a reading methods course participated in focus group interviews both at the beginning of the project and at the end. The results revealed that the service learning group (vs. the non-service learning group) changed significantly from the beginning of the project to the end in terms of their attitudes toward students from diverse populations, level of engagement in the focus group interviews, the group synergy, and the quality and level of nuanced responses to key questions about diversity. Read the full article

Dynamics of an EFL Reading Course with a Critical Literacy Orientation

Izadinia, M. & Abednia, A. (2010)

This study was an attempt to explore how a critical literacy (CL) approach to reading development may contribute to EFL learners’ personal development, and what their perceptions of a reading course with a CL orientation are. 25 B.A. freshman English Literature students participated in a reading comprehension course at Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran. Throughout this course, students were encouraged to deal with the passages brought by them in a problem-posing manner through group discussions and reflective journals. To explore changes in their perceptions of themselves, their personal development, and the class dynamics, they wrote two self-assessments and two class assessments at the end of the first month and by the end of the course. As a result of the thematic analysis of 79 journals, a number of themes emerged that illustrate the contributions of the CL approach to learners’ development of voice and self-awareness, to name a few. Read the full article


The Self-System of a Struggling College Reader: “I Just Figured Somewhere Along the Line I Was Gonna Fail.”

Nash-Ditzel, S. (2010)

This qualitative study aims at explaining reading beliefs and behaviors of college students taking a developmental reading course through analyzing components of the students’ self-systems. A student’s self-system is comprised of many different factors that may or may not develop in tandem through experiences in and out of school (Borkowski, Carr, Rellinger, & Pressley (1990). These factors include: self-efficacy, self-esteem, locus of control, achievement, motivation, and attributional beliefs of learning. Unfortunately not all students’ self-systems develop appropriately. Schraw and Bruning (1999) claim that as the self-system weakens, a student’s ability to engage in deeper processing of a text also diminishes. I used the self-system framework to understand my students’ learning and reading beliefs and behaviors. Read the full article


What About Linguistic Identity?

Andrews, M. (2010)

The recent influx of Latino immigrants in the Mid-West U.S. has also increased the number of Mexican students in schools. As recent immigrants, one of the challenges Mexican students face besides learning a different language is the construction of new identities in unfamiliar environments. Learning a language involves acquiring another identity in addition to learning a novel vocabulary and a different grammar. Using critical discourse analysis, I argue that Gee’s four aspects of identity though useful when discussing identity in the context of schooling, are limited when dealing with identity in the context of choice of linguistic code. They should be expanded to include linguistic identity when dealing with choice of linguistic code. In addition, schools should create spaces in the classroom for Mexican students to comfortably enact and develop their linguistic identities of Spanish-speakers since the primary language plays an important role in acquiring and developing literacy. Read the full article


Voices From the Field


Dwelling in the Spaces Between What Is and What Could Be: The View From a University-based Content Literacy Course at Semester’s End

Damico, J. & Rust, J. (2010)

Situated within a university-based content literacy course, this article considers the spaces between the curricular realities of middle school and high school classrooms, what we call the ‘what is’, and potential alternative configurations of curriculum and instruction for these classrooms, what we call the ‘what could be.’ Our story centers on the culminating activity in the course that we designed for our students, a mock school-wide faculty meeting. We describe the ways our discussed and debated ideas about disciplinary literacy, interdisciplinary curriculum, technology integration, and whether or not curriculum and teaching could connect to broader purposes of citizenship education in a democracy. The article concludes with a reminder that the spaces between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ are always dynamic, fluid, and emergent as teachers and students (of all ages) collectively create and re-create what happens in these spaces. Read the full article


Book Review

Book Review 1
Stewart, Y. (2010)

Author reviews New Literacies Practices: Designing Literacy Learning.




The views expressed on this website and contained within featured documents are solely those of the author(s) and artist(s) and do not reflect the views of the Department of Language & Literacy Education, The College of Education, or The University of Georgia.

Please report any issues or questions regarding the website to jolle.webmeister@gmail.com.