Volume 8(1), 2012

Volume 8(1), 2012

Lindy L. Johnson

Book Review Editor
Monique Newsome

Board Members
Susan Bleyle
Gabriela Del Villar
Shim Lew
Stephanie Shelton

Faculty Advisor
Peter Smagorinsky

Editor’s Introduction

Challenging Assumptions among Theory, Practice, Research, and Policy

Lindy L. Johnson
The University of Georgia


Vygotsky, “Defectology,” and the Inclusion of People of Difference in the Broader Cultural Stream

Peter Smagorinsky
The University of Georgia

This essay reviews Vygotsky’s work on defectology. First, Vygotsky’s cultural heritage as a Jew during the transformation from Tsarist Russia to the Soviet Union is considered as a factor in his views on defectology and inclusion. The review then outlines his perspective on the “defect,” including his definition of “defect,” his view of the generative potential of overcoming the obstacles of biological difference, and his consideration of the secondary defect of low self-worth that follows from being treated as different and defective. Finally, the review considers his defectological writing as part of his broader effort to formulate a theory of situated, mediated human development. This section includes attention to how cultures provide developmental contours within which to promote both individual and collective development toward particular ends; how collective activity provides the socialization through which those developing outside the diagnostic norm may proceed toward such collective ends; and how Vygotsky conceived of education in order to address the developmental needs of evolutionarily different children. The paper concludes with the implications of Vygotsky’s work for the education of children of difference. Read the full article.

Is The Library Important? Multivariate Studies at the National and International Level

Stephen Krashen, Syying Lee, & Jeff McQuillan

Three multivariate analyses, all controlling for the effects of poverty, confirm the importance of the library. Replicating McQuillan’s analysis of 1992 NAEP scores, this study finds that access to books in school and public libraries was a significant predictor of 2007 fourth grade NAEP reading scores, as well as the difference between grade 4 and grade 8 2007 NAEP reading scores, suggesting that access is important for improvement after grade 4. Access (school/classroom libraries) was a significant predictor of scores on the PIRLS test, a reading test given to fourth graders in 40 countries. Read the full article.

What is Literacy? – A Critical Overview of Sociocultural Perspectives

Kristen H. Perry
University of Kentucky

Sociocultural perspectives on literacy include various theories focused on the myriad ways in which people use literacy in context, which include a strong emphasis on power relations.  Yet, these theories also have important differences, and many in the field of literacy do not clearly differentiate among them.  I provide a critical overview of influential sociocultural perspectives on literacy, focusing on three major perspectives: (1) literacy as social practice, (2) multiliteracies, and (3) critical literacy.  In an effort to support researchers in framing their scholarly work and to support practitioners and other consumers of research make sense of research, I discuss the ways in which each theory would answer the question, “What is literacy?” as well as the affordances and limitations of these theories in terms of literacy development, literacy use, and literacy instruction. Read the full article.

Voices from the Field

Traditional Tales and Literacy:  Pre-service Teachers’ Transmediation of “Hansel and Gretel”

Eliza Altenderfer, Amanda Doerfler, Erika Poblete, Marissa Williamson, & Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
Pennsylvania State University

Because teaching in the twenty-first century involves use of technology, our paper advocates for the integration of multimedia in a literature-based curriculum.  One way teachers can accomplish this integration is through transmediation.  In this paper, four pre-service teachers (Eliza Altenderfer, Amanda Doerfler, Erika Poblete, and Marissa Williamson) and their education professor (Vivian Yenika-Agbaw) share their experiences with transmediation to demonstrate that not only is it a fun way to engage children with literary texts, but that it also enables them to become critical readers and innovative writers.  Mediating literary texts provides an alternative form of response that allows children to negotiate meanings in deliberate ways and to present these meanings in new text forms. Read the full article.



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