Developing Voice Through the Language Arts


Kathryn Henn-Reinke & Geralyn A. Chesner

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  • Dedication

    For John, who is always nearby, no matter how far apart we are, and for Jonathan and Jaymienne, may you sprout wings in your new life adventures.

    And to my parents, your courage inspires us.—K.H.-R.

    To my family—my husband James and my two heaven-sent children, Jaden Yung and Claire Eunbi—thank you for the patience with me as I used precious family time hours for this book. For my parents, who have made me who I am today, may they know how blessed I feel to have had their guidance.—G.A.C.


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    The language arts are the intellectual tools we use to learn about the world. Reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing are considered the primary language arts and are often also referred to as literacy skills. The language arts are seldom used in isolation, and when they are integrated in learning experiences, we have a greater opportunity to make sense of the world around us. Children who are interested in how animals are taken care of at the zoo might watch videos on the subject, visit the zoo, listen to a presentation by the zookeeper, read books about zoos, draw pictures, write in a zoo journal, and share what they learned with their class. These children learned not just from reading about zoos but from all of the experiences as well. As they learned new concepts, they assimilated the new information with what they already knew and refined their understanding of how animals are cared for at the zoo. This example highlights the important role that each of the language arts plays in learning and the extended value of integrating the language arts.

    The purpose of this text is to provide K-8 (early childhood to early adolescence) teachers with a solid framework for teaching, learning, and assessing in the language arts that reflects current research on how children develop as literate persons and the use of national standards to guide the development of literacy.

    Literacy standards established by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English are designed to meet the needs of all students with a wide array of learning abilities, styles, and situations. The standards represent a comprehensive overview of learning across the grade levels and language areas, and as such provide a useful tool in planning, implementing, and assessing literacy.

    The following table details where the standards for the English language arts are represented within the text most evidently. They are integrated into the text where some chapters clearly delineate their inclusion, and others include the standards but are not explicitly stated. For example, Standard 11 states that students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities. We believe that as students self-assess their development in the language arts, they can be reflecting critically on their understanding and competence. Therefore, although not directly stated, Chapter 11 and many others include representations of this standard. Included in the ancillary materials are activities that encourage the reader to further explore how the language arts standards guide the teaching, learning, and assessment of language arts in kindergarten through Grade 8 classrooms.

    The philosophical basis for the text comes from a sociocultural constructivist viewpoint, with a focus on the development of voice through the language arts. As children learn about the world through the language arts, they voice their understandings and opinions. The broader their knowledge of the world around them, the more capable they are likely to become in making connections and drawing conclusions, thus developing their own literate voices.

    Curriculum is viewed as a seamless cycle of teaching, learning, and assessment in this text. Teachers plan for instruction based on the perceived needs and interests of their students. Using national, state, and/or district standards appropriate for the group of learners, they select learning experiences that match the academic, developmental, and social needs of the students and that promise to develop critical thinking skills. Students engage in the learning experiences and are guided by the teacher to (a) connect learning to what they already know and understand and to (b) determine how new concepts extend their understanding of the world. Throughout the learning experiences, teachers monitor student progress, and students self-assess their own progress and understanding. Teachers adjust their teaching based on feedback from these observations and self-assessments.

    This text encourages teachers to take a reflective approach to preparing to teach language arts, viewing not only their students as language users and learners but to begin with themselves as literate models for their students. This notion is based on the belief that teachers who continually develop as literate persons bring a rich appreciation of literacy and communication to the classroom and are more likely to inspire students to appreciate and grow in the language arts. Indeed, teachers ought to read and investigate a wide range and variety of genres of literature if their students are to build enthusiasm for reading and other literate activities.

    A balanced literacy approach is the framework for this text. This approach organizes reading and writing into four categories: reading/writing aloud, shared reading/writing, guided reading/writing, and independent reading/writing. Listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing are also integral components of the balanced literacy approach. This approach is explored at each of the developmental levels, that is, early childhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence, represented in this text. Although there may be overlap in many of the components at each of these levels, unique characteristics of the approach are highlighted at each level.

    An emphasis on diversity, children's literature, critical thinking, and technology in relation to the language arts in the K–8 classroom is a thread running through this text. We believe that the way one approaches teaching language arts is rooted in an understanding of the philosophy that underlies how children learn and develop as literate persons.

    Diversity exists in many forms within a classroom—racial, linguistic, learning needs, gender, and so on. Children who are able to learn about people who are different from themselves are often able to determine how people are similar and different and are more likely to develop greater understanding of differences. Diversity can be explored through the language arts in a variety of ways as children come to understand more about themselves and others around them.

    Due to the influx in today's schools of students whose first language is a language other than English, another emphasis is based on meeting the diverse needs of English language learners. These students have special needs in relation to their literacy development, and the materials used in the language arts classroom should reflect the variety of cultures in the United States especially, but also the world. As well, students with exceptional needs require teachers of language arts and literacy who understand their particular learning needs. Surely this will continue to be an important consideration in all K–8 classrooms.

    A great deal of emphasis is devoted to selecting and using quality children's/young adult literature in learning experiences with students. Differences between reading and listening comprehension are emphasized, and suggestions are made for ways to motivate students to become enthused about books and to appreciate listening to literature. Examples of both narrative and expository text are featured throughout the text. A bibliography of literature that is discussed throughout the chapter is included at the end of each chapter to allow readers the opportunity to build a collection of children's literature resources they may use in their own teaching.

    At every age/ability level, the focus of all teaching, learning, and assessment should be centered on the development of critical thinking skills. Students may learn specific skills and strategies in each learning experience, but it is the cumulative development of higher-level thinking skills that makes students more well rounded and independent learners. More independent learners bring a set of well-developed thinking strategies to each learning experience.

    Children of today are growing up in an ever-changing technology-rich world. It is important to guide them in the use of technology as part of the language arts. Specific suggestions are made for use of technology in the classroom, and numerous resources and Web sites are referenced that may be used by teachers and/or their students.

    The No Child Left Behind Act (2001) has reinforced the importance of standardized testing, and this language arts text assists preservice and inservice teachers in understanding how assessment is a critical element that drives the curriculum.

    Features of the Text

    Several special features are included in Developing Voice Through the Language Arts to provide preservice and inservice teachers with opportunities to collaboratively analyze concepts and constructs, make inferences, and evaluate understanding.

    Reflection is emphasized in the following features:

    • Before We Begin
    • Stop to Think
    • Reflection Journal
    • End-of-Chapter Reflection

    Application to actual teaching is explored through the following components:

    • Context Setting
    • A View From Home
    • Planning for Teaching
    • A View From the Classroom
    • Connections With the Field

    Links between language arts theory and practice are found in the Theory Into Practice feature, as well as in detail in Part III as classroom settings are highlighted.

    Before We Begin

    These reflection points enable the reader to explore beliefs, assumptions, and practices on key aspects of the chapter prior to reading as a means for setting context.

    Stop to Think

    Questions and statements are posed to encourage readers to reflect on what they have read and how new understandings will be applied in actual classroom practice.

    Reflection Journal

    Each chapter contains recommendations for reflection in a journal that students will keep throughout the course, and ideally, beyond the course. This reflection feature includes topic suggestions and prompts that relate to major concepts featured in the chapter.

    End-of-Chapter Reflection

    Reflective prompts at the end of each chapter enable readers to determine how well the concepts were understood. They are also a means to set goals for additional preparation for teaching.

    Context Setting: After Reading This Chapter, You Will Be Able to …

    Each chapter begins with a listing of the most important outcomes to be gained. The outcomes are linked to classroom practice.

    A View from Home

    Brief vignettes provide readers with the opportunity to reflect on how literacy in children is developed and supported by family practices. Readers are encouraged to consider links between home and school communication activities that may further strengthen literacy development.

    Planning for Teaching

    Another feature includes suggestions for applying what was learned in the chapter. Preservice and inservice teachers will reflect on areas of teaching, learning, and assessment they will need to take into consideration as they begin their teaching careers.

    A View from the Classroom

    Narrative and concrete examples of teaching and learning experiences are found in this revealing feature as well as questions encouraging readers to readily apply what is being learned.

    Connections with the Field

    One of the goals of this text is to bridge the gap between teacher preparation and actual classroom teaching. As many colleges of education incorporate a field component into their methods courses, this text will take this into account and incorporate practical suggestions related to the content with which readers may experiment while in a field setting.

    Theory to Practice
    Theory into Practice

    A wide range of activities are provided in this feature to enable students to make connections between theoretical constructs and aspects that relate to actual classroom practice.

    Organization of the Text

    This text is divided into three sections.

    Part I: Understanding Language Arts

    Part I includes a discussion of what literacy is and provides a framework for teaching the language arts.

    Part II: Frameworks and Approaches to Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in the Language Arts

    Part II outlines the teaching, learning, and assessment considerations for each of the language arts.

    Part III: Language Arts Teaching, Learning, and Assessing from Early Childhood to Early Adolescence

    Part III features detailed classroom vignettes that highlight application of an integrated language arts curriculum at the early childhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence levels. The chapters may be read sequentially with the text or used to supplement previous chapters.

    The three parts of this book may be accessed in various ways. Part III can be read before reading Parts I and II to provide an overview of what language arts looks like at the various age/grade levels. Reading Part III after reading Part I and/or Part II is another option. Using this method could help the reader understand what language arts might look like in a classroom in relation to the content and concepts previously read. One other method would be to use Part III as a guidebook in classroom learning experiences with children, both in preservice work and while teaching.

    Instructor's Resources CD

    This CD offers the instructor a variety of resources to supplement the book material, including lecture outlines, PowerPoint® lecture slides, sample syllabi, video clips with student exercises, Web resources, reflection portfolio guidelines, and more. We've also provided additional activities and resources to help instructors integrate the in-text pedagogical resources (A View From the Classroom, Theory Into Practice, etc.) into their classroom discussions. Also included is a Test Bank, which consists of 35–40 multiple-choice questions with answers and page references, as well as 15–20 short answer and 5–10 essay questions for each chapter. An electronic Test Bank is also available so that instructors can create, deliver, and customize tests and study guides using Brownstone's Diploma test bank software.

    Web-Based Student Study Site

    This Web-based student study site provides a variety of additional resources to enhance students' understanding of the book content and take their learning one step further. The site includes a comprehensive Study Guide, which consists of learning objectives, key terms, activities, reflection portfolio guidelines, flash cards, practice tests, and more. Also included are special features, such as the Links to Standards from U.S. States and associated activities, Children's Literature Selections, Reflection Exercises, Learning from Journal Articles, and PRAXIS.

    Student Resources CD

    This CD is bound into each copy of the Developing Voice Through the Language Arts textbook and offers students some additional resources to enhance their understanding of the book content. In particular, this CD includes a variety of video clips to accompany each chapter that demonstrate key teaching and learning techniques. The video clips are accompanied by a variety of exercises and questions to promote further comprehension of the material discussed in each chapter.

    No Child Left Behind Act. (2001). Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, Report No. 107–334, House of Representatives, 107th Congress, 1st Session.

    We are particularly grateful to Kathi Glick and Joelle Quimby and their students for allowing us to spend several months observing and interviewing them for Chapters 10 and 12 of this text. The many teachers whose classrooms we visit on an ongoing basis have given us wonderful insights into good teaching in the language arts. Several of those classrooms are highlighted throughout this text, including Paula Henn, María Gonzalez de Nuñez, Sharon Shermerhorn, María Godina, Lorena Gueny, Lori Menning, Luz Lebrón, and Lillian Lawrence. Our thank-you also goes to John W. Stewig, who provided initial guidance in writing a language arts textbook.

    The numerous reviewers of this text have given us invaluable suggestions for revising and editing our early drafts. The peer reviewers include Debra Farrer, California University of Pennsylvania; Rose Casement, University of Michigan-Flint; Candice Marie Moench, Wayne State University; Patricia Baldwin, College of Saint Rose; and Robin Love, San Jose State University. Peg Dettlaff has also been a valued editor through all stages of this project.

    We would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Jacqueline Hansen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Murray State University, and the students in her language arts course who class tested and provided feedback on Chapters 4, 5, and 8.

    We would like to thank the staff at Sage who encouraged us throughout the process of creating this text. The guidance of Diane McDaniel was especially critical. In addition, Erica Carroll, Elise Smith, Diane Foster, Barbara Coster, and Marta Peimer were helpful in assisting us through the technical aspects of bringing the text to publication.

  • Epilogue: Reflecting on Your Future Teaching of the Language Arts

    Having had the opportunity to study the teaching, learning, and assessment of language arts that span kindergarten through Grade 8, it is a good time to complete one last reflection on the major ideas and evaluate your knowledge base and level of confidence in preparing to teach in the language arts. For each area, rate yourself from 1 to 5, with 5 being very confident/ready to do this tomorrow. Your ratings may provide you with ideas for the goals you wish to set for yourself in preparing to teach. You can jot those down where appropriate.

    • I can articulate my philosophy of teaching, learning, and assessment in literacy development.

    • I feel confident in linking standards, instruction, and assessment related to the language arts.

    • I have a good sense of how to set student expectations.

    • I have a good understanding of how to teach children to self-assess their work.

    • How well do I understand the components of the language arts: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing? (Reflect on the major considerations of each area. How well do you think you would be able to integrate teaching, learning, and assessment in the language arts?)

    • I feel confident about implementing a balanced literacy approach to literacy development.

    • I feel confident that I can excite students through language arts activities.

    • I am familiar with a wide range of children's/young adult literature, magazines, Web sites, and software.

    • I feel confident about selecting quality literature to use in my classroom.

    • I have a good understanding of how to integrate the language arts across the curriculum.

    • I have good ideas about how to keep track of student progress in the language arts.

    • I know how to develop a schedule for literacy instruction.

    • I have a good idea of how to physically arrange my classroom for literacy instruction.

    • I am confident about meaningful planning, implementation, and assessment of language arts instruction.

    • I feel confident about designing instruction to meet the needs of English language learners in language arts.

    • I can articulate my philosophy of classroom management.

    • I feel confident that I know how to design and implement an effective classroom management/climate plan.

    • I have a plan for involving parents in the literacy development of their children.

    • I feel confident in knowing how to deal with a classroom of diverse learners.

    • I have a good understanding of how to be a reflective practitioner related to language arts.

    The teachers in Chapters 10 through 12 are exemplary teachers who are reflective practitioners. On a daily basis they evaluate their teaching and their students' learning. They ask themselves if their students are making progress in developing voice in their ability to communicate effectively through the language arts. They regularly review their records to verify these impressions. Teaching and learning standards serve as a guide and a framework for establishing short- and long-term goals for the class, as well as for individual students.

    In addition to cognitive factors, reflective practitioners also examine affective factors that impact learning, and they recognize that learning does not happen in a vacuum. Students learn best when they feel motivated and appropriately challenged by learning experiences that are authentic and worthwhile. Positive self-esteem and confidence in themselves as learners are two important elements that they strive to help their students develop. These teachers recognize the importance of getting to know the whole child and his or her family and use this knowledge to make learning relevant and the classroom experience positive for all students. Differences in language and culture are seen as enrichments rather than distractions.

    It is also clear that the teachers in Chapters 10 through 12 are lifelong learners. They spend countless hours in bookstores, on the Internet, or scouring other resources to find materials that will support learning for all students in their classrooms. They take courses, read books and articles, and seek out teachers, parents, and community members who can help them expand their understanding of all aspects of teaching and learning. Lifelong learners immerse themselves in the latest theoretical learning experiences and technology related to teaching. They evaluate and adapt each to make certain they are appropriate for the children they teach.

    An innovation on The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown (1949/1990) in the poem that follows may help capture these sentiments.

    End-of-Chapter Reflection
    • Write your own important poem to capture what you feel are the most important critical traits of an effective language arts teacher or to reflect on where you are in your preparation to teach in the language arts.
    Planning for Teaching
    • Share your survey with a group of your peers. Discuss the areas you feel you need to continue to learn about. Celebrate those areas that you feel comfortable teaching and assessing.
    • Based on your responses on the survey, set goals for yourself to become more adept in the areas in which you feel deficient. Locate professional resources that you feel will be helpful to reach your goals. Continue to stay abreast of current language arts research and children's literature so you can continue to grow as a professional.
    Wise Brown, M. (1990). The important book (L.Weisgard, Illus). New York: Harper & Row. (Original work published 1949)


    • Active learning opportunities for students to explore concepts through a problem-solving process, often using prompts, manipulatives, and/or movement activities.
    • Aesthetic stance reading for pleasure.
    • Anecdotal records notes about student progress recorded by teachers in a variety of formats.
    • Anecdotal Records Assessment (ARA) a process of linking teacher notes about student learning and teaching standards.
    • Anticipation guide a series of true/false statements that students respond to before reading a passage, designed to activate prior knowledge prior to reading.
    • Appreciative listening the listener listens for enjoyment or pleasure.
    • Assumptions what we believe to be true. In relation to language arts teaching, that could include a teacher's beliefs, either true or false, about students' motivations and ability to become competent users of language.
    • Auditory acuity physical reception of sound waves involved in hearing.
    • Author studies teachers guiding students in reading and analyzing several books by the same author. Students determine the author's style and use of literary elements in writing.
    • Author's craft the style of writing used by an author.
    • Autobiography a biography or narrative of one's life.
    • Backdrop setting a setting that does not have an impact on the actions of the characters or the direction of the plot.
    • Balanced or comprehensive approach an approach to reading instruction that combines a variety of teaching methods from a skill-based and meaning-based approach as a way to meet the needs of all learners.
    • Basal reading textbook typically textbooks developed for each grade level that include a collection of written pieces that are organized by reading level or difficulty and skills that students progress through as they continue to develop reading ability.
    • Benchmarks goals set for students to attain.
    • Bilingual being proficient in communicating in two languages.
    • Bloom's taxonomy a hierarchy of thinking skills developed by Benjamin Bloom.
    • Book talks brief descriptions of books that entice others to read them.
    • Center typically an area in a classroom set up with its own direction, materials, and activities designed for students to work at their own pace and often to make their own choices. Also called a learning center or literacy learning center when related to language arts curriculum.
    • Characterization characters created by the author in a story.
    • Collaborative/cooperative learning students work together to complete learning tasks. Often students learn skills to assist them in working collaboratively/cooperatively.
    • Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) the theory that a “bilingual” language learners’ understanding in one language is understood in a second language.
    • Community of learners a classroom where students work collaboratively and respectfully in their learning activities.
    • Comprehend accurately understanding what is written or spoken.
    • Comprehension the meaning-making process of reading.
    • Comprehension strategies various strategies a reader uses before, during, and after reading a text to understand it clearly and meaningfully.
    • Comprehensive or balanced approach an approach to reading instruction that combines a variety of teaching methods from a skill-based and meaning-based approach as a way to meet the needs of all learners.
    • Concept an idea, thought, or general notion to be learned by students.
    • Concept books informational picture books for young children. The most basic concept books deal with alphabet, numbers, colors, and shapes.
    • Concepts of print understandings that emergent readers develop about how text is organized, such as the left to right and top to bottom direction of print (in English), the front/back of a book, and so on.
    • Conceptual knowledge understandings that students possess about specific concepts.
    • Conceptual load the proportion of different ideas accessible in a text in relation to the length of the text.
    • Conferences meetings between teachers and students to review work, receive feedback, and set goals for further learning.
    • Conferencing center an area of the classroom reserved for student-teacher conferences.
    • Conflict the struggle experienced by main characters in a story. Conflict may involve person-against-person, person-against-society, person-against-nature.
    • Content area instruction instruction in subject areas such as mathematics, science, and social studies.
    • Content area workshops a workshop approach to learning in specific or integrated subject areas such as mathematics, science, and social studies.
    • Context clues information from the text surrounding a word or word cluster that helps to provide meaning for new or difficult words.
    • Creative listening the listener uses input from the message to develop a unique response.
    • Critical listening the listener analyzes and evaluates input and formulates an opinion or response.
    • Critical thinking skills skills acquired by students that enable them to analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and apply what they have learned.
    • Cueing systems the sources of information that assist readers in identifying words and making meaning of them.
    • Data-driven instruction analysis of test scores and other data to make decisions to continually improve student learning.
    • Decode analyzing written or spoken symbols of a language; to decipher meaning using spelling-sound relationships.
    • Dialogue journals notebooks used by students to write about their reactions to what they have read, and teachers or other students respond with their own reactions and questions.
    • Didactic children's books that are designed to teach children a lesson or advocate for a certain type of behavior.
    • Digital storytelling students create digital stories on computer from their own writing by adding visuals and narrating the text.
    • Directed reading-thinking activity (DRTA) a predicting, reading, confirming, predicting cycle in which students learn to think closely about what they have read.
    • Discriminative listening the listener differentiates the sounds that make up the message and begins to attend to what is being said.
    • Dynamic characters characters that change as a result of experiences they undergo in the course of the text.
    • Early stage of reading the stage of reading development that occurs approximately from 6 to 9 years of age as a reader focuses heavily on print and the use of a variety of reading strategies to make meaning from a text.
    • Effective teacher of literacy a teacher who is able to excite children about literacy and guide them in the development of high-level literacy skills.
    • Efferent stance reading for information.
    • Electronic books book text that can be viewed online or downloaded from the Internet.
    • Emergent stage of reading the beginning stage of reading from approximately age 3 to 7 where the reader begins to explore print in general, beginning to notice and appreciate rhyme, sounds, the fact that illustrations hold meaning as well as text.
    • English language learners (ELLs) students who speak a language other than English as their primary language and are in the process of learning English.
    • Episodic novel a novel that is composed of a series of episodes, each complete in itself and not reliant upon the other chapters of the novel.
    • Expository text text that primarily relates information.
    • Expressive language functions the speaker or artist makes a verbal or graphic response to stimuli. Speaking and visually representing are expressive language functions.
    • Figurative language use of similes, metaphors, or personification to create images of characters or events.
    • Fluency reading smoothly with accuracy and appropriate flow and expression.
    • Fluent stage of reading the stage of reading from approximately age 9 and beyond where readers use strategies effectively and automatically to gain meaning from a wide range of text.
    • Folk literature the body of oral literature that has been preserved across multiple generations and whose authors are unknown. Folktales, myths, fables, legends, and fairy tales are all considered folklore or traditional literature.
    • Foreshadowing clues in a story that lead the reader to speculate on what will happen in the story.
    • Frustration level a level of reading material that is too difficult for a reader to process and comprehend successfully.
    • Genre a category used to categorize literary works usually by form, content, or writing style.
    • Genre studies teachers guiding students in reading and analyzing several books in the same genre to better understand the characteristics of the particular genre.
    • Gradual release of responsibility model students are guided to continually take on more responsibility for their own learning.
    • Graphic organizers charts, graphs, or visuals used to organize information.
    • Graphophonics the recognition of the letters of the alphabet and the understanding of sound-spelling relationships.
    • Graphophonemic cueing system one of the four cueing systems a literate person needs to use to read effectively, which involves the relationship between single letters or sets of letters and the speech sounds they represent.
    • Guided reading a reading approach done with small groups of flexible, homogeneously grouped students who have the same reading needs. Strategies are taught to support and guide readers to become independent and fluent readers.
    • Hearing receiving sound waves through the ear.
    • High-frequency words one hundred of the most frequently used words in the English language, including such words as our, I, and the.
    • Historical character maps a web of a character's attributes and/or accomplishments in historical fiction/nonfiction literature.
    • Historical fiction a genre of literature that includes realistic characters, settings, and plots from a historical time period.
    • Holdaway's model of student learning a model for learning devised by Don Holdaway in which the teacher's role gradually diminishes as students are able to accept more responsibility for their own learning.
    • Independent reading one of the components of a balanced literacy program where students read independently for pleasure and to solidify reading strategies.
    • Informal reading inventory (IRI) an assessment tool that uses graded text passages to determine readers’ strategy use, strengths, and areas of need in relation to decoding and reading comprehension.
    • Informational literature a genre of literature designed to inform readers about a particular topic.
    • Integral setting a setting that influences the actions of the characters or the direction of the plot.
    • Integrated units units of study that integrate one or more content areas.
    • Interactive read-aloud a fluent model orally shares a text with listeners and invites interaction through personal response, response to questions, and other modes of responding to text.
    • Interactive writing creating a piece of writing in collaboration, where both the teacher and students taking turns with the writing utensil to document the groups’ ideas.
    • International Reading Association (IRA) an organization of elementary classroom teachers and reading specialists dedicated to improving the understanding of literacy development and instruction. The IRA and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) formulate nationally recognized literacy standards.
    • Jigsaw activity a learning activity where individual students or groups of students hold separate pieces of information. The students must share all of the pieces of information to complete an activity.
    • Key concepts the most important ideas being learned or researched.
    • Key information important information needed in learning about a new topic or in completing a research project.
    • Key vocabulary the most important new terms in a learning activity. Often key vocabulary is bolded or highlighted in content area texts for children.
    • Kidspiration software that guides students in outlining and organizing ideas for writing.
    • Kidwatching an assessment method and concept described by Yetta Goodman that includes observing students as a way to gather information about them while they are engaged in learning and activities in the classroom.
    • Language experience approach an approach to teaching language arts whereby students' oral speech is transcribed and used as curriculum materials for teaching and learning language arts.
    • Learning logs notebooks in which students record important information around a particular topic and analyze what they have learned.
    • Learning strategies plans to help students reach specific learning goals.
    • Letter recognition recognizing the letters of the alphabet.
    • Listening the ability to focus on gaining meaning from sound.
    • Literacy the ability of a person to use the language arts skills required for effective functioning in school and community settings.
    • Literacy development the complex process of becoming literate.
    • Literacy learning environment an environment designed to encourage students to participate in meaningful literacy-related activity and development.
    • Literal language use of words and phrases that do not have an underlying or alternative meaning.
    • Literary elements elements of a narrative story, including plot, characterization, setting, theme, style, and point of view.
    • Literate activities lessons and engagement that encourage students to develop and use their literacy skills.
    • Living Books software programs developed from children's literature. Living Books software contains colorful graphics, clickable hotspots, and text, allowing students to interact with the book.
    • Making connections readers relate what they read to themselves (text-to-self), other texts they have read (text-to-text), and to the world around them (text-to-world).
    • Making Words© an activity developed by Marie Clay where students explore patterns in words.
    • Metacognition thinking about one's own thinking processes.
    • Minilesson a brief lesson of about 5–10 minutes in which a single concept is taught or reinforced as part of reading or writing workshop.
    • Modern fantasy a genre of literature that features imaginary characters, settings, or plots. Magic, personification, and supernatural characters or phenomena are often components of modern fantasy.
    • Monitoring comprehension a strategy that students use to ensure that they are taking meaning from print.
    • Monolingual the ability to understand or speak reasonably well one's first language and the ability to speak only that language.
    • Narrative literature text that primarily relates a story.
    • Narrative text a story or set of experiences and events that is written or expressed orally.
    • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) an organization of literacy professionals. NCTE joined the International Reading Association (IRA) to formulate nationally recognized literacy standards.
    • National Reading Panel a panel of reading experts that outlined effective, research-based literacy instruction for children and young adults.
    • No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) an act put forth by the George W. Bush administration in 2001 related to quality in education that states there must be “stronger accountability for results, expanded flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.”
    • One-to-one correspondence this skill indicates that children are reading the word they are pointing to as they read text.
    • Onset the part of a syllable that precedes the vowel, such as sh in the word ship.
    • Open-ended learning experiences students are given choices in how they meet specific criteria.
    • Paralinguistic cues cues that provide clues to a speaker's message, such as use of visuals, tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures.
    • Passive listening students listen but are not expected to respond orally to what they hear.
    • Peer editing students are trained to edit one another's writing, using a rubric or specific set of criteria.
    • Phonemic awareness the ability to distinguish the difference between the 44 sounds (or phonemes) within spoken language.
    • Phonemes see phonemic awareness
    • Phonics see phonological system.
    • Phonological awareness the understanding that speech can be divided into words and sentences, including syllables, onsets, and rimes.
    • Phonological system the sound system of language. Although there are 26 letters in the English language, there are 44 sounds or phonemes, adding up to a large combination of letters and sounds to form many words with various pronunciations; also referred to as phonics.
    • Picture books a genre of literature that includes illustrated books written for young children.
    • Picture clues analyzing illustrations or photographs in a story to support understanding and enjoyment of text.
    • Plot plan of action of a story or novel.
    • Point of view the perspective from which a story is told or perceived. A story may be told from a first-person or third-person perspective.
    • Portfolio assessment a collection of student work that is evaluated against a rubric or specific set of criteria.
    • Power used in relation to the viewer's angle in illustrations to depict the level of influence or “power” the viewer has over those represented in the illustration or photo.
    • Pragmatic cueing system one of the four cueing systems that a literate person needs to utilize to read effectively. This system is based on tapping into one's prior knowledge, background experiences, and culture to help make sense of the written word.
    • Pragmatics the language system that deals with the social and cultural aspects of language use.
    • Presentation skills effective abilities to formally share information and insights on a given topic.
    • Prior knowledge knowing based on previous experiences and knowledge learned. A learner can comprehend better when prior knowledge is activated.
    • Problem-solving process a series of logical steps to resolve a problem, often associated with solving problems in mathematics.
    • Publish prepare a final edited copy of writing to be shared with an audience.
    • Purposeful listening the listener attends to the message to complete a task.
    • Reader's theater a read-aloud performance of literature using a variety of genres. The focus is on the language and oral expression, not the acting out of the text. Students read scripted versions of stories, portraying the characters’ emotions.
    • Reading the act of making sense of text, understanding, and comprehending text (where text can be anything that can be “read,” including visuals, music, performances, etc.).
    • Reading First Initiatives funding made available by the No Child Left Behind Act to support reading development.
    • Reading management programs computerized software, such as Accelerated Reader, that is used to monitor the independent reading and comprehension of students.
    • Realistic fiction a genre of literature that includes realistic characters, settings, and plots.
    • Receptive language functions the listener and viewer receive information from the environment. Listening and viewing are receptive language functions.
    • Receptive vocabularies words that listeners understand but do not use in their own vocabulary.
    • Reciprocal teaching students refine understanding of a particular skill, strategy, or concept by teaching it to other students who have not yet mastered the material.
    • Reflection the process of thinking about one's experience or performance.
    • Reflective teacher a teacher who thinks about his or her teaching, students' learning, and evaluating the impact of each on the other.
    • Registers the variety of speaking situations we may find ourselves in. We adjust our speech according to who we are communicating with and the purpose of the communication.
    • Resolution the way in which a conflict is resolved. The resolution may be either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
    • Return sweep the act of diagonal eye movement from one line of print to the next line.
    • Rime a vowel and the following consonants of a syllable in a word.
    • Round-robin storytelling the reading method of students taking turns reading aloud one after another.
    • Running records an assessment method that includes a teacher marking the miscues that readers makes while reading aloud as a way to determine the strategies they use and with which they need further instruction.
    • Scaffolding providing support for student learning through a variety of means.
    • Scanning quickly looking through print to find key words or phrases.
    • Schema understandings we have about particular concepts based on prior experiences.
    • Scientific method a process of solving problems and completing experiments in science.
    • Self-assessment the act of assessing one's own abilities and performances through a variety of methods, including such things as written reflection, oral assessment, and visually representing.
    • Semantic cueing system using meaning cues to make sense of print.
    • Semantic feature matrix a graphic organizer grid that highlights similarities and differences among items in a specific category or topic.
    • Semantics clues that reveal the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage.
    • Sequential bilinguals a learner who learns one language first, then another language (for example, a child learning one language at home before beginning school and learning a second language in school).
    • Shared reading a teaching method where a fluent reading model reads aloud but invites listeners to share in the reading process as they view the text, gradually working up to fluent reading of the text themselves in the process.
    • Sharing session the last stage of a workshop, such as reading or writing workshop, where the class gathers together to share what was accomplished, learned, and practiced within the work time of the workshop.
    • Sight words words that can be identified quickly and easily and do not require any word analysis.
    • Signal words words such as therefore, however, then, and later that help students interpret information.
    • Simulations classroom enactments of aspects of the outside world (for example, simulating a post office in a classroom or school to teach about the postal service).
    • Simultaneous bilinguals a learner who learns two languages simultaneously.
    • Skills an acquired aptitude to perform well.
    • Skimming briefly perusing materials to determine what information might be included.
    • Speech registers a wide range of speaking situations in which speakers adjust what they say and how they speak depending on the listener and the setting.
    • Standardized testing normed measures of academic student performance and progress.
    • Standards guidelines for student performance at various levels.
    • Status of the class a quick method for assessing where students are in a process such as during writing workshop. Students quickly report to the teacher what stage of writing they are in with their current writing project and their plans for the current day's workshop.
    • Strategic readers readers who use strategies such as predicting, using picture clues, and activating prior knowledge to understand what they read more fully.
    • Strategies a systematic plan intentionally modified and monitored to develop one's ability in learning.
    • Student centered when individual and collective needs of the learners are analyzed and instruction is designed to meet those needs, a classroom is student centered.
    • Style the way in which a book is written. The elements of style include use of words, images, metaphors, sounds, and voice.
    • Summative assessment a summary or final evaluation pulling together all parts and assessments of what was learned.
    • Syntactic cueing system the system readers use when they understand how sentences are formed and the grammatical rules that preside over them.
    • Syntax the order of words in a sentence (e.g., in English we generally have an adjective followed by the noun it is describing: “the blue car.” In Spanish we find the opposite: “el carro azul”—“the car blue”).
    • Talking to communicate by speaking.
    • Telecommunicating electronic means of communication via Internet and e-mail.
    • Text directionality the ability to perceive left to right orientation of text for reading purposes.
    • Text features components of subject-area texts such as maps, bolded vocabulary, headings, pictures, and captions.
    • Text-to-self connections connections students make between themselves and/or their life experiences and the literature they read.
    • Text-to-text connections connections students make between what they are currently reading and what they have previously read.
    • Text-to-world connections connections students make between what they read and what they know of the world around them.
    • Theme what a reader is “left with” after reading a text. A message or idea that leaves an impression on a reader.
    • Think-alouds a strategy in which a model (teacher) or learner verbalizes the thought processes that are used during learning a new concept or skill.
    • Trade books a book published for sale to the general public.
    • Traditional basal approach a program consisting of student textbooks and workbooks, teachers’ manuals, and supplementary materials for developmental reading and language arts development.
    • Transitional stage of reading the stage of reading development where readers become more fluent and integrate a variety of self-monitoring and fix-up strategies while reading a variety of genres and forms of text.
    • Trilingual being proficient in communicating in three languages.
    • Viewing the communication process involved when students watch or examine print or graphic stimuli. Information gathered by seeing or sight.
    • Visual demands character shots in visual media in which the character seems to be looking directly at the viewer.
    • Visual literacy refers to the process of learning by viewing print or graphic stimuli. Use of illustrations and graphics to gain greater meaning from text.
    • Visual media print, electronic, or visual performance modes of communication.
    • Visual offers portray characters in visual media that do not appear to gaze at the viewer and do not suggest a relationship.
    • Visually representing messages that are conveyed through graphics, video, computer, or dramatic media.
    • Vocabulary maps webs of new words that highlight meanings and/or uses of new words.
    • WebQuest a preselected set of Web sites that a teacher may direct students to use in researching a particular topic.
    • Whole language approach a philosophy for teaching language that is based on the notion that students learn language best beginning with whole texts and moving to understanding parts.
    • Word analysis strategies strategies whose purpose is to assist a reader in the decoding and identification of words.
    • Word sort a method for finding common elements and patterns between and among words through the process of manipulating word cards. Two types of sorts include the open sort, where students find a pattern among words on their own, and closed sort, where word cards are sorted into predetermined categories or patterns.
    • Work session the stage within a workshop where students typically work independently or in pairs to apply what they have learned during the minilesson.
    • Workshop model a model that encourages a variety of groupings and instructional models, including minilessons where (a) the teacher models and teaches strategies, skills, conventions, and procedures; (b) a work session where students apply their new learning independently; and (c) a sharing session where students give and receive feedback to peers related to the content and processes shared.
    • Writing the process of recording language graphically.
    • Writing process the stages, decisions, and actions a writer goes through when producing a piece of writing.
    • Zone of proximal development the distance between what the child is capable of doing alone and the problem-solving level accomplished with guidance.

    About the Authors

    Kathryn Henn-Reinke, PhD, is Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Wisconsin College of Education and Human Services, Curriculum & Instruction Department. She has spent her career in the areas of bilingual education and literacy development. She is currently the codirector of the Title III ADELANTE program for the preparation of ESL/bilingual teachers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and serves as graduate program coordinator for the Curriculum and Instruction Master of Science in Education program. She teaches courses in language arts and courses related to teaching, learning, and assessment for English language learners at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Prior to teaching at UW Oshkosh, she was the bilingual coordinator at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    She serves as a literacy consultant to bilingual elementary schools in Milwaukee and published The Reading Club: A Guide to a Literacy Intervention Program for Reluctant Readers in Spanish and English to document this work. She also serves as the lead consultant to the P-5 portfolio process in several of the Milwaukee Public Schools and has published Assessment Portfolios for Elementary Students along with members of the P-5 steering committee.

    Prior to teaching at the university level, she was the assistant project director of a national dropout study. She also taught second and third graders as a bilingual teacher for several years.

    Geralyn A. Chesner, PhD, is Associate Professor at Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, School of Education. She teaches courses in integrated reading and language arts methods for both graduate and undergraduate programs. As the coordinator of graduate and undergraduate literacy programs, she stays abreast of current developments and research in the field of literacy and language arts. She works regularly with teachers and students in elementary schools focused on implementing teaching, learning, and assessment of language arts and literacy within the curriculum.

    Prior to college teaching, she taught second- through fifth-grade students in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She implemented a balanced literacy program in her classroom and published an article about teaching writing related to the work her elementary students were doing in writing workshop.

    She has contributed to The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, edited by Bernice Cullinan and Diane Person, with 12 entries detailing the work of distinguished children's authors and illustrators. Her doctoral focus was on children's literature, and her dissertation, Invitations for Interpretation and Appreciation: How Five-Year-Olds Construct Meaning Through Response to Picture Book Illustration and Design, details young children's development of visual literacy through the use of picture books.

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