A draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.
Standard 7, Practicum/Clinical Experiences, is a new addition to the document. Never before has the Standards addressed clinical and field experience necessary for being a successful educator.
Autumn Dodge, assistant professor at St. John's University in New York, was the lead writer on Standard 7 and said it was vital to add this aspect of teacher preparation to the document.
"This new standard addresses what we see as the need to provide standards and expectations for practicum experience for the different roles," Dodge said. "We needed to define what practicum experiences are, differentiating between field and clinical experiences."
Dodge said that those preparing literacy specialists, coaches, and coordinators indicated there was a need for guidance about possible practicum experiences for candidates for those roles, including ideas about ongoing mentoring or a network of colleagues to help specialized literacy professionals address challenges in their schools.
"We commonly have those expectations for preservice teachers, but they are not as clear for specialized literacy professionals at universities," she said. The team received a waiver from CAEP to create and add Standard 7 to the specialized literacy professional roles. Diane Kern, committee cochair and associate professor at the University of Rhode Island, said this is the key reason the Standard was added.
"For all specialized literacy professionals, we will require classroom experience," Kern said. "It can be their own classrooms or schools."
"Programs will not be required to have an on-site literacy clinic (e.g., work in extracurricular literacy enrichment programs), although programs with clinical experiences are encouraged to continue this excellent way to prepare candidates to work with children and youths in the role of literacy interventionist." Such clinical experiences can also provide valuable coaching opportunities, under supervision, for novice specialists. Dodge and Kern agreed that an integral part of Standard 7 is allowing for blended learning or exclusively online studies.
"That is a question teacher educators have been asking us, and we had to clearly define what experiences and supervision were necessary," Kern said.
"There are a lot of ideas of how to use video clips and online media discussions between faculty supervisors and candidates. There still can be supervisor coaching online," Dodge said. "Candidates can video record their teaching experiences, share with faculty, supervisors, and their peers. Even online, there can be consistent reflection, critique, and revision of their practice."
The writing team on Standard 7 was
Review all of Standards 2017 when they are posted and give your feedback during the open public comment period starting April 17.
April Hall was editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.
The International Literacy Association (ILA) has commenced its annual election for its Board of Directors. Eligible ILA members are encouraged to vote for three at-large candidates and one vice president candidate. You can read about the candidates here.
The ILA 2017 Board Election will be conducted entirely online this year. Voting in the election is easy: Just visit the ILA Election page and follow the directions to cast your ballot.
Individual ILA members with an active membership and a valid e-mail address will receive e-mail reminders with a link to the online ballot. Eligible ILA members who do not have valid e-mail addresses will receive instructions by mail for how they can vote online.
All members must use their ILA member account sign-in information to cast their ballot.
For assistance signing into your ILA membership account, please contact Customer Service at 800.336.7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 302.731.1600 (all other countries).
For technical assistance with voting, please contact Election-America, Inc. at 866.384.9978.
The newly elected Board members will begin their terms at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in Orlando, Florida, in July 2017.
Reading trade books is an important component of an interdisciplinary approach to developing literacy skills and learning STEM content. This week’s column includes recently published books that are good choices for introducing STEM topics and initiating discussions and activities as well as for encouraging independent reading in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
All Ears, All Eyes. Richard Jackson. Ill. Katherine Tillotson. 2017. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.
A spare lyrical text and beautiful impressionistic illustrations, created using a combination of watercolor and digital techniques, invite readers to listen attentively to the sounds and look closely at the sights of the forest from twilight to dark of night. With a mix of rhyming phrases, questions, and onomatopoeia, the gentle text reads aloud well. “What surprises? / What sings? / Crick-crick-crickets / chirring / in the thick-thick-thickets / Whoo–whoo.” Young readers will enjoy spotting creatures hidden in the illustrations with each rereading.
Lines, Bars and Circles: How William Playfair Invented Graphs. Helaine Becker. Ill Marie-Ève Tremblay. 2017. Kids Can.
William Playfair (1759–1823), a Scott who dreamed big, invented graphs—line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts—as ways of making data easier to understand. The scientists of his day, however, scoffed at his graphs. “Numbers showed serious works, colorful illustrations did not,” they declared. Playfair was also an entrepreneur who came up with numerous schemes for fulfilling his dreams of riches, fame, and glory, all of which failed. It was not until almost 100 years later that his graphs came into wide use. Digitally-created cartoon artwork adds humor to this picture book biography and provides a lesson in interpreting graphs.
Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper. Anastasia Suen. Ill. Ryan O’Rourke. 2017. Charlesbridge.
Young readers can join a small group of children in hardhats as a supervisor gives a tour of a construction site. Major steps in building a skyscraper are presented in double-page spreads with simple rhyming verses and brief paragraphs superimposed on digitally created illustrations. For example, an illustration showing a concrete mixer pouring out wet concrete is paired with “Pour, pour, pour! / Wet concrete / A line of mixers / Along the street” and an explanation (in smaller type) that it takes a lot of concrete to fill the trench in which the rebar cages have been placed. The final page folds out to reveal the completed skyscraper. Young children can learn more about skyscrapers by reading Libby Romero’s Skyscrapers (2017), a National Geographic Kids Reader.
What Will Grow? Jennifer Ward. Ill. Susie Ghahremani. 2017. Bloomsbury.
Rhyming couplets followed by the question “What will grow?” and gouache-on-wood illustrations offering visual clues to the answers introduce twelve seeds and the trees, flowers, fruits, or vegetables they grow into. Four gatefolds that open either up or down add to the fun of discovering whether readers’ answers are correct. For example, for “STRIPY BLACK. / CRUNCHY SNACK,” the right-hand page reveals a tall sunflower. Back matter includes information on planting each of the seeds and a “From Seed to Plant” section showing the life cycle of a sunflower.
The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park. Celia Godkin. 2017. Pajama Press.
With an engaging, accessible text and expressive mixed-media illustrations, Godkin tells the environmental success story of the reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park. In 1995–1996, 23 grey wolves from Canada were released in the park, after more than 70-year absence. Godkin chronicles the subsequent recovery of the landscape and the positive effects of the reintroduction of this top predator over the years, as plants and animals native to the area thrived in the ecosystem. An endnote, “The Wolf in North America,” provides history of the wolf and a map of the pre-European and current North American wolf range.
Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything. Anita Sanchez. Ill. Catherine Stock. 2017. Charlesbridge.
As a child growing up in Sweden, nature-loving Karl Linné (1707–1778) wanted to know the name of everything, but that could be confusing because a plant might have numerous common names. He set out to give everything a clear and simple name and to develop a classification system for all living things that is the basis for nomenclature and classification used by scientists today. In his lifetime, Karl classified and named more than 12,000 species of plants and animals, giving each a unique two-part name in Latin. He even gave himself a Latin-based version of his name: Carolus Linnaeus. Back matter includes additional information on scientific classification, a time line, source notes for quotations, resources for young readers, and a bibliography.
Skateboards (Made by Hand #1). Patricia Lakin. 2017. Aladdin/Simon & Schuster.
After an identification of the parts of a skateboard (deck, trucks, and wheels) and a history of the skateboard, readers are introduced to Jake Eshelman, who designs custom skateboards for his company, Side Project Skateboards. The step-by-step process—everything from choosing the material for the deck to crafting shock absorbers—is explained and illustrated with color photographs. Back matter includes a skateboard time line, glossary, and resources.
Things That Grow. Libby Walden. Ill. Becca Stadflander. 2017. 360 Degrees/Tiger Tales.
This beautifully designed book, with its small trim size, heavy paper, accessible narrative, and colorful, realistic illustrations, invites curious readers to explore the processes of development and growth of things in our diverse and ever changing world. The three sections—“Plants and Trees,” “The Animal Kingdom,” and “The Universe”—contain double-page spreads that introduce key concepts of the development of plants, animals, and features of our planet along with examples, such as the growth and survival of plants in extreme conditions; the unusual life cycle of the axolotl (the Mexican walking fish), a neotenic aquatic salamander; and the creation of islands.
Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animal Think, Talk, and Feel. Nancy F. Castaldo. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Following an introduction to the human brain in comparison to the those of other animals and a history of theories on animal intelligence, Castaldo delves into recent research exploring animal cognition. In a conversational tone, she presents information on numerous studies on problem solving, communication, tool use, and emotions in various animals. Castaldo ends with a “From Thinking Animals to Protected Animals” section about how the recognition of the intelligence of animals is changing how we see animals and affecting our treatment of them. Back matter includes activities for young people, lists of organizations and resources, a glossary, source notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Botanicum (Welcome to the Museum). Kathy Willis. Ill. Katie Scott. 2017. Big Picture/Candlewick.
A “Welcome to Botanicum” extends an invitation to visit a botanical museum to “discover the strange and wonderful kingdom of plants, in all its colorful, surprising majesty.” A tour through the seven galleries—“The First Plants,” “Trees,” “Palms and Cycads,” “Herbaceous Plants,” “Grasses, Cattails, Sedges, and Rushes,” “Orchids and Bromeliads,” and “Adapting to Environments”—introduces readers to the extraordinary diversity of the plant world. Each double-page spread of this beautifully crafted, oversize volume consists of a plate of pen-and-ink, digitally colored drawings of plants (or plant parts) accompanied by an introduction and key to the plate, with common and scientific names and brief descriptive and environmental notes on each plant. Back matter includes an index and internet resources.
A Dog in a Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human. Kay Frydenborg. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In this exploration of the human–dog relationship, Frydenborg considers how a shared history has influenced the development of both humans and canines. Recent paleontological discoveries show that humans have been living with dogs for thousands of years longer than was previously thought, and there is evidence that this close relationship has shaped the evolution of both species as they coevolved. Frydenborg also considers present-day scientific research on dogs that supports this concept. An abundance of color photographs with extensive captions and inserts on related topics add interest. Back matter includes a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, internet resources, and an index.
Never Out of Season: How Having the Food We Want When We Want It Threatens Our Food Supply and Our Future. Rob Dunn. 2017. Little, Brown.
Rob Dunn, a professor of applied ecology, offers an accessible, well-researched history of the world’s food system in which relying on just a few crops to sustain populations throughout the world and our desire for consistency, uniformity, and abundance in our food —“having the food we want when we want it”—threatens agricultural sustainability. Dunn provides details of examples of how the dependence on genetically identical crops and cloning have led to greater susceptibility to pathogens, crop failure, and even famine, as in the case of the Irish potato famine in the 1840s. World-wide monoculture remains the norm: corn in North America, rice in Asia, cassava in Africa, and wheat in Europe. In highlighting the efforts of scientists to preserve biodiversity, Dunn provides a compelling argument for changes in agricultural practices to save our food supply and our future. Back matter includes extensive chapter notes and an index.
Carolyn Angus is former Director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, CA.
These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.
Discussions about fake news in a post-truth world and how to react to these challenging trends have become quite prevalent around the world. It is easy to share Professor Donald Leu’ s view that "schools are an important key to solving the challenge of fake news." And it is not only fake news that becomes important to negotiate; all types of online information in today’s world require critical and thoughtful readers.
At least two issues have become especially important as we increasingly encounter online texts. First, the earlier that we begin teaching critical evaluation skills, the more prepared our students will be. Second, given the difficulty in transferring learning effects from school tasks to other situations, we believe that students need regular practice to internalize the skills needed to be critical online readers.
One idea that we believe has promise is designing short monthly quiz activities around critical evaluation skills. This practice can be used quite regularly, even with younger children, if the texts and topics selected are reasonably appropriate for a certain grade level.
Tips for creating quizzes and advantages of the practice
To prepare your quizzes, choose four online texts on the same controversial topic (e.g., health effects from using cell phones) that differ in quality and purpose. Prepare questions for each text that address, for example, the following issues:
You might also include questions that address why it is important to pay attention to a particular aspect of online source evaluation (see question 2 in the example). To spark ideas for your quizzes, you might explore some of the examples for teaching critical evaluation provided by the Stanford History Education Group or Teaching Channel.
Next, it is time to select a tool to create your quizzes. If you are not yet familiar with online quiz tools, you can find multiple websites listing them (e.g., educatorstechnology.com).
Once you have four quizzes (one about each text), run one quiz in the beginning of each month. Remember, the questions should be used as triggers to further discussion about the topic rather than simply considering each text in isolation. The reflections and additional questions allow teachers to access students’ reasoning and how it may develop over the course of the quizzes.
At the end of the semester, hold a “final” on critical evaluation. The final gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of both content and critical evaluation skills learned during the process. At this point, questions should focus attention on comparing and contrasting the texts. Because students usually get engaged with tasks that include elements of gamification, consider finding a colleague whose class will do the quizzes and compete for the title of Champions of Critical Reading.
Teaching students to think critically is not easy, nor does it happen quickly, so, in that respect, these quiz activities are certainly not a quick fix. Still, they are one step toward developing critical habits of thinking and reflecting about the quality of online texts. We believe that repetition is essential, and these quiz activities help to regularly take advantage of quick opportunities to discuss the credibility of news or other information. Happy quizzing, and we hope that your class wins the finals!
Carita Kiili & Eva Wennås Brante are both postdoctoral fellows at the Department of Education, University of Oslo, Norway.
This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education
Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).
Although most people associate a residency with learning in the medical field, I shared the value of a literacy residency in last week’s post. Here is my day-by-day plan of a four-day residency.
Day 1: The literacy leader teaches and the participants observe
During the residency
Debriefing the residency
Day 2: The literacy leader teaches whole-group structures and the participants teach in small-group structures
Day 3: The paired participants teach “their class” and the literacy leader gives feedback
Debriefing the residency
Day 4: Each participant teaches a portion of the residency
Teachers have described residencies as transformative. A residency holds incredible power for teacher-learners who are looking for the next step in professional learning, are eager to integrate all they know about literacy instruction, and are looking to grow a community of teachers who learn from one another.
Patty McGee is a literacy consultant whose passion and vision is to create learning environments where teachers and students discover their true potential and power. She is the author of Feedback That Moves Writers Forward: How to Escape Correcting Mode to Transform Student Writing (Corwin 2017). Patty’s favorite moments are when groups of teachers are working collaboratively with students in the classroom.