Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole are the top five home languages for English-language learners in the nation's K-12 public schools, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education.
Julie Scullen, an ILA member since 2005, is a teaching and learning specialist for secondary reading in Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota, working with teachers of all content areas to foster literacy achievement. After overhearing a discouraging conversation among students in the library, she began to reflect more intently on literacy engagement. She writes, "As teachers, we all want our students to have engaging reading material. We all want our students to have a book in their hand and 'next book' on their mind. Unfortunately, we also know our ability to inspire readers can become lost in the push for coverage and the constant battle for instructional time.:
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a finalist for the National Book Award. Della Farrell of School Library Journal writes, "Magnificently crafted, Acevedo's bildungsroman in verse is a stunning account of a teen girl's path to poetry. Sophomore Xiomara Batista is simultaneously invisible and hyper visible at home, at school, and in her largely Dominican community in Harlem — her body is 'unhide-able' she tells readers early on, and she bristles at how others project their desires, insecurities, failures, and patriarchal attitudes toward her…. Acevedo's poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book's end." Read more from Xiomara in this interview with School Library Journal.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says a passion for words and reading paved her way to the highest court in the country. She delivered that message recently at a Reading is Fundamental event here promoting literacy—and honoring her contributions to it, with her new children's book, Turning Pages: My Life Story. The book, aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds, describes how words riveted her, even before she could read. Lively family gatherings at Sotomayor's grandmother's New York City home quieted when Abuelita, her grandmother, shared poems about the island of Puerto Rico, "the tropical land our family had left behind." Sotomayor said she was transfixed by her grandmother's ability to "mesmerize the crowd, just with words," and her father's "poetry duels" with family members that demonstrated the power of the spoken word. To illustrate the book, Delacre integrated meaningful words and images — like Sotomayor's library card — into her work.
Write what you know, they say. It took Jarrett J. Krosoczka years to follow that advice, but the results are worth the wait. While his books have long been reader favorites, Hey, Kiddo – now a finalist for the National Book Award – reveals the author's maturity and depth. Working up the courage to revisit a painful childhood and adolescence wasn’t easy for Krosoczka. In a phone interview, he told SLJ that he's been thinking about penning a graphic memoir for years, but "every time I went to write the book, I would stop." Then, in a 2012 TED Talk about his development as an artist, Krosoczka opened up about his early years. For much of his childhood, his mother, Leslie, was incarcerated because of her heroin use, so his maternal grandparents stepped in to care for him. He didn’t know who his father was until he was in high school. The video went viral, and he realized that this "was a book I needed to write."
Three years ago, three colleagues in the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development teamed up to pilot a Facebook unit in a high school classroom mainly composed of Somali English language learners. Recognizing the appeal of social media among adolescents, Jenifer Vanek, Kendall King and Martha Bigelow — three instructors at the U of M specializing in second language acquisition — decided to investigate how it might be used to support English literacy development in the classroom. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Language, Identity and Education. "There are so many discourses that are about skills that they don't have," said King, noting that those who are new to working with this student population often express surprise over the fact that they need to cover basics like how to properly hold a pencil. "In our work with them, all the time, we could see they were so sophisticated in using their phones, and using whatever device they had. There are all these skills we could maybe leverage."
After just under a year on the job, Taunton Public Schools' English Learners Director Dalila Mendoza has plans to help the program to better accommodate the educational backgrounds of its students.
The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College is hosting a collection of 80 original art pieces produced by students from Puerto Rico. The works were made as a response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.
Waldorf University is receiving approval from the Iowa Department of Education for its English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement, and is now offering it as an option for Education students. The ESL endorsement will help prepare future elementary through secondary educators on teaching English as a second language to students, and is part of several endorsements available within the Bachelor of Science in Education curriculum.
Rachel Martin talks to Tomie dePaola about his new children's book, Quiet. He lives in the countryside and while dining at a local restaurant, he was particularly struck by a family he noticed there.