Literacy teachers need to stay informed about teaching practices and research. This semester students in READ 6325 are exploring scholarly journals that are in some way related to literacy. Each student was required to write a blog post about one such journal. I will be publishing one or two of their posts each week.
By Yadira Gonzalez
A scholarly journal is an academic artifact that teachers use for various purposes such as research, teaching, and private study. There are numerous amounts of journals with many useful and interesting topics offered to a diverse audience. The Horn Book, published by Media Source, Inc., for example, is a scholarly journal offered to a variety of audiences such as parents, teachers, and librarians. Such journal is provided every two months making it available to the public six times a year.
The Horn Book journals’ focus is on children’s and young adult literature. Some journals are written to provide the reader with a book review from an individual, whether it is a teacher or a librarian. The book reviews give examples of the readings, critic comments, and questions the author’s writing. The journal scores each book on a numbered scale. There are a number of people that provide feedback on the list of books on the website and the journal. This is an interactive journal for educators interested in choosing new genres and topics that they may have not chosen just by coming across the book. This format is user friendly and interactive. The teacher can use the book reviews to look for the latest publications and help them make decisions about the literature they would like to introduce in their classroom. Other journals offer the reader with multiple letters to the editor, authors and agents in regards to published books.
I found some of the articles such as Our Choices for the Best Books of 2010 and What Makes a Good Sports Novel informative because they provided me with a synopsis of the book or a short description of its content. When looking for adequate literature for my classroom, this would alleviate the time it would take to search for these books. The level the book is intended for or reading level such as pre-school, primary, intermediate, middle school and high school is offered as well. This feature is crucial for the reading teacher that understands the importance of independent leveled reading. The multiple letters to the editor, authors and agents were not of use to me in my classroom. The information provided about the publisher’s relationship with the author was extraneous information. In order to understand the reasoning behind the letters, I had to browse the author’s name and information. I found this process to be very time consuming and useless in my classroom. The organization of the journal, on the other hand, I found to very useful. It can be used as a model in the classroom for how real literature is used. With the feedback provided by the readers, the students can do this for each other after reading their book of choice. Hopefully, just like the teachers are either persuaded or dissuaded after reading the reviews of their peers, students will also see that they have the choice of a variety of literature as well as a voice to express their own opinions. I invite you to explore the website which I found user-friendly for people who are interested in children’s and young adult literature.