Reading Is Fundamental

There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series. 

By C. Landeros-Peña

Reading is Fundamental (RIF), is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization. RIF’s mission is to motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.   RIF’s website, provides a wealth of information about their organization.  RIF also publishes a monthly newsletter that individuals can sign up for free of charge.  

RIF began in Washington, D.C. when Margaret McNamara began letting students she tutored choose and keep books that belonged to her grown children.  Based on that experience, she organized a pilot program in three D.C. public schools. The first RIF book distribution was held on November 3, 1966. Since then RIF aims to provide children with free, new, books and literacy resources.  Priority is placed on reaching low income children from birth to age 8, however children of all ages are eligible to receive RIF services.  There are 17,000 independently managed local RIF sites located throughout the United States. RIF also conducts training for parents, teachers, and education staff on the topic of increasing family literacy engagement and activities. 

Navigating through RIF’s website I was amazed at the amount of resources that are provided for children, teachers, and parents alike. There is a section called Activities which offers different activities for readers of every age and reading level. These activities are fun and provide learning opportunities through interaction with peers and or siblings. These activities are categorized by theme or subject. The activities include a description along with the appropriate age and materials needed.  Included in the Activities section are month activity calendars which provide engaging reading and writing activity suggestions for each day of the month. These calendars are provided in English and Spanish and can be downloaded and printed at no cost. There is another section called Booklists which provides book selections reviewed by experts in the field.  Included are booklists from Caldecott and Newbery Winners to young adult and Multicultural books.  The section called Articles provides a comprehensive guide to reading challenges and solutions for parents and teachers.  The articles explore a variety of topics and provide helpful tips in an easy to read format. I found the section called Brochures to be really helpful in promoting the habit of reading in families. RIF has done a wonderful job of developing brochures that promote better reading habits in colorful, easy to read and in an array of topics.  These brochures are available in English and Spanish. The last section called Multicultural is an effort to promote and support early childhood literacy in African American, Hispanic, and American Indian communities.  This section provides interactive websites, articles, and booklists. 

RIF is an organization that provides much needed literacy resources and support to children in a variety of settings such as schools, libraries and daycare centers. Their success is in part to the 500,000 dedicated volunteers. Individuals may become volunteers by logging on to the RIF website which directly links them to volunteer opportunities in their own areas. 

Overall, I found that Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is an organization that is providing an invaluable service to many children, teachers, and parents nationwide.  Their website also provides many wonderful resources that are sure to help motivate children in becoming lifelong readers.

International Latino Book Award Winners Announced

By readingingtheborderlands

A few days ago Latino Literacy Now, a non-profit organization that supports and promotes literacy and literary excellence within the Latino community in the USA, announced the winners of the International Latino Book Awards. This award was created in 1999 to recognize the positive contributions made to Latino literature by publishers and writers worldwide.

The children’s literature and young adult literature winners are listed below. Go here for a full list of winners.


Best Educational Children’s Book – Spanish
First Place, Quiero Ser Chef, Mary R. Dunn, The Rosen Publishing Group
Second Place, Quiero Hacer Peliculas, Mary R. Dunn, The Rosen Publishing Group
Honorable Mention, Quiero Ser Piloto de Carreras, Katie Franks, The Rosen Publishing Group

Best Educational Children’s Book – Bilingual
First Place, Nos Vamos a La Gran Barrera de Australia, Georgette Baker, Cantemos
Second Place, Jaguars and Other Latin American Wild Cats, Zella Williams, The Rosen Publishing Group
Second Place, Coqui Frogs and Other Latin American Frogs, Zella Williams, The Rosen Publishing Group
Honorable Mention, Quetzals and Other Latin American Birds, Zella Williams, The Rosen Publishing Group

Best Children’s Picture Book – English
First Place, Me, Frida, Amy Novesky, Abrams Books For Young Readers
Second Place, The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, René Colato Laínez, Tricycle Press
Second Place, My Shoes and I, René Colato Laínez, Boyds Mills Press
Honorable Mention, La Noche Buena, Antonio Sacre, Abrams Books For Young Readers

Best Children’s Picture Book – Spanish
First Place, Manual de Piratas, Monica Carretero, Cuento de Luz
Second Place, La Gallina Cocorina, Mar Pavon, Cuento de Luz
Honorable Mention, Kiki Koki, La Leyenda Encantada del Coquí, Ed Rodriguez, Idearworks

Best Children’s Picture Book – Bilingual
First Place, From North to South/Del Norte al Sur, René Colato Laínez, Children’s Book Press
First Place, Grandma’s Chocolate/El Chocolate de Abuelita, Mara Price, Arte Publico Press
Honorable Mention, Let Me Help!/¡Quiero Ayudar!, Alma Flor Ada, Children’s Book Press

Best Young Adult Fiction – English
First Place, When the Stars Go Blue, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, Thomas Dunne Books
Second Place, The Red Umbrella, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Alfred A. Knopf Publishing
Honorable Mention, Masters of the Sea: The Adventures of Jules Verne’s Mathias Sandorf, George J. Rios, iUniverse
Honorable Mention, Father Knows Best, Lynda Sandoval, Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

Best Young Adult Fiction – Spanish or Bilingual
First Place, Tigre, Tigre, Lynne Reid Banks, Editorial Bambu
Second Place, El Último Muerto, Fernando Lalana, Editorial Bambu
Honorable Mention, Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories/Kid Ciclon se enfrenta a El Diablo y otors cuentos, Xavier Garza, Arte Publico Press

Best Young Adult Nonfiction – English
First Place, East Side Dreams, Art Rodriguez, Dream House Press

Best Young Adult Nonfiction – Spanish or Bilingual
First Place, El Secreto para adolescentes, Paul Harrington, Atria Books
Second Place, A Bailar, Maria Villegas/Jennie Kent, Villegas Editores

Best Young Adult Sports/Recreation – Spanish or Bilingual
First Place, Mexico/México, José María Obregón, The Rosen Publishing Group
Second Place, Argentina, José María Obregón, The Rosen Publishing Group
Honorable Mention, A Bailar, Maria Villegas/Jennie Kent, Villegas Editores

NABE: The National Association for Bilingual Education

There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series. 

By Mandy Thomas

The National Association for Bilingual Education, also known as NABE is the only professional organization devoted to representing English language learners (ELL’s) and bilingual education professionals. They are affiliated with 20 states and represent a membership of more than 5,000 bilingual and English-as-a-second-language teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, university professors and students, researchers, advocates, policymakers, and parents. Their website is user friendly and can be found at

Membership fees are rather reasonable and range in price; $60 for an individual membership, $30 for a college/university student, paraprofessional, or parent, $55 for a state affiliate, $125 for an institutional membership, and $1000 for a lifetime membership. With every membership, the individual or group receives six issues annually of NABE news, discounted rates for subscriptions to NABE’s Bilingual Research Journal, special member registration rates for a NABE conference, complete access to the website, and membership into the special interest groups. NABE links individuals with a network of colleagues who provide information to prepare English language learners for a lifetime of successful learning.

NABE supports the education of English language learners through professional development for its members and partnerships with other organizations to fight for the minority students. They lobby at federal and state levels to make sure they receive adequate funding for ELL’s and have campaigns to educate the public and community about bilingual education.

Their annual conference is the only one in the Unites States that is dedicated to exploring interest topics for teachers, administrators, and parents of English language learners. Some of the topics explored at this conference are second language acquisition, bilingual education, teacher training, and assessment and accountability.

This association’s mission is to advocate for their nations Bilingual and English language learners and their families and to cultivate a multilingual, multicultural society by supporting and promoting policies, programs, pedagogy, research, and professional development. All of this will, the association states, will yield academic success, value students’ native language, and lead to English proficiency.

NABE members have organized special interest groups within the association. Also known as SIGS, these special interest groups cover all levels of schooling. Some focus on roles within the profession while others are devoted to the education of special populations or interests.  Some of the SIGS listed on the website include Asian and Pacific Islanders SIG, Critical Pedagogy, Dual language Immersion, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, ELL Newcomers and Recent Immigrants, ELL Secondary Education, ESL in Bilingual Education, Gifted, Indigenous Bilingual Education, Instructional Technology, Language Policy, Para Educators, Parent and Community, Policy Makers, Research, Special Education, and World Languages and Cultures. All these SIGS have a chair person and their contact information is listed on the associations’ website.

On their website, this association offers a store where their publication, NABE News, can be purchased. The journal, Bilingual Research Journal, published by the association can also be purchased. Past publications can be viewed online with your membership sign in. Samples are available for individuals who are not members. They also allow advertisement from companies or organizations for a fee. The National Association for Bilingual Education has an annual conference. They just recently held their 40th annual conference in New Orleans, LA on February 16-18, 2011. This conference is one of the largest gatherings of individuals dedicated to serving Bilingual and English language learners in the United States.  Some topics included this year were 21st Century Learning, Title l, Title lll, Pre-school, Dual Immersion, Foreign Languages, English as a Second Language, Sheltered Instruction, Heritage Language Programs, and other approaches for multilingual students from pre-K to grade 16.

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series. 

By Audrey Nuques

Mission: This organization is dedicated to advancing knowledge about education and scholarly inquiry about education. It is also dedicated to promoting the use of research in order to improve education and to serve the public good. 

Address: American Educational Research Association
                      1430 K Street, NW, Suite 1200
                      Washington, DC 20005


Membership Fees:  $40 for graduate students, $150 for Academic Scholars

About: Founded in 1916 the organization is concerned with improving the educational process through encouragement in scholarly inquiry. AERA is considered the most prominent international professional organization. Its primary goal is to advance educational research and its practical application in education. The organization has more than 25,000 members that include educators, researchers, state and local agencies, counselors, evaluators that work at state and federal levels, graduate students, and behavioral scientists. The AERA also represents a broad range of disciplines which include education, statistics, sociology, economics, philosophy, psychology, political science and anthropology. AERA is governed by a legislative and policy-making body that is called the Council. It is compromised of elected members and consists of the President, the President-Elect, the Immediate Past-President, two Members-at-large, Vice-Presidents of each of the 12 Divisions, Chair of the SIG Executive Committee, and Chair of the Graduate Student Council.

Membership: ERA membership provides its members in the field of education research with access to the latest developments and the top researchers in the field. In addition, AERA provides members with the opportunity to make a difference in education. Through obtaining a membership, which lasts for up to one year, members are allowed to access all AERA educational journals online as well as any educational handbooks and research books, networking opportunities through any of the 12 Divisions and through Special Interest Groups, access to the AERA online paper repository, which houses unpublished research papers, and employment opportunities in education. Some of the research journals that members can have access to are: the American Educational Research Journal, the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Review of Research in Education, and the Educational Researcher, just to name a few. Also available to members are subscriptions to any of the above journals for one year of membership. Also available for members is AERA-sponsored Group Insurance which includes hospitalization benefits, life insurance and professional liability.

Focus: This association is great for anyone interested in reviewing research in education and also to keep up to date on current events happening in education.

Conferences: Conferences are held every year in a different location so that the associations many members have the opportunity to attend at least one conference near their area. An interesting detail is that every conference that is held offers to all its members and lecturers, childcare by a licensed and insured childcare specialist. This service is provided so that every member has the chance to attend the lectures and presentations. This is a wonderful service to provide at any conference.

2011 Annual Meeting – New Orleans, Louisiana
Friday, April 8 – Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good”

Intent: This year’s conference is intended to encourage submissions that address the conceptual, methodological, policy, and pragmatic challenges and opportunities in the promise of educational research. Speakers attending will attempt to stimulate a new dialogue about the contributions that education research can make to the public.      

Some 13,000 educational researchers are expected to attend, and 1,800 scholarly papers, posters, and roundtables are to be presented.

Links to other Research Associations:


There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay  involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series.

By Annie

The official name of the professional organization is the National Council of Teachers of English and the abbreviation for the official name is NCTE.  The website URL is  The membership fees are $50.00 for elementary, middle school, secondary, and college levels.  This includes a journal subscription.  If you want to buy a journal with out membership, the cost is $75.00.  The Student membership fees are  $25.00 with discounts on journals and other benefits.

NCTE helps advance student learning consistently over time by deepening the members’ understanding of successful instruction, assessment, and evaluation practices in reading, writing, and the language arts.  The organization’s primary task is to connect and support teachers as they work closely with students, administrators, and families to develop and promote lifelong literacy learning. 

The focus for the organization is a professional association of Educators in English Studies, literacy, and Language Arts.  The academic areas that are covered are language arts, reading, and writing for all age levels. The journals that are published are specific to each level. 

Mission Statement: 

The National Council of Teachers of English is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.

“The Council promotes the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society, through the learning and teaching of English and the related arts and sciences of language.” 

Sponsored conferences

April 2011 
NCTE Virtual Conference, “Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards”

April 2011 
NCTE Advocacy Month

April 6-11, 2011 
CCCC Annual Convention, “All Our Relations: Contested Space, Contested Knowledge”

June 16-19, 2011 
CEE Summer Conference, “Rediscovering Praxis”

July 21-24, 2011 
Literacies for All Summer Institute

November 17-20, 2011 
NCTE Annual Convention, “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,”

 Resources available

These are just some of the resources available on the website.

Anti-Censorship Center—offers advice, documents, and other support at no cost to teachers faced with challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, or teaching methods.

Books—publishes resources for teachers’ professional development at every level, elementary through college.

 Hot Topics—This section is for airing opinions and for gathering comments on topics that keep English Language Arts teachers up at night.

 Journals—NCTE has peer-reviewed journals for all levels, whether you are an elementary language arts teacher or a literature professor.  The content is current with research, trends, and strategies.  Journals are available in paper and online, along with past issues.

Lesson Plans—This section provides lesson plans that have been classroom-tested and provide ready resources for teachers.

 Membership magazine—NCTE’s membership magazine, The Council Chronicle, has articles about issues and trends in the English language arts, as well as helpful tips and resources that you can put to use in your classroom.

INBOX newsletter—is a weekly e-mail wrap-up of the most important stories in English language arts education, ideas for your classroom, and news from NCTE.

 After reviewing the NCTE’s website, I am considering joining this organization.  The reason why I think this is a fantastic organization is that NCTE has peer-reviewed journals, lesson plans, and sections you can go to on the website for the members that are geared specifically to your level of teaching.  So check out this great website!

“English Learners Academic Literacy and Thinking”

Students enrolled in the spring 2011 section of READ 6323 worked together in small groups to read and discuss a professional book related to struggling readers. As part of their project, they wrote a post for our blog.

By Paula García, Irma Ramirez, and Diana Solis                      

As educators we venture into the world of molding young minds into independent, lifelong learners.  We set our goals and do our best in order to be intentional in our pedagogical style.  This can sometimes be overwhelming as we must target the needs of every one of our students.  As we formulate activities and strategies, we must be conscious of how we can target our English language learners among the diversity within our classroom.  In Pauline Gibbons’s book, English Language Learners Academic Literacy and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone, the main focus is to make teachers aware of instructional strategies that will foster language and literacy development in English language learners. She addresses the need for high quality instructional activities that vigorously engage English language learners with the support of the teacher. Gibbons wrote this book with all students in mind, not only those acquiring English as a second language.

English Language Learners or ELL’s, have specific needs that must be addressed, not as a learning disability but as a language need.  As we teach ELL’s, we must encourage oral language development within the content, as well as listening, speaking, and writing skills.  Classroom discussions are key elements in providing oral language development. It is extremely important to allow students time to think. An additional two to three seconds can lead to more extended answers. Teachers must facilitate the use of language in different contexts by modeling and providing feedback.  ELL students must be allotted time to work in small group settings so that they are able to interact with their peers as they formulate meaning and express themselves in complete sentences. Support of students’ native language is essential in that it provides a nurturing environment where the student’s cultural uniqueness is embraced by others.

Teachers must be aware of the needs and learning styles of all students.  We need to keep in mind that what might work for one child, might not work for another. As we teach, we must be cognizant of ELL student’s prior knowledge. Background knowledge is nonexistent in some cases and this makes it difficult for students to make connections to what they are reading. Teachers must scaffold students learning by enabling them to construct meaning through personal experiences.  As we plan a unit of work, we must consider all aspects of the content with our EL learners. As educators we must build prior knowledge, build on their current language skills, set clear and explicit goals, provide sequenced tasks, and offer a variety of support within peers, groups, and independently.

In order for students to be successful, teachers must implement numerous reading activities that allow students to interact so that they may fully comprehend and make meaning of what they are reading.  These activities, which can also be used in writing, must be designed and implemented with an appropriate text. Activities should present high-challenge in combination with high-support from the teacher. ELL students must be shown a variety of strategies and activities to use as they become successful readers and writers and take on different roles. As educators we must have high expectations of all our students so that they may see themselves as capable learners and contributors.  This will allow them to perform at higher levels which will elevate their self-standards and their possibilities. 

For all of this to occur, like Gibbons explains, the teacher needs to take action. The teacher intentionally needs to implement the reading and writing strategies provided in the book. As teachers, we need to exhaust all strategies before we label a child as a struggling reader. English language learners should not be underestimated. They have the same abilities as a monolingual child. The only difference is that an EL learner has the privilege of knowing two languages. This book explains thoroughly how teachers can help English language learners develop oral language and become successful readers and writer by implementing strategies that will benefit the student.

Literacy Research Association (LRA)

There are many professional organizations that can help literacy experts stay  involved in the profession beyond their classroom or school assignment. Students in the spring semester of READ 6325 explored various professional organizations and are sharing what they learned through this blog series.

By Idalou

A brief history of The Literacy Research Association dates back to 1950 with Oscar S. Causey. During this time universities noticed that students were having difficulties with college reading and studying skills. Causey recognized that college professors wanted to help these students. Causey surveyed postsecondary institutions to learn about their reading programs. He however noticed the big interest there was in learning more about the development of college reading and study skills programs. In 1952 Causey and TCU organized a conference called Southwest Reading Conference for Colleges and Universities (SRC) it focused on developing a reading program for college students.  In 1958 the leaders changed the name to National Reading conference (NRC) and in 2010 the name was changed again to Literacy Research Association.   

The Literacy Research Association is an organization supported by scholars whose main focus is to improve and promote knowledge, understanding, and develop a lifetime of literacy research in a multicultural and multilingual world.  During an LRA research investigation their main intention is to provide the literacy world with accurate research studies.  The Literacy Research Association investigation is very intense and researched very broadly to make theory or practices valid in literacy.  LRA supports future scholars in mentoring them for further literacy research.

The Literacy Research Association keeps up to date in the literacy world that is why they held a conference once a year. In this conference they provide guest speakers, group sessions, peer reviewed synopsis, and paper sessions. They also provide current information about the new theories and practices in the literacy world. This year’s conference will be held on November 30 – December 3 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. The 2012 conference will be held on November 28- December 1 in San Diego, California. It is always offered during the first week of December. The Literacy Research Association publishes a journal which is called Journal of Literacy Research. Their publishing company is Taylor & Francis Publishers. LRA also publishes a newsletter twice a year which it is delivered electronically to all active members. It gives information about current and future activities, board of directors, and its committees and headquarters. The Literacy Research Association has received various awards such as the Albert J. Kingston Award, Student Outstanding Research Award, and the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award.  These were just to name a few of their accomplishments.

How to do we join LRA?  There are four types of memberships. The higher priced one is the regular member which contains a subscription to the Journal of Literacy Research, LRA newsletter, LRA yearbook, and LRA listserv for one year and a discount rate if wish to attend an LRA conference. The cost is $110.00 a year.  The least expensive is for students which includes the same as a regular member for the cost of $40 a year. For those who are interested in joining you may login in to the website and look at what type of membership would best suite you and apply online. The website is