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Finding Readers’ Voices through Listening and Reading Blended

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

Blended coverThis week we share the digital natives’ experiences in the 8th grade classroom with a print–based text and an audiobook from the classroom. Recently, fifteen 8th grade students at the Drachman Montessori K–8 Magnet School in Tucson read Blended by Sharon M. Draper (2019). They are going to read two different formats of Blended; the 320 paged printed–text reading that consists of 80 chapters and the audiobook listening that takes 5 hours and 42 minutes. The students read and listen to chapters in turn intentionally to challenge their reluctant attitudes towards printed texts that RPR (Reluctant Printed–Text Readers) have. Continue reading

Integrating Youth Culture for Youth Literacy

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

Book Flix Wall
Magee is one of the largest middle schools in Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) in Tucson, AZ. Approximately, a third of the 650 students with diverse backgrounds are attending Magee middle school. Students are provided with various STEAM opportunities (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). The school also offers classes in areas such as theater, computer science, and robotics, among others. Above all, Magee’s library provides rich learning opportunities to digital native students in ways that are relevant to their cultures. The library has been responsive to changes in learning environments in school and society. Continue reading

Reluctant Printed-Text Readers’

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

The Last Book in the Universe CoverTwo Faces of Digital Prosperity
We saw them and decided to name them Reluctant Printed–Text Readers (RPR). RPR are comfortable with reading texts in digital spaces, but are readers who feel reluctant and resistant to reading printed texts. They do literacy practices in digital spaces, but don’t assess their literacy practice as reading because they usually read on those digital gadgets. They hardly enjoy reading texts on paper. In 2001, Marc Prensky claimed, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach,” (p.1). Prensky’s expression of “change” indicates K–college students being digital generations whose surroundings are all some types of digital items such as music players, cell phones, video games, tablets, computers, etc. Thus, “Digital natives” grew to be an outdated expression since our students are now all “native speakers.” Now in 2019, we live in the digital era that “okay, Google” or “Alexa” can help you to take care of quick info search, running errands, and other life operations. Young people in our classrooms now have smartphones for their entertainment, research, socializing, reading, etc. Books are not a comfortable “thing” to some or many young readers. The fantasy book, The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick (2002) may no longer be a fantasy. Continue reading

Water in Indigenous Children’s Literature

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

In Lakota language, water is called mni wiconi, literally “it gives me life.” Without water, there would be no life. Water is fundamental for every living being on this planet. Indeed, water, too, is living. Indigenous communities around the globe have always known that protecting and repairing water is essential for our survival. Stories of the the importance of water, its sacredness, and the fight of the water protectors are present in literature for children and young adults.

Water in Indigenous Children’s Literature Continue reading

Indigenous Crossover YA/Adult Fiction

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

When I taught high school English at a tribal school, the primary class novel I chose was The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), winner of the National Book Award for fiction in 2012. Choosing a whole class novel is never an easy task. It should be appealing to everyone (impossible). It should be able to be read and understood by all reading levels in the class (unlikely). It should be important, worthy of lengthy discussion, and worth convincing students that if they just give it a chance, they may like it, and see its worth. Of course, there is also the idea that we shouldn’t read whole class novels at all, allowing students to choose all their own books themselves, thus avoiding the above difficulties. However, for me, there is something deeply pleasurable and vital in having a shared reading experience and community dialogue around this reading.

Indigenous Crossover YA/Adult Fiction Continue reading

Sweeping Indigenous Histories

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

In Redrawing the Historical Past: History, Memory, and Multiethnic Graphic Novels, editors Martha Cutter and Cathy Schlund-Vials remind readers of a speech that Toni Morrison gave at Portland State University in 1975 where she said, “No one can blame the conqueror for writing history the way he sees it, and certainly not for digesting human events and discovering their patterns according to his own point of view. But it must be admitted that conventional history supports and complements a very grave and almost pristine ignorance.” This year, after teaching a few sections of a course which, in part, is an overview of Indigenous histories of the Pacific Northwest, I have realized that this ‘pristine ignorance’ is sometimes because of a lack of information, and sometimes because of a strong and willful desire to maintain the settler colonial histories learned as children and throughout life. In my work as a teacher educator, I need to assist non–Indigenous adults in learning history through an Indigenous lens before they are able to bring these important histories to their own students. Children’s literature can be such a valuable resource for relearning histories, even for adults.

Sweeping Indigenous Histories Continue reading

Middle Grade Novels Spotlighting Color-Conscious Casting

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

Unlike in elementary school and junior high, I wasn’t quite one of the theater kids in high school. I was always on the edges of the theater crowd. A groupie, maybe. But perhaps I just appreciated the kind of personal expression, creative energy and openness that is often a part of the theater crowd. These days, instead of hanging around the drama room, I like to read novels that hang around the drama room.

Middle Grade Novels Spotlighting Color-Conscious Casting Continue reading

Indigenous Authored Books

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Indigenous authored books for youth being published in the U.S. and Canada have grown from only 6 in 2002 to 38 in 2018. Although having over ten times the number of Indigenous children’s books published is an exciting and promising amount of growth, this number only represents 1% of the total number of children’s books published. This unbalanced number does not reflect the 1.5% of the U.S. population and 4.9% of the Canadian population that have Inuit, Métis, First Nations, and Native American heritage, not to mention the low numbers of Central and South American Indigenous peoples in North America who choose to report as Hispanic without reporting Indigenous heritage.

Indigenous Authored Books Listed in the Article Continue reading

Inquiry into Global Nonfiction and Informational Literature: Student Learning Outcomes and Reflections

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This post summarizes IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students’ learning outcomes and reflections. I also included my brief reflection on teaching the course at the end of this post.

Small Group Collaborative Inquiry Projects
As noted in last week’s WOW Currents blog post, IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students brainstormed topics and formed five inquiry groups. Topics for two of the five groups made natural connections to global books and resources: immigration and refugees. These topics grew out of the prejudice and discrimination pathfinder I provided as a model for students.

Decorative image of a blue wall featuring a world map with silhouettes of people walking past. Continue reading