1st Edition

Teaching New Literacies in Grades 4-6
Resources for 21st-Century Classrooms

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ISBN 9781606235010
Published February 18, 2010 by Guilford Press
354 Pages


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Book Description

Upper-elementary students encounter a sometimes dizzying array of traditional and nontraditional texts both in and outside of the classroom. This practical handbook helps teachers in grades 4–6 harness the instructional potential of fiction, poetry, and plays; informational texts; graphic novels; digital storytelling; Web-based and multimodal texts; hip-hop; advertisements; math problems; and many other types of texts. Twenty-four complete lessons promote critical literacy skills such as comprehending, analyzing, and synthesizing information and using writing to communicate new ideas and pose questions. Snapshots of diverse classrooms are accompanied by clear explanations of the research base for instruction in each genre. Ready-to-use reproducibles are included.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Barbara Moss and Diane Lapp

I. Teaching the Genres: What Students Often Encounter

2. Transforming Traditional Tales to Improve Comprehension and Composition, Terrell A. Young, Laura Tuiaea, and Barbara A. Ward

3. Every Story Has a Problem: How to Improve Student Narrative Writing in Grades 4–6, Sue Dymock and Tom Nicholson

4. Teaching Poetry, Claudia Dybdahl

5. Using Readers’ Theater to Engage Students with Drama, Regina M. Rees

6. Teaching Journalistic Style: A Newspaper Genre Study, Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher

7. Using Procedural Texts and Documents to Develop Functional Literacy with Students: The Key to Their Future in a World of Words, Martha D. Collins and Amy B. Horton

8. Going Beyond Opinion: Teaching Children to Write Persuasively, Dana L. Grisham, Cheryl Wozniak, and Thomas DeVere Wolsey

9. Reading Biography: Evaluating Information across Texts, Barbara Moss and Diane Lapp

II. Teaching Other Genres: What Students Could Also Encounter

10. Using Comic Literature with Older Students, Chris Wilson

11. Using Primary-Source Documents and Digital Storytelling as a Catalyst for Writing Historical Fiction in the Fourth Grade, Carol J. Fuhler

12. No Stripping Allowed: Reading and Writing Political Cartoons, James Bucky Carter with Kelly Lynn Carter

13. Self-Expressing through Hip-Hop as Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Nadjwa E. L. Norton

14. Exploring High-Stakes Tests as a Genre, Charles Fuhrken and Nancy Roser

15. Reading a Science Experiment: Deciphering the Language of Scientists, Maria Grant

16. Reading + Mathematics = SUCCESS: Using Literacy Strategies to Enhance Problem-Solving Skills, Mary Lou DiPillo

17. Promoting Literacy through Visual Aids: Teaching Students to Read Graphs, Maps, Charts, and Tables, Paola Pilonieta, Karen Wood, and D. Bruce Taylor

18. Critically Reading Advertisements: Examining Visual Images and Persuasive Language, Lori Czop Assaf and Alina Adonyi

19. Reading Web-Based Electronic Texts: Using Think-Alouds to Help Students Begin to Understand the Process, Christine A. McKeon

20. Developing Critical Literacy: Comparatively Reading Multiple Text Sources in a Sixth-Grade Classroom, Jesse Gainer

III. Crafting the Genre: Sharing One’s Voice through Writing

21. Using Written Response for Reading Comprehension of Literary Text, Evangeline Newton, Ruth Oswald, and Todd Oswald

22. Reading Persuasive Texts, Thomas DeVere Wolsey, Cheryl Pham, and Dana L. Grisham

23. Writing a Biography: Creating Powerful Insights into History and Personal Lives, Dorothy Leal

24. Monumental Ideas for Teaching Report Writing through a Visit to Washington, DC, Susan K. Leone

25. Writing Summaries of Expository Text Using the Magnet Summary Strategy, Laurie Elish-Piper and Susan R. Hinrichs

26. Conclusion: Looking Back, Looking Forward, Diane Lapp and Barbara Moss

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Barbara Moss, PhD, is Professor of Literacy Education in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She has taught English and language arts in elementary, middle, and high school settings and has worked as a reading coach. Dr. Moss’s research focuses on the teaching of informational texts at the elementary and secondary levels. She regularly presents at local, state, national, and international conferences and has published numerous journal articles, columns, book chapters, and books. Dr. Moss has served as the Young Adult Literature column editor for Voices in the Middle, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Diane Lapp, EdD, is Distinguished Professor of Education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school and serves as Director of Learning at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Her research and instruction focus on issues related to struggling readers and writers who live in economically deprived urban settings, and their families and teachers. Widely published, Dr. Lapp has received the Outstanding Teacher Educator of the Year Award from the International Literacy Association, among other honors, and is a member of both the International Reading Hall of Fame and the California Reading Hall of Fame.


The book moves beyond the basic curricular model of language arts, embracing authentic, purposeful, relevant areas of literacy that are typically overlooked. Classroom teachers, literacy coaches, and university professors alike will be able to find a place for this well laid-out text and the resources and expertise it provides. Examples of innovative and dynamic lessons will make it easy for classroom teachers to apply their new learning with ease. I was so energized that I immediately began sharing information from the book with my intermediate teachers.--Cate Stallmeyer-Gerard, MEd, CAS, Literacy Coach, Barkstall Elementary School, Champaign, Illinois
A valuable resource for upper-elementary and intermediate teachers. The book provides a wealth of useful, research-based information and lessons that will assist educators in their quest of improving student comprehension and learning in the ever-changing world of literacy. This is a resource teachers can pick up, trust, and utilize immediately.--Carrie Wessman, MS, fourth-grade teacher, Bruce, Wisconsin
Very timely. Inservice and preservice teachers need to know how to help students engage meaningfully and critically with multiple forms of text. Moss and Lapp offer a rich and accessible blend of instructional practices and curriculum integration that will enable teachers and students to expand their understanding of new literacies and connect with current technologies. This book is a comprehensive companion to turn to time and again.--Gustave Weltsek, PhD, Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education, Indiana University
A fabulous book! So many upper-elementary teachers have a difficult time engaging students in literacy because they only use trade books and textbooks for instruction. But this book shows that a variety of texts, from comics to hip hop lyrics to advertisements, can be used effectively for literacy instruction. Teachers will find the lessons in this book easy to use and supported by a strong research base. What is very exciting about the book is its emphasis on content literacy. Any teacher who has wondered how to thoughtfully integrate literacy into math, science, and social studies lessons, and make connections with students’ interests and lives, should buy this book! As a teacher educator, I see this volume as a wonderful resource for the new and experienced teachers in my courses, as well as for professional development workshops in schools. The lessons are very solid and would be useful both for students who need to 'see' the inner workings of good literacy instruction and for veteran teachers looking for fresh ideas and texts.--Jennifer D. Turner, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland