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Reader THE

Volume 41 • Issue 1

An Affiliate of the International Literacy Association

Interpersonal to Independent Success: Collaboration Is Always Key By Valerie Ellery Today’s students need every opportunity to take ownership of their learning. In order to prepare our students for success in college and their careers, the standards of learning have become more robust and relevant to the real world. Effective communication and collaboration (i.e., interpersonal skills) are essential in the classroom and will be a vital vehicle to reach the ultimate goal of independent success. Creating Strategic Readers: Techniques for Supporting Rigorous Literacy 3rd Edition (Ellery, 2014) emphasis is on effective instructional demonstrations to lift the level of cognitive development. Each Creating Strategic Readers’ technique is demonstrated using the gradual release of responsibility (Pearson and Gallagher, 1983) learning phases. This model is applied as the foundation for many successful instructional frameworks (Ellery, 2009; Fisher & Frey, 2008; Routman, 2008) moving instruction from explicit teacherfocused lessons (“I do”) to studentcentered collaborative inquiry-based instruction (“We do”), and finally the ability for the student to demonstrate mastery independently (“You do”). “Every effort is needed to maintain the instructional cycle for layering deeper learning as educators assess,

plan, implement, assess again, and reflect to maximize the quality of literacy instruction with a progression of comprehensive literacy strategies” (Ellery, Oczkus, Raskinski, 2016). This learning framework is vital to a comprehensive literacy classroom, which incorporates the use of cooperative learning tools within collaboration approaches. As educators model the desired outcomes incorporating accountable talk, students receive an imprint of what happens in the mind of a reader. Once the foundation of clear, focused instruction occurs, the art of guiding and collaborating is essential. Collaboration is crucial! Why is Collaboration Crucial in the Classroom? Learning has been credited for years as a
 social process, and from these social experiences higherlevel cognitive developments occur (Vygotsky, 1978). When learners have the opportunity to engage with others through dialogue to construct meaning, this social learning allows for interaction and collaboration. Collaboration
can increase confidence as students have time to engage and think about their learning: “Ideal collaborative learning tasks are those that cannot be accomplished just as well by one individual; they require interaction and the natural give and take of learning” (Fisher & Frey, 2008, p. 36). Continued on page 6.

Spring 2016


Linda Dorn

Linda Dorn is a professor of reading education at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, where she is the director of the UALR Center for Literacy. The Center houses four nationally recognized training models, provides premier professional development to educators, and conducts research in literacy-related areas. Dorn, who is the primary developer and lead trainer of the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy Model, teaches graduate classes in theory, research, practice, and literacy leadership. Her publications include seven books, book chapters, media publications, journal articles, and teaching materials. She co-authored Apprenticeship in Literacy, 2nd edition, and Interventions that Work: A Comprehensive Intervention Model for Preventing Reading Failure. Her newest book is Changing Minds, Changing Schools: A Comprehensive Literacy Design for School Improvement. ~ Page 1 ~

The Reader is the scholarly journal of the Arkansas Reading Association and is designed to serve as a resource for Arkansas reading teachers. Opinions expressed in articles and studies herein are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the ARA, its officers, or members. Publications Committee Chair: Tammy Gillmore Members: Linda Eilers, Naomi Lassen, Mary Mosley ARA Board of Directors President Melissa Rutherford Past President Caroline Schenk President-Elect Dorothy Pollett Vice President Kaila Murphy Secretary Tara Derby Executive Secretary Susan Peterson Treasurer Susan Grogan Historian Leeann Howard Parliamentarian Leah Barber IRA State Coordinator Krista Underwood Membership Director Amanda Snow Technology Coordinator Trudy Jackson Event Coordinator Julie Reardon Dept. of Education Liason Kathy Mascuilli Student Liason Kacy Barden The Arkansas Reading Association is an affiliate of the International Literacy Association. Visit us on the web at ~ Page 2 ~

Excerpt from Towers Falling By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Printed with permission the author, enjoy pages 97-98 of Jewell Parker Rhodes’ soon-to-be released novel. A plane. A huge jet, a silver bird, I can tell is flying, flying. Straight toward the it’s a disaster. A second tower. horrible disaster. I grip the bottom of the chair. NO. One tower is NO. NO. “Stop,” I scream. Boom. on fire. What Crash. Into the building. Sliding, happened to the ripping a diagonal line through metal, other? concrete, and glass. Is this why The plane is inside the building Sabeen cried? ---breaking apart, exploding, melting, All I have to do is tap the spacebar burning furniture and people. for the video to come alive. “No,” I scream. I bang the I tap. keyboard. The video stops. Smoke grows, clouding the silver I turn building and blue sky. Flames bubble, Jewell away from the lick, and streak. It’s horrible. There’s no Parker screen and sound, but I know there must be people look out Ben’s Rhodes inside the tower hurt, screaming. window. It’s How come I didn’t know? beautiful. Birds, ARA Literacy Right across from Brooklyn, trees, sky, and Conference Speaker something left a gaping hole in the clouds. What AND tower. would it be like Thursday I lean forward. No sound makes having a plane Ticketed the moving image scarier. High up, not crush through even where birds fly, there must be wind Luncheon like a missile? sounds. Inside the building, folks must Destroying the Nov. 17-18, 2016 be coughing, choking from smoke. Fire world? would be roaring, snapping, crackling. From the back cover of the Advanced Reader’s Copy of Towers Falling: In time for the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, awardwinning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about strong young people who were not alive to witness the moment in history but begin to realize just how much the events color their every day.

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When to Write & When to Type Assignments William Van Cleave Author/Consultant Research overwhelmingly supports direct and explicit handwriting instruction for young children, typically beginning in kindergarten and carrying at least through third grade. Students who do not receive handwriting instruction and, as a result, who do not develop writing automaticity do not write as much or as well as their peers, an effect that is long-term (Graham; Berninger & Wolf, 2009, 2012; Torrance & Galbraith). While educators clash over the value of cursive instruction, experts in the field of learning difficulties and educators who focus attention on the kinesthetictactile component of writing often argue convincingly in support of cursive instruction for all students, but particularly for those who struggle with writing (Gillingham, King, Sheffield). With the influx of technology William in our schools, Van Cleave politicians and educators have ARA Literacy sometimes found Conference it all too easy to Speaker say, “There’s no AND need to teach Friday handwriting Customized anymore Keynote kids can type everything” and, equally

troubling, “Spelling instruction is no longer necessary - that’s what we have spellcheck for.” Flippant remarks like these undermine a current and growing body of research in support of handwriting instruction, an essential component of children’s education. Obviously, technology is here to stay, and students need to learn to use it effectively. That said, for most children, such instruction occurs in conjunction with rather than to the exclusion of handwriting instruction. It is imperative that we commit adequate instructional time to teaching students keyboarding skills. An instructor trained in teaching touch typing will help students develop automaticity with the keyboard, freeing up working memory for higher level writing tasks (Torrance & Galbraith; Graham). Students should learn to touch type as they begin to use a word processor for writing. Therefore, the grade level for introducing keyboarding varies from school to school depending on curriculum. While handwriting instruction is essential for most students, some children struggle with dysgraphia, a particularly frustrating disability. These students have difficulty with graphomotor processing. In essence, the connection between the language brain and the hand is faulty. Unlike their classmates, students diagnosed with dysgraphia do not reap benefits from handwriting. Remediation only helps minimally, and they never develop the handwriting fluency necessary for automaticity (Berninger, 2009). Students with dysgraphia should make Visit the ARA Facebook PAGE at Arkansas Reading Association. Hint: Make sure you are on the Facebook Page and NOT the Facebook Group.

an early transition to the keyboard, which typically frees them to convey their ideas effectively. Sometimes, dysgraphia inhibits a student’s ability to touch type as well; assuming the student is not affected by articulation issues, voice-activated software is an effective solution. References: Berninger, V.W. (March 2013). “Educatinon Students in the Computer Age to Be Multilingual by Hand.” Commentaries (National Association of State Boards of Education), 19 (1). Berninger, V.W. (May-June 2012). Strengthening the Mind’s Eye: The Case for Continued Handwriting Instruction in the 21st Century.” Principal, 28-31. Berninger, V.W. and B.J. Wolf. (2009)Teaching Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia: Lessons from Teaching and Science. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co. Gillingham, A. and B.W. Stillman. (2014). Remedial Training for Children with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling and Penmanship, Chapter 9. E.P.S. Graham. S. (Winter 2009-2010). “Want to Improve Children’s Writing? Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting.” American Educator, 20-27, 40. King, D.H. (2004). Writing Skills - Teacher’s Manual, Chapter 9. E.P.S. Konnikova, M. (June 2, 2014). “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.” New York Times. New York, NY. Mueller, P.A. & D.M. Oppenheimer (2014).“The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” Psychological Science, 25(6), 1159-1168. Schlagel, B. (2007). “Best Practices in Spelling and Handwriting.” Best Practices in Writing Instruction. Eds. Charles A. MacArthur, Steve Graham, and Jill Fitzgerald. New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Sheffield, B. “Handwriting: A Neglected Cornerstone of Literacy.” Annals of Dyslexia. Vol. 46, ‘96. Torrance, M. and D. Galbraith. (2006) “The Processing Demands of Writing.” Handbook of Writing Research. Eds. Charles A. MacArthur, Steve Graham, and Jill Fitzgerald. The Guilford Press. New York, NY. Zubrzycki, J. (January 23, 2012). Summit to Make a Case for Teaching Handwriting. Education Week, 31 (Issue 18), 1,13.

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Fear and Failure in the Studio as Tool for Success By Dana Sullivan

Writer/Illustrator-Digger and Daisy

“Are you ever worried you will fail?” asked the boy at the school assembly. “Fail?” I stammered. This one caught me off guard, which isn’t unusual. You never know if elementary school kids will tell you about their pet cat or ask you who your earliest writing influences were. “I fail so often that I don’t worry much about it anymore,” I finally answered. “And when I do fail, I try to learn from it; then move on and try something new.” My brain was really churning at this point. “Well, yes, I worry about failing!” my inside voice was saying, but my mouth actually asked, “How many of you like soccer?” Bunch of hands went up. “Music? Baseball? Jump rope? Reading?” A lot of hands were in the air by now. “How many of you were really good at all those things the very first time you tried them?” Of course, there were still a few hands in the air. I wanted to call these kids big liars, but instead I said, “Well, you are the lucky ones, because the rest of us usually have to try again and again to get good at things – even if we really like doing them.” My first book Ozzie and the Art Contest was written because of a failure. I had submitted a bid to create a coloring book for kids on disaster preparedness. I worked really Dana hard on it, drew two cute Sullivan characters, made a song, i n clu d e d storyboards and an outline. I remember thinking, “Man, I was BORN to make this book. I’m gonna get Nov. 17-18, 2016 the gig!”

ARA Literacy Conference


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I didn’t. I was really upset. Not just sad, but mad. And that surprised me. They say we should put our emotions into our work, so I did. Ozzie is a little blue dog who is the best artist in his kindergarten class, but doesn’t pay enough attention to the instructions. He loses the art contest but goes on to teach the class how to have fun, even in failure. You’d think I’d learn from Ozzie, but I’m still plagued by fear of failure. I’m a procrastinator, which I think is a fear of putting something on paper that isn’t very good. I believe that there is no such thing as writer’s block, just an inside critic who won’t allow us to write anything that’s not pure gold. So we write nothing at all. The secret, which isn’t a secret at all, is to vomit your ideas onto the page and just keep going, going, going. You’ll have time to get the mop later and edit to your heart’s content. You might even find that your mess isn’t as stinky as you originally thought. But failure should be the last thing on your mind when creating. Bad idea? Really? Maybe it’s a great idea! Go for it without judgment and see where it takes you. Every picture book starts out with a book dummy, with your text and very loose sketches of your story. The rougher the sketches the better, because, trust me, you’ll be revising those sketches. The more time you spend on them, the less willing you are to revise or trash them. Are they failures? No, they’re the first steps on the path to final sketches. When I ask elementary school kids how many of them like to draw, almost every hand goes up. When I ask the

adults in the room if they liked to draw when they were kids, almost all their hands go up. But when I ask how many are still drawing, most adult hands go down. I saw a lot of kids stop drawing when I was in the 5th grade. I think that’s when we all started to notice who was good at what and started comparing ourselves to them. Nobody likes to be a “failure,” so we move on to something we are good at or really like doing. I teach adult classes in picture book and graphic novel illustration. Many of my students have not drawn anything since elementary school and are pretty nervous about showing their work to the rest of the class. To loosen them up, I assign a lot of speed exercises. I’ll set my timer for two minutes and tell them to draw a kid riding an animal. They always want more time, but then I give them one minute to draw the animal riding on the kid. Then, I give them 30 seconds to draw it again. What’s amazing is that the 30-second sketch is usually the best. It’s full of energy, has only the essential elements in it and, for obvious reasons, does not look overworked. We play a lot with watercolors, brushes, and ink pens. Everything we do, I tell them, is just practice and can be tossed as soon as they are done, which will only be in about five minutes anyway. How good can you expect to be in five minutes? Not very, so don’t worry about it. The thing is, sometimes this is their best work. They are having fun and not worrying about failing because WE’RE JUST PLAYING. I love to have them draw with twigs dipped in ink. No pencil sketches, just dip the twig and start drawing. How can they be expected to Continued on page 9

Linda Dorn Professor/Director UALR Center for Literacy Author of Seven Books ARA Conf. Keynote Speaker Jeff Anderson Author/Speaker Mechanically Inclined

Save the Date!

Tentative Schedule Wednesday, Nov. 16 5:00 - 8:00 PM - Registration

Valerie Ellery Author: Creating Strategic Readers

Alan Gratz Young Adult Author Something Rotten

Margaret Peterson Haddix Children’s/Youth Adult Author Running out of Time

Rebecca Harper Professor University of South Carolina

Brad Herzog Children and Adult Author Published with Rigby and Sports Illustrated Kids.

John Hollan Author/Photographer The Adventures of the Starfish Family

Denice McConduit Children’s Author The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read

44thLiteracy Annual Conference

Arkansas Reading Association November 17-18, 2016 Marriot/Statehouse Convention Center

Thursday, Nov. 17 7:30: 8:30: 11:00: 12:30: 12:45: 4:45:

Registration begins. Breakouts begin. General Session Ticketed Luncheon Breakouts continue Children’s Book Awards

Friday, Nov. 18 7:30: 8:00: 9:45: 11:00: 1:30:

Registration continues Breakouts begin Customized Keynotes Breakouts continues Luncheon with Haddix

Available on ARA Website: ARA Conference Proposal Form Deadline to submit a proposal is May 1. Registration Forms Membership Info

Marilyn Pryle Teacher/Author 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities Jewell Parker Rhodes Professor/Author Towers Falling/Ninth Ward

Jennifer Serravallo Author The Reading Strategies Book Michael Shoulders Author Reading IS Magic!

Dana Sullivan Writer/Illustrator Digger and Daisy

William H. Teale President International Literacy Association

William Van Cleave Author/Consultant Writing Matters

Anya Wallach Creator/Entrepreneur The Random Farms Kids Theater ~ Page 5 ~

Interpersonal to Independent Success...continued from page 1.

This process of learning can be in 
 the form Valerie of teachers Ellery interacting with students ARA Literacy to students Conference Speaker e d u c a t i n g AND one another Friday t h r o u g h collaboration. Customized This structure Keynote of learning is crucial to Nov. 17-18, 2016 constructing knowledge and preparing for the 21st Century workforce, where communication and collaboration with others is key for success. Collaborate is derived from the Latin word collaborare, which means to labor together. When we interact to bring meaning to the text, it can be considered a “labor of love towards learning.” According to, collaborate means “to work jointly with others or together especially an intellectual endeavor.” In the English Language Arts Common Core Standards, one of the goals is to develop collaboration and argumentative strategies to prepare students for the workforce (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices [NGA Center] & Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2010). This form of instruction fosters self-discipline and application of responsive behavior. Major studies demonstrate the importance of collaboration in business, even going so far as pointing to collaboration as one of the indicators of a company’s overall performance (Williams, 2009). In fact, IBM named collaboration
as the most sought-after skill cited
by CEOs when interviewing a prospective candidate. Williams (2009) stated, “Although Americans view themselves as a nation of selfsufficient individuals, in reality much of the work they do is accomplished
in collaboration with others” (p. 4). The Common Core understands ~ Page 6 ~

the nature of developing the skills of conversation and collaboration with diverse partners and has embedded
it throughout the Speaking and Listening standards to ensure a strong, effective College and Career Ready student. Collaborative learning scaffolds, supports, guides, and empowers the learner to interact with others, so the learner becomes more self-directed, rather than just telling and directing towards rote, solitary learning. As Mascolo (2009) wrote, “Self-regulation develops within relationships with active, guiding and authoritative adults; it does not arise spontaneously from within the developing individual” (p. 11). Top 10 Proficient Collaborating Indicators 1. Shares knowledge (teacher– student, student–student) 2. Demonstrates active engagement and contribution 3. Shares a sense of trust and pride for accomplishments 4. Creates a community that values the views of others and reconciles differences 5. Cooperates and sustains attention towards a goal 6. Yields a position or modifies opinions—clarifies or challenges opinions 7. Participates in open and meaningful dialogue 8. Engages in creative and critical thinking 9. Integrates ideas and a sense of belonging 10. Shares roles and responsibility In Creating Strategic Readers’ techniques, I often use an inquirybased model 
to activate meaningful discussions among students (i.e., Anticipation/Reaction Guides, Questioning Logs, Frame This). Inquiry helps to provide opportunities for my students to collaboratively build, examine, assess, and reflect on their learning. Inquiry gives a foundation for wonder and exploration. This wonder activates the students’ background

knowledge and can also build schema, helping them to think about what they have previously known on a topic, sparks an interest into what they want to know, which makes for a smooth transition into collaboration with their peers in their learning, and gives them foundation to spring forward with their learning. It is important to keep in mind as you implement this type 
of collaborative learning, that in order for a student to be college and career ready they will need to be able to move beyond just rote memory of information. They will need to defend their reasoning with evidence and share their findings with their peers. Collaboration is crucial! I look forward to sharing these techniques, and many more with you this year at your annual conference. Mark your calendars now and let’s plan to collaborate together as we continue learning effective ways to lift our students’ levels of thinking through a unique twist on the gradual release of responsibility model!

Excerpts from Ellery’s work: Ellery, V. (2014). Creating strategic readers: Techniques for supporting rigorous literacy instruction (3rd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association: Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Ellery, V. (2013). Crafting the art of collaboration. Engage Article from IRA E-ssentials. Newark, DE. International Reading Association. Ellery, V., Oczkus, L., Rasinski, T. (2015) Literacy Strong All Year Long. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Ellery has dedicated 25+ years to the field of education in various roles as a National Board Certified Teacher, Curriculum Specialist, Mentor, Reading Coach, International Educational Consultant and best-selling author. Her books Creating Strategic Readers 3rd Edition (International Literacy Association (ILA) 2005, 2009, & ILA & Shell 2014) & Sustaining Strategic Readers (ILA, 2010) have been used internationally in classrooms and universities to inspire educators to motivate and engage today’s learners. In addition, she co-authored two secondary curriculums in the area of self worth and human trafficking: Bodies Are Not Commodities (A21, 2014) and ShineHope (Hillsong, 2014), which will impact young adults in 37 Nations.

Author Brings Performing Arts intohisthe Classroom By Anya Wallach eyebrows were knit together as he I’m so looking forward to sharing my ideas about how to incorporate the performing arts into the classroom with fellow educators. My new book series, Stagestruck, coauthored with Lisa Fiedler, is based on my real-life experiences of starting a theater as a teenager. Here are a couple of scenes from the opening of Book 1: “Curtain Up!”: “Okay, everybody,” said Daria, swinging her thick auburn braid and smiling around at the 22 of us who’d come to try out for the team. “Coach says we can wrap it up. Awesome job today! As you know, we can pick only six new girls for next year. The new team members will be posted outside the gym first thing tomorrow morning. Good luck, you guys!” With that, Daria and her glittering circle of athletically gifted besties turned and sauntered back to the school building. The other candidates broke into groups and pairs and walked off, chattering excitedly about what they thought their chances were of making the team. A couple of girls turned to peek at me over their shoulders and chuckle. I wanted to dig a hole right in the middle of the center circle and crawl in. “Don’t worry about it,” said Becky, reading my mind as she hoisted her hot pink, glitter-encrusted gym bag onto her shoulder. “By tomorrow everyone will forget what happened.” “Which part?” I grumbled. “The part where I fell on my face, or the part where I had to spit grass clippings out of my mouth?” “Both,” Becky assured me with a smile. I seriously doubted it, and Becky could tell from my expression. “Well, if they don’t,” she continued, “it’s no big deal. Tomorrow’s the last day of school anyway, and once the roster’s posted, nobody will give the soccer team

a second thought until September.” Becky would make the team, no question. She was that flawless combination of girly-girl and superjock (did I mention the glittery gym bag?), and half the boys in school had crushes on her. My best friend was basically a perfect human being, which, when you were twelve, was the kind of thing that either totally impressed you—or made you sick to your stomach. If I were going to be truthful about it, I’d have to say in my case, it was a little of both. “Too bad there’s no middle-school theater program,” she said with a sigh. “That would be great for you.” “Yeah,” I grumbled. “It’s not fair that the sporty kids in our school have a whole list of teams to choose from,” I said. “And the leadership-types have student council, and there’s even a science club and a chess club, but there’s no drama club.” “That’s why I suggested they start one,” Austin said glumly. “But you heard Mrs. Warde. The school board cannot presently”—he gestured sarcastically with air quotes — “ ‘allocate the necessary funds’ for that kind of thing.” “Well, I’m not sure what ‘allocate funds’ means,” I admitted with a grin, “but if it’s anything like shelling out the cash, don’t worry about it. The club I’m thinking about has nothing to do with the school board. Or even with school, for that matter.” He frowned. “I don’t understand.” I took a deep breath. “What if we put on a play ourselves?” I said, hoping to sound excited, capable, and confident all at once. “By ourselves. And not just any play, your play. Right away. This summer.” “This summer?” “Yes! Who needs some out-of-touch school board when we can put on your play ourselves? And if it goes well, we can do another one. And another one. . .” I forced myself to stop. I didn’t want him to think I was the type who got carried away. Austin took a long sip of his drink;

mulled this over. Finally he said, “How would we do this?” “Well, I haven’t actually gotten that far yet,” I confessed. “The idea just came to me this afternoon, somewhere between my crash-and-burn soccer tryout and your conversation with Mrs. Warde. But c’mon, you’ve got to admit—it’s tempting, isn’t it? We can cast it ourselves, produce it, and advertise for it. . .I bet lots of people will want to see a world-premiere play by a local playwright.” I could tell he was flattered. “I like the way you think,” he said with a crooked grin. The grin made my cheeks feel warm. “Thanks.” “I want this to be an actual theater. Our own real theater, except kids do everything. Act, direct, choreograph,”—I pointed to him with my straw—“write and compose!” “That sounds amazing,” said Austin. “There’s just one small problem with that last part. I haven’t finished writing the play yet.” “Oh,” I frowned. “Well, you get straight As in English, don’t you? So, how long can it take?” Will Anya recover from the humiliation of flubbing the soccer try-outs? Will she and Austin get their theater off the ground? I hope educators recognize in Anya the same desire that their students have to find a place they can fit in, and something they can be good at. Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how theater can transform lives. Motivated by the Anya changes I’ve seen in the performers Wallach with whom I have worked, I have designed a presentation that will include many practical approaches to help any educator to shine the spotlight on their students. Nov. 17-18, 2016 See you in November!

ARA Literacy Conference


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Reading Response Activities Aligned with the Common Core Marilyn Pryle You’ve taught students to read closely, to annotate, to discuss—now what? How can we get kids to interact with texts in creative ways that require an even higher level of understanding? Here, I’ll share four of my favorite postreading reader-response activities. 1. Concrete Found Poems I’m combining two poetic forms here: the “concrete” or shaped poem that middle school students are probably very familiar with, and the “found” poem, which they may not know. Each is a legitimate form in its own right; each can be done with sophistication and deeper meaning. Combining them can push students’ thinking and analysis to a higher level. To create a concrete found poem, students must only use words, phrases or even whole sentences “found” in their text. Then, they must shape these words into a visual representation on paper. They are not drawing; they must arrange the words, phrases, or sentences into an image on the page. Students can create concrete found poems about a character, setting, or theme (using a symbol for the concrete structure). They should turn in not only the finished image but also a sheet with the cited words, phrases, or sentences they used to create the image. I require a minimum of ten of these. To the right are some examples using the stories of Prometheus and King Arthur. 2. Postcard Home Most main characters embark on a journey of some kind; this archetypal plot pattern lends itself to a postcard home activity. Have students write in the voice of a journeying character. You could designate a specific recipient or have students choose their own. Here are some questions to get students thinking: Postcard Brainstorming Questions With these questions, students must summarize, Where are you? infer, evaluate, and predict—all in the voice of a character, Do you like it? Why or why not? which demonstrates a high level of comprehension What has happened to you so far? (one or two sentences) with the story. On the front of their postcard, students What are you struggling with? should, of course, draw a picture. For a variation, you What have you learned so far, about yourself or others? could give students pictures you select beforehand, What will you do? and have them choose a relevant sender and recipient. How do you feel about the recipient? 3. Character To-Do List We all have many things Marilyn we want to accomplish in the near and far future, and characters are no different! Tell students to Pryle choose a character from the text—or you can assign characters so all the characters are represented. Challenge them to get inside that ARA Literacy character’s head to create a to-do list. Conference Speaker They can think about questions in the Character To-Do List Brainstorming Questions AND box to the right. What does he or she have to do on a daily basis? Students should use actual information What does the character want to do or achieve? from the text, of course, but urge them to What are the character’s responsibilities? also infer information and supply text What are the character’s goals? evidence to support their inferences. It Nov. 17-18, 2016 Where does the character have to go? helps to set a minimum number of tasks, Whom does the character need to speak to? such as ten. You can suggest that if a

Friday Customized Keynote

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Fear and Failure in the Studio...continued from page 4 make decent art with an inky stick? It drips and splatters and really makes a mess. But when I have them line their illustrations up for a class critique, they are amazed at the joyful, lively art they have created. Many end up in their final book dummies or graphic novels. We all know it’s easier to give advice than to take it, especially when it’s our own. I still freeze up when I see a blank sheet of paper or canvas. What if I have run out of stories or can no longer draw? Maybe I never could and folks have just been humoring me. On my good days, I’ll just dive in with what my second grade teacher friend calls my “sloppy copy” to get started. I tell myself that if I get a page done, I can have some peanut butter with the dog, who really wants me to hurry up and

always loves my work. The fun you have making the art really comes through on the page, so the fun isn’t just a suggestion, it’s required. And, as I tell my students, “We are making children’s books. If we’re not having fun, we’re doing it wrong!” Fear is always there somewhere in the background. I can’t erase it completely, so I try to play with it. Someone said, “You don’t want to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, just make them fly in formation.” Those butterflies keep you on your toes, sometimes spark creativity and make you want to do your best. Thinking of fear as another word for creativity helps, too. Your latest idea may not have worked, but maybe it will lead you to one that will. That splatter isn’t right for

this illustration, but it gives me an idea for another. And hey, now that I look at it, I think that splatter is just perfect. So, go ahead and fail. And have fun doing it. Dana Sullivan is the writer and illustrator of Ozzie and the Art Contest and Kay Kay’s Alphabet Safari and is the illustrator of the Digger and Daisy, an early reader series. He teaches picture book and graphic novel illustration in the Seattle area, where he lives with his sweet wife and their dog Bennie, who is a reluctant reader. Dana is supposed to be working on a graphic novel right now. He hopes to tell you more about it at the ARA’s 44th Annual Literacy Conference on November 17-18.

Reading Response Activities...continued from page 8.

character has a large goal on the list, that goal can be broken down into smaller tasks. For example, if a character’s goal is to “win karate tournament,” smaller steps might include, “Practice 2 hours a day” and “Watch opponents compete.” This activity will measure students’ comprehension, their understanding of a character’s underlying motives, their ability to draw inferences from existing information, and their ability to predict a character’s future actions. For an extra challenge, have students cite the pages containing information from which they drew inferences. To the right is an example using Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. 4. Write a Twitter Conversation Students love this! Have them work in partners to rewrite part of the text as a Twitter conversation among the characters. They do not have to actually use Twitter; they can just write out the conversation on paper. This is not merely a summarizing activity—deeper understandings can surface with this exercise. For example, students’ choices of Twitter handles for each character may reveal character traits; their use of hashtags could express inferences about personalities and themes. I am always amazed at the humor and wit of the students when we do this activity, and the students themselves are often gasping with laughter by the end of it. To the right is a Twitter conversation between Daedalus, Icarus, and the shepherd that saw them flying. Applying real-word literacy practices, like Twitter chats and To-Do Lists and in-class texts, engages students and deepens understanding. For more ideas, or to view full assignment sheets and rubric possibilities for the assignments suggested here, please see my latest book 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities (Scholastic, 2014). Marilyn Pryle is the author of five books with Scholastic, including 50 Reading Response Activities Aligned with the Common Core

and Writing Workshop in Middle School. She currently teaches 10th grade English at Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, PA, and speaks often at conferences and institutes. She can be reached at

Save the Date! - 44th Annual Literacy Conference - November 17-18 ~ Page 9 ~

Call for Manuscripts for ARA’s The Reader Guidelines The Reader is the scholarly journal of the Arkansas Reading Association. It is designed to serve as a resource for all Arkansas reading teachers. The Editors are looking for manuscripts that take as their topic issues relating to literacy in primary thru secondary education. It is the hope of the editorial board that reports of quality research and practice will be published from schools within the state of Arkansas and the nation. Submitted manuscripts might take the form of (but are not strictly limited to) original empirical articles, theoretical analyses, literature reviews, and reports of successful practices in education. Each issue of The Reader features emerging research of special interest to Arkansas reading teachers. Abstracts of Action Research Studies (conducted by students at Arkansas Universities). Full text articles may be found here: The-Reader. Manuscript Submissions Authors should follow the guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (current ed.) when preparing manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot exceed 1800 words, including references, tables, and figures. In addition to email addresses, web site address, and fax numbers if available, authors should include physical addresses and telephone numbers as well. Authors should also list two to five key words to identify the contents of their paper. Submit manuscripts in Microsoft Word format, via email to the address below: ~ Page 10 ~

Tammy Gillmore, Editor

Focus on Research Full text versions of these action research studies can be found at

Does the BURST Reading Intervention Program Improve Scores? Taylor Columbus Graduate Student University of Central AR Over the course of ten weeks, research has been collected on a select group of students who were struggling in the area the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment. The teachers at CH Elementary provided intervention 30 minutes a day, five days a week and monitored progress in the recommended areas every 7-10 days.

This program was purchased by the school in hopes of improving literacy scores in all students with the use of research-based intervention. This research project involved five students who were considered “below” or “well-below” benchmark at the conclusion of their beginning of the year assessment of the DIBELS test. The results of this project showed growth in all students in all areas, proving that the BURST: Reading Intervention Program does help to improve literacy scores.

Rachel Wise Graduate Student University of Arkansas The purpose of this study was to address the research question: “Does multisensory method instruction improve alphabetic knowledge?” The study was conducted in a kindergarten general education classroom with nineteen students. The intervention consisted of teaching two different sensory methods. The first group was taught using the graphic trace sensory method and learned to trace 13 target letters using their fingers on a printed letter card. The second group was taught using the kinesthetic trace sensory method and learned to trace the target letters using their fingers on the surface of the table. Both groups vocalized each letter’s sound while tracing in order to stimulate multiple sensory information processing. A third group received regular alphabetic instruction from the

classroom teacher and served as the control. Alphabetic knowledge was measured through scores obtained from administration of the Head Start Alphabetic Knowledge Assessment before and after the four-week intervention. Each student’s change in score from pre to post-test was recorded then analyzed using ANOVA to determine significant differences among groups. Results of ANOVA indicated no significant difference in alphabetic knowledge gain for any group (F=1.93, p=0.177) due in part to the ceiling effect and the relatively small sample size. Though neither intervention was found to have statistically significant effects, it was noted that two participants did not make gains. They were part of the control group, suggesting students might benefit from additional, multisensory instruction in the area of alphabetic instruction.

Multisensory Methods and Alphabetic Knowledge in a Kindergarten Classroom

Check out ARA’s Blog by Alyson here:

Perceived Literacy Skills of “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants” in One Teacher Preparation Program Linda Eilers, Ph.D. Tracey Crowe, Ed.D. Angela Elsass, Ed.D. Heather Kindall, Ph.D. Professors of Literacy

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

This study investigated the perceived literacy skills of “digital natives” (those born during or after the rise of digital technology) and “digital immigrants” (those born before the advent of digital technology). The intent was to determine the familiarity with perceived skills and frequency of use related to web interactive, technical oriented, social interactive, game oriented, and work oriented technologies of “natives” and “immigrants.” One hundred eleven teacher candidates and teacher education faculty were surveyed to determine their perceptions about levels of use and skills regarding five categories of technology.

A survey with questions related to categories based on use of web 2.0 tools (web interactive), audio and video editing tools (technicaloriented), online resources or word processing/presentation software tools (work-oriented), social networking tools (social interactive), and gaming consoles (game-oriented) was administered through a web-based, interactive questionnaire format. Ninety-nine pre-service teachers and 12 teacher education faculty responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 94 self-identified as digital natives and 17 self-identified as immigrants. A two-sample t-test assuming unequal variances revealed a significant difference in perceived skills between the natives and immigrants. The immigrants scored significantly higher on levels of technology skills than the natives. However, there was no significance difference between natives’ and immigrants’ self-reported levels of

Effects of Using Data to Set Goals for Growth

Brooke Fruits, Graduate Student - University of Central AR Struggling learners are often more successful at achieving learning growth when a specific goal is set in place with measureable outcomes. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using assessment data to set student determined learning goals with the end result being reading achievement. For the study, a group of first grade students were selected and assessed to determine what areas of weakness they had in their reading knowledge. Then learning goals were set with the student based on the assessment data collected. Student selected learning goals were found to impact the students’ reading achievement during the study.

Book Talks and Impact on Male Students

By Jason Campbell, Graduate Student - University of Central AR Given the fact that boys are lagging behind girls in measures of reading achievement and interest in reading (OECD, 2011), the aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher-led book talks on the interest in reading of adolescent boys. For the study, a group of 51 fifth graders were surveyed and then exposed to four weeks of book talks. After a second survey, changes in interest were reported. Book talks were found to have an impact on boys’ interest in reading, though girls were found to have been affected more.

Read the latest and archived ARA News here at

use of technology. Descriptive statistics revealed more knowledge and use of search engines, electronic libraries, Moodle, and email by immigrants than natives; more knowledge and use of all technical oriented tools by immigrants, especially digital storytelling; almost identical use of work-oriented tools between groups; nearly identical use of social media tools, with immigrants scoring slightly higher on Skype use, natives scoring slightly higher on WhatsApp use, and natives born after 1991 scoring notably higher on GroupMe use. There were mixed results on the reported use of game oriented technology tools. Natives reported using gaming systems slightly more than immigrants, but slightly less than immigrants on use of BrainPop. These results seem to contradict the common perception that immigrants struggle more than natives to adapt to the rise of digital technology.


ARKANSAS LITERACY TEACHER EDUCATORS A special interest group of the Arkansas Reading Association, this group offers a forum for graduate and undergraduate students to present research or class projects at the annual Arkansas Literacy Conference.

Anyone interested in specifically supporting literacy teacher education or literacy in general is encouraged to join. Please contact Linda H. Eilers ( ) or Shoudong Feng ( ~ Page 11 ~



Arkansas Reading Association

THE READER 3450 Clearwell Road Conway, AR 72034

Reasons to Attend Arkansas’ Premiere Literacy Conference:



1. Purchase latest book releases and products 2. Receive Professional Development Hours 3. Learn ways to impact your literacy instruction 4. Network with professionals from across the state and nation 5. Meet favorite children’s, young adult, and professional development authors

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Save the Date!

ARA's The Reader Spring 2016  
ARA's The Reader Spring 2016  

The yearly publication of the Arkansas Reading Association's journal of featured writers and researched articles.