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Volume 48 Issue 1 Fall 2019

Promoting Literacy

Review Board 2019-2020 Michelle Greene Indiana University Indianapolis Tina O’Neal Indiana University Sary Silvhiany Indiana University Christy Wessel-Powell Purdue University

Indiana State Literacy Association Executive Board 2019-2020

Journal of the Indiana State Literacy Association An affiliate of the International Literacy Association Editors Sharon Daley, Ph.D. Indiana University Breanya Hogue, Doctoral Student Indiana University

Rachel Armstrong Chair of the Board Rachal Oldaker Chair Elect Carolyn Sleet Vice Chair Julie McCoy ILA Coordinator Jeremy Leazenby Bruce Treasurer Sharon Pratt Secretary Stephanie Lueckenhoff Membership Members-at-Large Ben Boche Edith Campbell Heidi Grimshaw Nicole Fender Holly Wright Juanita Oberley Kristin Patrick Past President 2

Volume 48 Issue 1 Fall 2019

CONTENTS Join ILA Find out more information about ILA and why you should become a member.

A Letter from the President Learn about what Rachel Armstrong has been working on & upcoming plans for our association.

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A Letter from the Editors A welcome from our editors & encouragement to submit manuscripts for future issues.


CONTENTS Call for manuscripts YOU can write for the journal.

Check for understanding: The Case for Formative Assessment Diane S. Maletta

Encouraging mathematics and literacy learning through bookmaking Ryan A. Nivens, Jamie Price, Erin Doran, Noell Howe, Kayla Knupp & Edward J. Dwyer

Car talks: Strategies to enhance parent and child communication Gina Berridge, Stacey Kewon, & Jill Raisor

Indiana Science trade book annual reading list (IN-STAR): Engaging readers through science Jeff Thomas, Joyce Gulley, Kristin Reardon, & Amy Broemmel 3






Book Covers reprinted with permissions p. 37 From THE BRILLIANT DEEP Š2018 by Kate Messner. Illustrations by Matthew Forsythe. Used with permission from Chronicle Books, LLC. Visit www.ChronicleB p. 38 The Bee Book used with permission from DK Publishing p. 39 National Parks of the USA used with permission of The Quatro Group

Let’s work together to advance literacy for all!

International Literacy Association


CHAPTERS AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS ■ Connect with a community of literacy champions at our conference and on social media ■ Enjoy a member discount on your next conference ■ Get revitalizing resources • ILA Essentials: Quick-read articles with practical teaching techniques • ILA Bridges: Standards-based literacy modules with step-by-step lesson planning guides • Only members are able to subscribe to ILA journals: The Reading Teacher: The most popular journal for educators of students up to age 12 Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy: The ONLY literacy-focused journal for educators of older learners Reading Research Quarterly: The leading global journal offering multidisciplinary scholarship on literacy among learners of all ages


Literacy Today: Our bimonthly magazine that covers the latest literacy education trends and ILA news

Members receive discounts of up to 35% on top titles from leading PD publishers


Help us transform the world! 4

Letter from the ISLA President Hello all! My name is Rachel Armstrong. I am the Chair of the Board for ISLA (Indiana State Literacy Association) until the end of June 2020. My goals for ISLA are to grow as an organization by spreading awareness of our organization and councils and by creating partnerships with organizations and people with similar interests. We have lowered our state fees this year and will be giving back to our councils and through projects to promote lifelong literacy. I want to extend a welcome to any individual or organization that shares and promotes of love of literacy in Indiana. I believe that we need to unite our efforts and manpower to support Indiana in its areas of need in all stages. Education does not solely happen in our schools. We should model and provide services to all. We are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusive practices within ourselves and our association. I encourage anyone interested in joining the association or the executive board to reach out to us. This year ISLA celebrates our 55th year as an association. In the fall of 1963, Dr. William Powell of Ball State University met in Muncie with representatives from four local reading councils: Ft. Wayne, Evansville, Indianapolis, and Gary. They met to form a statewide reading organization, the Indiana State Council. Edith James became the first president in 1964. We honor and celebrate all past members and officers. I am very excited to share my love of literacy and my commitment to give back with all of you. Sincerely, Rachel Armstrong


Letter from the Editors Hello ISLA, We want to welcome you to the Fall 2019 edition. We extend a special thank you to all the authors who contributed to this edition. We are hopeful you will find their articles helpful in your daily literacy instruction. Our authors address issues and ideas that you could put into practice right away in your own classrooms. Diane Maletta and her graduate students have created an interesting guide to formative assessment. Their article details many different strategies that will help you understand your students’ learning and decide how to move forward in their instruction. Jamie Price led a group of her colleagues in creating a guide to combining your mathematics instruction with literacy through bookmaking. They, too, have included specific ideas and steps (complete with pictures) so you can begin bookmaking in your own math class right away. Jill Raisor, Gina Berridge, and Stacy Kewon have written an informative article on unique ways to engage families of kindergarten students in Car Talks to encourage “rich and meaningful [conversations] in the car going home or during any time where there is an opportunity to engage in dialogue”. Finally, we welcome back Jeff Thomas, Joyce Gulley, Kristen Rearden, and Amy Broemmel with another wonderful list of books we can use in our classrooms that highlight interesting and exciting science concepts. Like these professionals, we encourage you to submit a manuscript for consideration in the journal. You can submit teaching ideas for literacy development based on sound theory and research. Other types of submissions including teaching tips, strategy suggestions, and technology tools are encouraged. Multimedia is welcomed since this journal is published as an e-text. Your Editors, Sharon Daley & Breanya Hogue


YOU can write for the Indiana Literacy Journal The Indiana Literacy Journal needs your contributions to make the journal great! We are seeking submissions related to all areas of literacy and encourage teacher voices. Guidelines for Submission Full-length articles should run no more than 6,000 words (including main text and references) and should provide readers, who are mostly practitioners, with classroom ideas for literacy development, based on sound theory and research. Other types of submissions, including teaching tips, strategy suggestions, technology tools, are welcome. As this journal is published as an e-text, multimedia (images, video, audio, etc.) is encouraged. Submissions should be sent electronically to Sharon Daley at The author(s) must agree that the submitted manuscript is original work and not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Manuscripts should include a complete title on the first page, but no identification of the author or affiliation should appear in the title or elsewhere in the submitted manuscript. Use “author� to ensure submitted version is a blind copy. Be sure to adhere to APA 7th edition guidelines. Manuscripts are peer reviewed and editors reserve the right to edit all copy. Each article is sent to at least two members of the editorial advisory board for review and recommendations to the editors. Manuscripts are evaluated in terms of interest, quality of writing, appropriate documentation of ideas, uniqueness, and needs of the journal. Please contact the editors with any questions. In order to be considered for publication in the Spring 2020 issue of the Indiana Literacy Journal, manuscripts must be received by January 17, 2020. Send all submissions electronically in Microsoft Word format via email to Sharon Daley at



So much testing time…. so little teaching time. “Testing is not teaching. How can reading, learning, or any other aspect of curriculum be improved if there is such a significant loss of teaching time?” (Graves, 2002, pgs. 2-3). Teachers certainly can relate to this duress in recent years. But what can be done about it? How do we eliminate this classroom culture of testing and teaching to the test? Donald Graves (1983) argues that formative assessments clearly are more

place. What formative assessment is and how it can be accomplished most effectively is outlined in this article. Also included are research-based best practice assessments that are easy to use and effective means of checking for students’ understanding. Increased time for these fruitful assessments is sure to yield greater learning than the inordinate amount of time spent on summative assessments in so many classrooms.

relevant to teachers’ daily lives than are summative assessments. He notes the plethora of information that a portfolio can demonstrate about student progress and learning over a period of time, which allows teachers to more effectively teach each student. Assessing is intended to be a way to assist teachers as well as students, with immediate assistance being the most advantageous for both. In a word, effective teaching naturally flows from assessment results; on a daily basis, this is formative assessment (Landrigan & Mulligan, 2013). Formative assessment is a way to assure that immediate and effective assistance takes

What is Formative Assessment? "Checking In" as Formative Assessment (E. Fleming, Classroom Video) Formative assessment occurs constantly in our classrooms, from observing students as they are completing a task at their seats, to calling on a show of hands so we might assess whether to move forward in the lesson or reteach (Figure 1).


assessment to track learning on a daily or near daily basis, give students feedback regularly, and adjust instructional strategies in a way intended to further progress toward learning goals, that teacher is engaging in formative assessment. Why Use Formative Assessment?

Figure 1. Raised hands formative assessment. So, what really is formative assessment? Essentially, formative assessment is a process rather than a product; it focuses on uncovering what and how well the student is understanding throughout the course of instruction. Laura Greenstein (2010) states, in What Teachers Really Need to Know About Formative Assessment, that formative assessment is “a systematic way for teachers and students to gather evidence of learning, engage students in assessment, and use data to improve teaching and learning” (p. 2). Others have commented on formative assessment as well. Margaret Heritage (2007) describes it as "a systematic process to continuously gather evidence about learning" (p. 140). Carol Boston (2002) explains that it is "the diagnostic use of assessment to provide feedback to teachers and students over the course of instruction" (p. 1). What makes any particular assessment formative is not the specific measuring tool employed but how and how often the information gathered from the tool is used. If a teacher uses information from a particular


Daily formative assessment can be summed up in Landrigan and Mulligan’s (2013) description of its inherent nature within a classroom: “Assessment cannot be separated from instruction. It is not an ‘addon’; it is what we do every day as teachers. The cyclical process of triangulating – analyzing, questioning, and assessing – is embedded in instruction. It is simply ‘how we teach.’ Some call it the ‘teachable moment’…” (p.72). This form of assessment and data collection is more relevant to teachers’ daily work with their students than testing or any type of summative assessment. Formative assessments do a number of things. They inform teacher instruction and provide students feedback. They provide checks for understanding in various forms. They can assist with differentiating in the classroom. They are assessments for students’ future and ongoing learning. Qualities of effective formative assessment. According to Greenstein (2010), there are three essential principles of formative assessment that must be kept in mind while creating and implementing formative assessments in lessons. 1.) Principle 1: Formative Assessments are Student Focused

2.) Principle 2: Formative Assessments are Instructionally Informative 3.) Principle 3: Formative Assessments are Outcomes-Based Formative assessments should be presented in a way that is common to students’ daily experiences with the lesson material and require information that has been explicitly taught and will display clearly what students know and understand once completed. These should not be complicated for students to complete and should address only what has been taught and practiced throughout the lesson. There are many ways to formatively assess students. In all cases, teachers are informed of students’ learning and of the need for the teacher to either move on or reteach and in some cases to do both through differentiating. Where Does Formative Assessment Fit Into Teaching? Greenstein (2010) has developed two cycles of formative assessment that may be useful in understanding the process of assessing formatively. The first cycle outlines the basic formative assessment process, beginning with the unit goal, standards, and lesson objective and continuing to the data collection and response of continued teaching and possibly re-teaching. The second cycle (Figure 2) is critical to understanding the importance of formative assessment in the process of teaching and learning.


Figure 2. Cycle of Instruction for Formative Assessment (Greenstein, 2010, p.24). This cycle focuses on a teacher’s own teaching and effective instruction which will assure that the formative assessment, at the center of the cycle, remains central to instruction. It is the formative assessment that continues to inform all next steps of instruction throughout a lesson. This cycle begins with the objective, moves on to the targeted instruction intended to meet the objective, and the continual formative assessment is informing the ongoing teaching. Thus, teaching is continually analyzed and responded to, as seen from the cycle’s arrows that are radiating from the central formative assessment. This cycle clearly allows for effective and efficient instruction to move forward when ready, and to reteach quickly when not. To align well with these cycles of formative assessment, there are specific formative assessments that are most effective. According to Fisher and Frey (as cited in Dodge, 2009, p. 4), “Formative assessments are ongoing assessments, observations, summaries, and reviews that inform teacher

instruction and provide students feedback on a daily basis”. Formative assessments often are placed into four basic categories: 1. Summaries and Reflections: Students stop and reflect, make sense of what they have heard or read, derive personal meaning

objective to be taught and information that will positively impact the new lesson. Therefore, it is important to begin the lesson with a formative assessment in order to determine student knowledge and skill level, guide teacher planning, and prepare students for learning. (Greenstein, 2010):

from their learning experiences, and/or increase their metacognitive skills. These require that students use content-specific language. 2. Lists, Charts, and Graphic Organizers: Students organize information, make connections, and note relationships through the use of various graphic organizers. 3. Visual Representations: Students use both words and pictures to make connections and increase memory, later facilitating retrieval of information. This “dual coding” helps teachers address classroom diversity, preferences in learning style, and different ways of “knowing.” 4. Collaborative Activities: Students have the opportunity to move and/or communicate with others as they develop and demonstrate their understandings. (Dodge, 2009, p.5) All four of these categories of formative assessment may be utilized at various stages of lessons – before lessons, during lessons, and after lessons. Some examples of common usage times for the four categories above are described in the following paragraphs. Before-Lesson Formative Assessment Examples Before a new lesson begins, the teacher

Some common formative assessments to administer before a new lesson:

seeks students’ prior knowledge of the 11

KWL Chart –This chart organizes a discussion that culminates in lists of the following: what we know – what we want to know – what was learned (this section to be completed

Figure 3. KWL Chart. ● Bell Work/Warm-up/Do Now – This might ask students to state in a sentence or two what they already know about the topic of this new lesson about to be taught to them.

Figure 5. PollEverywhere. Figure 4. Post-It Note Formative Assessment. ● Post-It Notes – This can be approached much the same as the bell work, but the sticky note formative assessment often asks students to carry it to a chart or board (Figure 4) to place in the area where the teacher can announce these and thus begin the new lesson, now seeing much of what the students already know about this topic. ● PollEverywhere – This is an app used to electronically measure student knowledge prior to a lesson so the teacher is aware of student knowledge on the lesson objective. Students use their own device to complete the poll set up by the teacher. This usually takes only a minute or two so it is a quick way to determine prior knowledge (Figure 5).


During-Lesson Formative Assessment Examples During the teaching of lessons, teachers often take time to check for students’ understanding of what they are teaching. They want to be sure students are attentive and learning as they scaffold knowledge and understandings they are teaching them at each step. These checks for understanding are various types of formative assessments. These are critical components of lessons in that they guide teachers in the direction their teaching should go. Although they may have thought their class would comprehend a certain point easily, when they observe otherwise, by way of formative assessment, they are able to take a different direction to assure student understanding. This is then followed by another check for understanding. Thus, goes the cycle of formative assessment. While teaching a lesson, teachers use formative assessments during instruction for a number of reasons such as to determine class progress and individual achievement, to benchmark student learning, to provide immediate feedback, and to support selfassessment (Greenstein, 2010).

Some common formative assessments administered during a lesson are: 1. Thumb checks to show understanding (thumb up), lack of (thumb down), or a questionable understanding (thumb horizontal). Clarification or re-teaching can then be done quickly if necessary (Figure 6).

formative assessment when the teacher sees mostly green raised, as students are not looking at other whiteboards for answers (Figure 7).

Figure 7. White Board Formative Assessment. Figure 6. Thumb Check Formative Assessment. 2. White Board Check for students to reveal their answer to a problem or question. The teacher can determine from this quick check whether the majority of students are accurately understanding the knowledge or skill being taught. a. A twist on this common formative assessment has been utilized with success by teachers: Green Means Go Boards- utilize a page protector with one side having computer paper and the other side having a green piece of paper. Students write their answer on the white paper side and raise the opposite side (green) to indicate they’re ready to share their answers. This allows for a more accurate


3. Red light, green light cards for students to show that they agree or not with a check for understanding the teacher is initiating (Figure 8).

Figure 8. Red–Yellow–Green Light Formative Assessment. 4. Electronic response system - clickers to check if most of the class is following and understanding the lesson instruction so teaching can continue, or there is a need to reteach some part of the lesson.

5. Additional formative assessments that may be utilized during a lesson are: ● Google Form to gauge questions or clarifications. ● Student desks for students to write answers to formative assessment questions with Expo/Dry Erase Marker; this is fun for students to do and erases/washes off easily! ● Teacher Table 1:1 time allows for a closer look at the learning of all students, keeping the teacher accountable and providing students the opportunity to have enhanced attention. Post-Lesson Formative Assessment Examples After a lesson is complete, a formative assessment is given to check that the lesson objective has been met and it is appropriate to move on to the next lesson. This check is often a more formal check for understanding that may be graded, as it assesses the entire lesson. Post-lesson formative assessments are utilized for many reasons such as identifying any gaps left in the lesson objective and thus selecting individual interventions, determining learning that did occur, and providing time for students to thoughtfully reflect on the knowledge or skills gained. Some common formative assessments administered after lessons are: 1. Exit tickets to check that students have learned the lesson objective (Figure 9).


Figure 9. Exit Ticket - Post-It. 2. Quiz to determine knowledge gained during a lesson to determine if students met the lesson objective (Figure 10).

Figure 10. Post-Lesson Assessment – Quiz.


3. Illustrator for students to provide a picture illustrating the topic being studied (i.e. postit, half sheet, comic strip). 4. Web/graphic organizer that will assess the

lesson objective in a more visual manner (Figure 11).

more consistent in tracking reading and math fluency. This is the most influential form of assessment I use to inform my instruction and lesson planning. M. Welsh (personal communication, September 18, 2018) describes a similar “during-lesson formative assessment:” I've been trying to use self-assessment strategies, too! My kids like the 'show me five' (how well do you know what we're doing, one being "I am so confused" and five being "I could teach it").

Figure 11. Post-Lesson Formative Assessment – Graphic Organizer. Real Teachers’ Favorite Formative Assessments A teacher often has a go-to formative assessment that is a favorite to use before, during, or after a lesson. A few teachers were asked to share their favorites in a Course Blog Discussion (9/18/18) directed by this author. The following examples are intended to assist other teachers in their implementation of formative assessments. For a “during-lesson formative assessment,” S. Doyle (personal communication,

When asked about her overall preferred formative assessment, O. Barry (personal communication, September 18, 2018) shared one that may be used before, during, and after a lesson. Figure 12 displays a photograph of one of her students utilizing the small whiteboard along with a description of its use. Teachers who have these to use in their classrooms will often use them as their “goto” method to assess formatively. The students enjoy them a lot too!

September 18, 2018) shares her favorite I am a big fan of having students use their fingers to indicate their level of understanding throughout a lesson or even when directions are given. This is a really quick way for me to gather a lot of information. One thing I am hoping to refine this year is my use of progress monitoring. More specifically, I am looking to be much


Figure 12. A Teacher’s Favorite Formative Assessment – Small White Board Check.

Barry (personal communication, September 18, 2018), explains her use of these One type of formative assessment which I find extremely useful within lessons is the use of whiteboards. I find this method of assessment especially beneficial in Math. Each student has access to their own whiteboard and marker and the teacher can write a question on the board. The students can then complete their answers on their individual whiteboards. The teacher can quickly go around and check the method students use to complete the question and the student’s answer. This gives the teacher an opportunity to monitor student progress and see which students may need some extra support to master the concept by guiding them step by step or re-teaching. The use of whiteboards can also be used to check prior-knowledge on a particular topic and therefore allow the teacher to better prepare and plan for the next lesson. Finally, another type of formative assessment may be viewed in Figure 13 a writing assessment within Google Classroom on a Google Doc. E. Fleming (personal communication, December 29, 2018) explains her implementation of this valuable assessment as one that is ongoing, from start to finish, in a writing lesson. Teachers will find that assessing writing formatively in this more natural manner will prove most effective and efficient as compared to the paper/pencil method. Nevertheless, the traditional method of writing assessment will 16

likely need to be utilized at times.

Figure 13. Formative Writing Assessment in Google Classroom. As an English major, I value the writing process. Students in my fourth-grade classroom receive regular feedback on writing assignments through the use of Google Classroom and Google Docs. When students have developed their first draft, they reproduce it in Google Docs within our Google Classroom portal. Once submitted, I am able to review their work. This particular platform of Google Docs has made it possible for me to give formative feedback and regularly assess their writing. I am able to add suggestions, edit where needed, and provide comments throughout the assignment’s progress. Formative assessments through Google Docs honors the writing process for my students, and allows them to reimagine assessment. As seen in the screenshots above, I am able to affirm the ways in which my students have addressed their writing goals, and push them

along the path of growth. Instead of receiving a paper turned back and filled with marks, my students recognize their Google Doc as a “working” document. Furthermore, this means of formative assessment gives way to intentional conversations on the process of learning and the means of assessment.

roster. As teachers notice acquisition or confusion with a skill, they record the student’s name and jot down a brief comment. Teachers also might consider keeping a folder for each child where these and other notes are organized. This valuable data allows for appropriate teacher planning

Students understand that feedback is constructive and necessary to their learning and my teaching. (E. Fleming, personal communication December 29, 2018)

and productive conference time with individual students. The value of formative assessment cannot be overstated. For teachers to be able to teach effectively, they need knowledge of student understanding at all phases of lessons they are teaching - before, during, and after. This is the way teachers will be able to effectively teach what is necessary and pertinent to students’ learning needs. As one teacher noted, “I thought the kids would know a lot about a story, but I realized from activating their prior knowledge that they did not. So, I was able to completely change my lesson plan” (L. Driscoll, personal communication, September 18, 2019). In this case, the teacher’s before-teaching formative assessment allowed for the students to learn most effectively during the revised lesson that followed. Conclusion As stated at the outset of this article and discussed throughout - testing is not teaching. The considerable time spent on both preparing for and taking tests often displaces precious time for effective student thinking and learning to occur in our schools. Good teaching involves replacing this inordinate amount of testing time with frequent

The Value of Formative Assessment These teachers who shared their favorite and often “go-to” formative assessments place great value on using them in their own classrooms. Dodge (2009) describes the value of formative assessment in this way: “Using at least one formative assessment daily enables you to evaluate and assess the quality of the learning that is taking place in your classroom and answer these driving questions: How is this student evolving as a learner? What can I do to assist this learner on his path to mastery?” (p. 5). The answers to these questions drives the teaching and learning in the classroom, enabling only the necessary and the most efficient and streamlined teaching to take up the valuable time used for a classroom lesson. Undoubtedly, formative assessment is more useful than summative assessment in teachers’ day-to-day data-driven decisionmaking. While formatively assessing on a daily basis, the easiest way for teachers to collect data is to walk around the classroom with a clipboard and sticky notes or class 17

formative assessments, thus preparing and

teaching our students well. Indeed, formative assessment is the appropriate response to an inappropriate over-emphasis on standardized, high-stakes testing. Formative assessment is critical for good teaching and learning to occur and to produce the fruits of the knowledge, skills and understandings taught

Graves, D. H. (1983). Writing: Teachers & children at work. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Graves, D. H. (2002). Testing is not teaching: What should count in education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Greenstein, L. (2010). What teachers really

by good teachers. Everyone wins when our students are learning more and testing less frequently, thus providing greater success for our students! Isn’t that what we all want, anyway?

need to know about formative assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Heritage, M. (2010). Formative assessment: Making it happen in the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Landrigan, C. and Mulligan, T. (2013). Assessment in perspective – Focusing on the reader behind the numbers. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Author’s Note: Diane S. Maletta, Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Diane S. Maletta, Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556 Contact: References Boston, C. 2002-10-00. ED470206, ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, College Park, MD. Dodge, J. (2009). 25 Quick formative assessments for a differentiated classroom. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc. Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2007). Checking for understanding: Formative assessment techniques for your classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


ENCOURAGING MATHEMATICS AND LITERACY LEARNING THROUGH BOOKMAKING Ryan A. Nivens, Jamie Price, Erin Doran, Noell Howe, Kayla Knupp, and Edward J. Dwyer

Educators and psychologists have for many years demonstrated the importance of involving learners physically and emotionally, as well as academically, in their

Lesser (2014) determined that mathematics learning depends in a large measure on scaffolding, especially in light of overcoming “low expectations…rooted in

learning. Vygotsky (1978) led the way in demonstrating the importance of socialization as a vital component of learning. Vygotsky proposed a zone of proximal development in which the learner is ready to learn but must receive support in both social and academic contexts. Such support, particularly as it relates to reading instruction, was comprehensively described by Rasinski (2010) as scaffolding, wherein the learner is led from dependence on the person in the role of leader and/or teacher to independence. However, despite great efforts on the part of educators who implement basically sound scaffolding strategies, later research led Rasinski (2017) to conclude that approximately 33% of students struggle and remain “below proficiency” (p. 520) in literacy development when they enter fourth grade.

stereotypes” (p. 569). Lesser further concluded that young learners, especially females and children from lower socioeconomic status environments, must feel empowered to learn mathematics by engaging successfully in enjoyable and academically sound activities. Lesser found that there are still many troublesome stereotypes concerning the study of mathematics. For example, Lesser (2014) found T-shirts targeted for females with the following messages, “Allergic to Algebra,” “I’m Too Pretty to Do Math," and "Math is Hard. Let’s go Shopping." Dweck (2006) studied behaviors of thousands of children and classified their beliefs about learning and intelligence into two categories: fixed mindset and growth mindset. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that people are born with a certain level of intelligence and this level cannot be changed through effort.


In contrast, individuals with a growth mindset view intelligence as something that can be acquired through hard work. Boaler (2016) applied Dweck’s research to mathematics and identified that individuals that are successful in math have a mathematical mindset as they understand that “math is a subject of growth and their role is to learn and think about new ideas” (p. 34). Consequently, the need to provide engaging and productive mathematics activities that build confidence and positive dispositions towards mathematics for all children is apparent. Linking mathematics learning and literacy learning is essential in this context as success in mathematics is difficult without corresponding success in literacy studies. The book construction activity described herein presents learners with highly positive opportunities for both affective and academic experiences in enhancing mathematical and literacy competencies. We add using plastic tiles to enhance understanding of the mathematical concepts. For example, the tiles provide an opportunity for concretely demonstrating concepts such as 3 x 3. As presented in Figure 1, the tiles are made by using a paper cutter to cut one-inch squares from plastic yard signs. These are usually free-standing signs (18” x 24”) with a metal holder often used during political campaigns and for advertising events. They are usually discarded after the events but can be used to make tiles. More than 400 tiles can be made from one recycled sign!


Figure 1. Tiles for physical manipulation (1”X1”) The strategies presented herein lend themselves to effective scaffolding based on intervention and, in a large measure, provide students with ownership of their learning in the books they treasure. We have completed this activity with hundreds of students and have observed what Csikszentmihalyi (1998) described as flow. Csikszentmihalyi determined that learning is enhanced through a state of harmony where events are presented so that intrinsic motivation is fostered within the learning environment. Demonstration of flow theory can be easily visualized, for example, by recalling how young children play at the seashore. Children are in harmony with their surroundings, endlessly picking up seashells, playing in sand and water, and chasing minnows with a net. There are no preconceived limits relative to length of attention span among children at the seashore! In this light, Weil (2011) insisted that learning is much better served

when there is “healthy variability” (p. 9) instead of highly predictable routines. Newport (2016) proposed that focusing on meaningful work within a supportive environment encourages understanding of concepts. The book building and subsequent study lends itself to what Newport proposed is meaningful “deep work” (p. 72). Barnes and Smagorinsky (2016) determined, through in-depth surveys of undergraduate teacher education candidates, that candidates’ application of learning strategies in their apprentice teaching environments can be substantially encouraged by experiencing their own “personal success” (p. 352). The candidates reported that they enjoyed applying strategies much more than simply achieving academic knowledge of strategies. The researchers further determined that the candidates tied their own success in elementary and middle school, to their own delight in achieving personal success while engaged in positive learning environments. We have observed students’ joy and feelings of personal success in building comb-bound books and their desire to learn what is in the books that they have made. Making Comb-bound Books The topic for producing books in this context is fostering learning of addition and subtraction facts and sight vocabulary based on the Oxford 100 most common words in printed English. The essential materials are presented in Figure 2. There are also lists of the most common adjectives, nouns, prepositions and verbs from the Oxford word 21

sets (Wikipedia, n. d.). In addition, Fry (l980) developed lists containing the 300 most common words in printed English. In this light, Eads (1985) listed the 227 words that appeared most frequently in 400 storybooks written for primary grade children.

Figure 2. Materials for book construction. We have developed simple sentences using the written form of the numbers from one to nine. In the sentences, we use the names of the students in the class. A sample sentence presented in Figure 3 is, “Olivia has one cat and two dogs.” We can use Olivia’s name in all of the sentences in her book or we can use Olivia’s name and the names of her classmates in the sentences. This can easily be accomplished using the “Replace” feature in the word processing program.

sure that the combs are compatible with your comb-binding machine. 3. Make pages for the books from 110 lb. or 67 lb. cardstock. Regular weight copy paper (20 lb.) is too flimsy for making durable book pages. Cut the pages into fourths (4.25” x 5.5”) using a paper

Figure 3. Interior pages with sentences. Materials: 1. A photograph of a comb-binding machine is presented in Figure 4. This is the Ibico Kombo™ we have used to bind books. We have found that many schools have a binding machine of this type. Combbinding machines are available at most office supply stores. When purchasing a comb-binder we recommend getting a sturdy machine capable of easily punching through mat board. We suggest keeping the machine on a rolling cart for ease of transport since many of them are heavy. As demonstrated in Figure 5, an electronic hole-puncher can be used while the pages can be tied with yarn if a combbinding machine is not available. 2. Plastic combs used for binding are also available at office supply stores. We cut the 11-inch combs into sections of six comb rings for the project described herein. The three-quarter inch ring comb size works well. The standard size combs contain 19 binding rings; however, be

cutter. This will give you four pages per sheet. Line up the pages on the combbinding machine so that you can punch six holes as nearly equidistant from the top and bottom as possible. There are guide marks on the comb-binding machine to designate where to punch or you can add your own with stickers. 4. Cut mat board 6” x 5” using a sturdy paper cutter. We get plenty of colorful scrap mat board from frame shops. It is easy to make front and back matching covers. Punch six holes in the mat board using the comb-binding machine. The placement of the mat board on the combbinding machine will be slightly different from the placement for the pages because the mat board is a little larger. Punch one cover with the colorful side up and the other with the colorful side down so the front and back covers will align perfectly and you will have a colorful front and back cover. 5. We make nameplates for our students. Each nameplate contains the title of the book and a by-line with the name of the student. We make one set of nameplates (1.5” x 2.0” when cut out), which can easily be modified for many different titles. We use the “Replace” feature on


the word processor to efficiently make a new set of nameplates. The professional looking nameplate is very impressive, easy to create, and encourages students to treasure books they have made. We also make colorful frames for the nameplates (2” x 3”) from construction paper. In addition, as presented in Figure 6, we cut pieces of clear plastic adhesive such as non-thermal self- sealing laminating film or clear ConTact™ or Duck Easy Liner Clear Laminate™ (3.5” x 2.5”) to provide a protective cover for the nameplate and the frame. 6. We add a framed photograph of the students, as presented in Figure 7, on the inside of the front cover.

Figure 4. Comb-binding machine. Note stickers indicating where to line up pages and covers.


Figure 5. Book produced with hole puncher and yarn.

Figure 6. Book cover and nameplate.

new territory and bring this idea into the area of mathematics. In this section, we present three ideas for using comb-bound books in the mathematics classroom. Example 1: A Math Glossary We thought that a math glossary would be a good place to start to incorporate combFigure 7. Inside cover and page 1. Procedures 1. Distribute materials for each participant: two mat board covers, one three-quarter inch sixloop plastic comb, 12 pre-punched pages, glue stick, scissors, name plate with frame, and clear plastic adhesive. The mat-board covers, pages and comb can be placed ahead of time in a plastic sandwich bag to facilitate distribution and provide storage for the completed book. 2. Show a model book to the participants and explain procedures for construction. 3. Invite the participants to begin working on the project. 4. The number of pages in the book can be changed or pages can be swapped out by simply opening the comb on the binding machine. Occasionally a student will make an error and need to replace a page using the comb-binding machine. Although replacing a page can be done by hand, the plastic combs can be bent out of shape when twisted. Using Comb-Bound Books in the Elementary Math Classroom We have conducted many projects over the years making books with students in their language arts classes. We wanted to explore 24

bound books with mathematics. In order for students to develop a conceptual understanding of mathematics, they must be able to make connections among different representations for a particular concept, followed by the ability to move flexibly between and among these representations (Van de Walle, Karp, & Bay-Williams, 2016). The creation of a math glossary provides teachers with an opportunity to encourage students to visualize and connect various representations. For example, students in kindergarten need to be able to connect a numeral to its corresponding word name, along with the ability to recognize a collection of objects of a given number. Using the tiles mentioned above can be helpful in matching the numerical concept with the words that represent that concept. In addition, teachers can have students create a math glossary to foster learning among students for connecting numerical representations for various numbers; for example, students can create a page that contains the numeral 2, the word name “two,� and drawings or photographs of two objects. As students develop an understanding of place value in grades 1 and 2, a math glossary can be developed to help students learn to represent numbers using standard and

expanded form, along with a model of the number using base-ten blocks. Similarly, students in the upper elementary grades need to be able to represent fractions using a variety of models, including an area, set, and linear model. A math glossary devoted to fractions can encourage students to visualize

to help review topics taught throughout the school year. Example 3: Creating Classroom Books to Display Student Work Teachers are continually asked to display student work to document learning that occurs in the classroom. Comb-bound books

various fractions with multiple models. In a similar activity related to geometry, students are instructed to provide the word, the definition, and a picture of a given shape. Some drew figures that were connected to real life while others drew the standard figure you might find in a textbook. Some students modified their terms to include creative names such as “Tammy Trapezoid,” “Robbie Rhombus,” and “Sammy Square.” Once students had their pages of the glossary ready, they decided how to organize their pages. With guidance from school personnel, the mathematical correctness as well as alphabetical order can be checked before the book binding process is completed. Example 2: A Mini-Math Textbook A mini mathematics textbook is not something you see every day in schools, but something we feel should be commonplace. The students take great pride in their books. Making students authors of their own textbooks encourages students to experience ownership of their mathematical knowledge. Book titles such as, “Geometry Dash!” and “Colorful Book of Shapes” are just a few of the exciting books written by our students. Over the years, a classroom library of minimath textbooks can be created that would

provide an excellent opportunity to put students’ creations on display. Whitin and Piwko (2008) introduced practical ideas for infusing poetry into the mathematics classroom. In their work, elementary students create poems based on geometry word lists generated by the students and their family members. Students study the structure of a poem and use that structure as a model to develop their own poems related to geometric terms learned in the math classroom. A comb-bound class book of poems related to geometry created by the students can provide students with opportunities to integrate their learning of literacy and mathematics. The creation of a classroom book of student work is an engaging way to encourage students to work collaboratively and celebrate their learning as a whole class. Conclusion We adhere to the words of William Butler Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” We want our learning environment to be exciting and pedagogically sound and, most of all, enjoyable. We propose that this can be done while still comprehensively addressing standards. The strategies presented herein can be applied in various learning contexts

provide students and teachers with a resource

throughout elementary and middle schools.


For example, a teacher we know builds the books with her students but starts with just the first three addition tables and the students add tables as they demonstrate mastery. The comb-bound book learning strategies can be greatly enhanced through cross-grade sharing where students in upper grades

an enjoyable setting. Harvey and Ward emphatically retired the word “struggling” and replaced it with the word “striving”. We hope that strategies presented herein can be a means for encouraging struggling learners to become striving learners and eventually, as Harvey and Ward proposed, thriving learners.

engage in book building and enjoyable study with their younger friends. For example, students in fifth grade provide wonderful support for their friends in the lower grades. Such interaction fosters school community building as well as academic achievement. We have worked with hundreds of students and many teachers in making combbound books and never have had a class that was not thoroughly delighted with this activity. In this light, an extensive review of research led Guthrie and Wigfield (2018) to conclude that literacy instruction must take place in a classroom environment that “generates productive and joyful literacy engagement continually” (p. 75). After making a book, a student enthusiastically said, “I’m going to show my book to my mom and dad.” Another student declared that, “I like my book a lot but I want to make one with my family, too.” A teacher suggested that, “This activity really involved the students and encouraged them to study the math and reading concepts.” A parent emailed and suggested that the bookmaking “would be really good for a PTA (Parent Teacher Association) activity.” We appreciate the emphasis Harvey and Ward (2017) placed on developing literacy

In addition, the activities presented herein provide the groundwork for enjoyable and action-oriented teacher in-service programs. We keep a supply of materials stored in easily accessible plastic boxes. We keep a copy of this article with photographs on-line to provide teachers and parents with information concerning the rationale for these activities. We guarantee you will have a great time!

and related mathematics competencies within 26

Authors: Ryan Nivens ( ) is an associate professor of mathematics education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CUAI) at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Jamie Price ( ) is an assistant professor who teaches mathematics classes in the CUAI Depertment at ETSU. Erin Doran ( ) teaches 3rd grade and Noell Howe ( ) teaches 1st grade at University School, the K-12 professional development school at ETSU. Kayla Knupp ( ) teaches 5th grade at Washington Lee Elementary School in Bristol, VA. Ed Dwyer ( ) is a professor in literacy studies in the CUAI Department at ETSU.

References Barnes, M.E. & Smagorinsky, P. (2016). What English/language arts teacher candidates learn during coursework and

practice: A study of three teacher education programs. Journal of Teacher Education, 67(4), 338-355. Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical mindsets: Unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages and innovative teaching. San Francisco, CA:

building fluency, word recognition & comprehension. New York, NY: Scholastic. Rasinski, T. (2017). Readers who struggle: Why many struggle and a modest proposal for improving their reading. Reading Teacher, 70(5), 519-524.

Jossey-Bass. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1998). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. New York: Basic Books. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House. Eads, M. (1985). Bookwords: Using a beginning word list of high frequency words from children’s literature K-3. The Reading Teacher, 38(4), 418-423. Fry, E.B. (1980). The new instant word list. The Reading Teacher, 34, 284-290. Guthrie, J. & Wigfield, A. (2018). Literacy engagement and motivation: Rationale, research, teaching, and assessment. In D. Lapp & D. Fisher (Eds.), Handbook on research on teaching the English language arts. (4th ed. pp.57 – 84). New York: Routledge. Harvey, S. & Ward, A. (2017). From striving to thriving. New York: Scholastic. Lesser L. M. (2014). Staring down stereotypes. Mathematics Teacher, 107(8), 568-571. Newport, C. (2016) Deep work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world. Grand Central Publishing: New York. Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The fluent reader:

Van de Walle, J.A., Karp, K.S., & BayWilliams, J.M. (2016). Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Weil, A. (2011). Spontaneous happiness. New York: Little, Brown, & Company. Whitin, D. J., & Piwko, M. (2008). Mathematics and poetry: The right connection. Young Children, 63(2), 3439. Wikipedia (n. d.) Most common words in English. Retrieved from on_words_in_English.

Oral & silent reading strategies for 27


Young children learn about their social and cultural world through experiences with language, drawing, and writing. Parents and families obviously play an important role in the development of children’s understanding of their world as they are a child’s first teacher. Bronfenbrenner (1979) states “Powerful forces affect the child’s behavior and development not directly but through their impact of the immediate settings containing the child, especially his family” (p. 15). According to Vygotsky (1978) interaction between children and their parents during cognitive literacy tasks is essential for children’s learning and socialization. Doyle and Bramwell (2006) state that for maximum student achievement to occur in school, there needs to be a partnership with parents and families. “Teachers are, however, often challenged to find the means and time to establish and maintain this positive connection with families” (p. 562). Car Talks are an easy way teachers can communicate the essential learning of the day to parents so conversation with their children can be rich 28

and meaningful in the car going home or during any time where there is an opportunity to engage in dialogue. Research supports the use of naturalistic approaches to promoting language development of young children (Piaget & Galant, 1996). The strengths of this type of natural learning have been effective with wide ranges of linguistic acquisitions including labeling, use of adjectives and complex sentences (Owens, 1999; Warren & Kaiser 1986). Literature Review Research shows that children who have foundational literacy skills like oral language skills are more likely to succeed throughout their K-12 years (Hart & Risley, 1999; Hanson & Farrell, 1995). Literacy skills including listening, speaking, writing, and reading are affected by a child’s home environment and interaction with parents and family at a young age (Irish, 2016). Early reading problems are complex but variables including little exposure to language and ideas at home (St. Pierre & Lavzer, 1998). It has been shown that children who have good

oral language skills are better equipped to learn how to read and write than children who do not have these skills (Lonigan, 2016). Vocabulary is naturally acquired in the home and occurs naturally through dialogue with family (Hart & Risely, 1995). So, literacy development begins at home with parents,

negative effect on young children’s success in school. It is important that teachers effectively partner with parents to ensure a child’s success in school and life. It is also important for children to generalize what they are learning in school to other settings like home or talking with a parent for increased

siblings, and extended family long before it is formally addressed in school and these factors are directly linked to a student’s success in school (Halsey, 2008). Parents who take with their young children greatly increase their language skills (Lawrence & Snow, 2011) and when centered on an activity or topic it is crucial to their literacy development (Ninio & Snow, 1996). Fletcher, Cross, Tanney, Schneider and Finch (2008) reported in their study that vocabulary development in the early years comes through dialogue with parents and families. Nagy and Herman (1987) found that school children’s vocabulary increases by about 2000 words per year, however, Biemiller and Slonin (2001) believed that most of this growth comes from incidental learning. This signifies that new vocabulary does not solely come from a list of words a child learns in school but from language they hear and read at home, at soccer practice, at the grocery store, at school, and during times commuting in the car. Collaboration Between Teachers and Parents According to McAllister, Wilson, Green and Baldwin (2005) research studies indicate that a lack of partnership or collaboration

understanding (Halsey, 2008). However, there are limited models on how parents and teachers can collaborate to ensure academic success (White, 2015). Deming (2009) stated that the earlier parents and teachers can collaborate and partner in learning experiences for children, the greater the chance that the child will be a successful. But, if parent-led instruction is tedious and/or time consuming, parents may not utilize it even if it is somewhat successful. So, it is important for parents to embed instruction within daily routines incidentally and that they be integrated into a parent’s already busy schedule (Halsey, 2008). She goes on to report that “naturalistic, embedded approaches can be thought of as minimally invasive to parent-child routines because they utilize occurring activities as teaching opportunities” (p. 15). The following paragraphs detail examples of models for communication between parents and children during daily activities such as the time spent in a car commuting hence the title Car Talks. Car Talks Upon entering an older preschool classroom, there was a noticeable sign titled Car Talk.

between teachers and parents can have a 29

brief paragraph, ideas for connecting school content to home life are embedded. The above example served a multitude of purposes. First, it can align with multiple Indiana Early Learning Foundations for older preschool aged children. Refer to Table 1 to see the Indiana Foundations correlated to the above example of a Car Talk. Table 1

Figure 1. Car Talk Sign in Classroom. Below the sign was a hand-written note from the teacher. It stated, “Homes - Houses” A rabbit lives in a warren. A bear hibernates in a den. No matter where or what your home is... it should provide shelter. Tonight, when you drive in your driveway, stop and look at your house. Discuss with your child how many windows there are, where the doors are located, the shape of the house, the color of the house, and anything else unique about your house. We are going to draw our houses next week. We may even learn our house number and street name. We will continue to compare our houses to different animal houses. We will also look at homes in other countries and how they are different. House – A building for human habitation. Shelter – Something that covers or affords protection. Car Talks is a communication strategy from the teacher to parents informing them of the day’s conversations at school. Within the


Correlation to Indiana Foundations Foundation



English/ ELA1.1: Language Arts Demonstrate receptive communication

ELA1.2: Demonstrate expressive communication

• •

ELA1.3: • Demonstrate ability to engage in conversations •

• •

ELA2.4: Demonstrate comprehension

Demonstrate continual growth in understanding increasingly complex and varied vocabulary Demonstrate continual growth in increasingly varied and complex vocabulary Use complex sentences Describe activities, experiences and stories with expanded detail Answer questions posed by adults or peers Ask questions for understanding and clarity Make comment on topic Stay on topic in two-way conversation that involves multiple turns Respond and interact with stories

• Mathematics

M1.1: Demonstrate • strong sense of counting

M1.2: Demonstrate • understanding of written numerals Approaches to APL1.1: • Play and Demonstrate Learning initiative and selfdirection •

APL1.2: Demonstrate interest and curiosity as a learner


SC3.1: Demonstrate awareness of life

Social Studies SS3.2: Demonstrate• awareness of places and regions

SS3.3: Demonstrate• awareness of environment and society

Creative Arts CA3.1 Demonstrate• creative expression through the visual art process


Answer questions about a story Recognize the last number name said tells the number of objects counted Name written numerals from 0-10 Take initiative to learn new concepts and try new experiences Seek and gather new information to plan for projects and activities Demonstrate eagerness to learn about and discuss new topics, ideas, and tasks Use a variety of learning approaches, such as observing, imitating, asking questions, hands-on investigation, and active exploration Ask questions and conduct investigations to understand life science Become familiar with information about where they live and understand what an address is Begin to describe the reciprocal relationship between humans and the environment Identify and use colors, lines, and shapes found in the environment

CA3.2: • Demonstrate creative expression through visual art production Physical Health and Growth

PHG1.2: Demonstrate development of safety practices

and in works of art Progress in ability to create drawings, models, and other art using a variety of materials Demonstrate basic safety knowledge

Table 1 Second, it serves as a communication tool from the teacher to the families. Families are quickly provided an overview of the day’s topic as well as examples of how to extend a conversation. Including animal homes, adding rich vocabulary, and posing questions can all engage various ages of learners. This communication can take the form that works best for your setting. Examples might include an electronic communication system, weekly newsletter, or a simple sign posted by the sign in/sign out area in the classroom. Last, Car Talks encourage dialogue between family members. On a daily basis, valuable time is lost as we allow children to “zone out” to the mesmerizing glow of electronics. Car Talks provide real examples and starting discussion questions to extend a conversation beyond, Adult: “How was your day?” Child: “Good.” or Adult: What did you do at school today?” Child: “Nothing.” Assigning tasks such as to search for something at home generates excitement which then carries over into the home to hope of engaging other family members. This particular communication strategy can and should change based on the content

studied in the classroom. It is also important to note that the teacher best knows the school community and families, so adapting strategies to work with your setting might be necessary. Detailed in this manuscript are various models for encouraging and prompting conversation between family

as the following will help a student recall the read aloud:

members and a young child between the ages of approximately 2 and early elementary school age. Communication Strategy Ideas for Teachers to Share with Families Car talks - Community. Children are naturally inquisitive about their surroundings. Teachers can encourage parents to feed that natural curiosity by asking children to compare and contrast buildings like schools, churches, grocery stores, hospitals, and banks and special vehicles like ambulances, school buses, fire trucks, and large construction equipment as you pass them on your commute. Create dialogue to help children understand these important vehicles and structures in their surroundings and why they are important. Give questions to parents to ask their child like:

Who works in a bank?

Who works in a hospital?

How are a bank and grocery store alike?

How is a fire truck like an ambulance?

Car talks – Literacy. Teachers can extend the read aloud by putting the title of the book they are reading on the Car Talk sign and encouraging parents to have students retell the story. Questions from parents such


How did the story begin?

What happened next?”

What was the most exciting part of the story?

How did the story end?

Who was the story about? Include vocabulary words from the story that may be new for children and have parents talk about these words and their meanings while driving. Another literacy strategy starts by simply creating a story line with blanks. The story can have content from a read aloud or learning that week or used to increase child’s creativity and language skills. Children will quickly catch on to the game. The best part is that this game can engage parents and siblings and requires nothing other than imagination! Have parents and children take turns filling in the blanks: Oh dear! I forgot _________. And we needed _________for the _________! I’ll run in the house and grab _________ so we can get going to the _________. I hope we are not ___________. I can’t believe we saw __________! What a great ___________. Soon, it was time to go ___________. We got in the ____________ and ___________ away. Another example could be: We are going to the _________today. Don’t forget the _________. I hope it doesn’t _________. The best part was _________. I can’t wait until _________ to tell ___________. Car talks – Music. According to Salcedo (2002), using nonverbal ‘right-brain’

skills, such as actions, emotions, and music aids improvement of creativity, memory, and the ability to imitate, which is considered one of the most useful strategies in language learning. Old MacDonald Had a Farm is a classic children’s song that is good for practicing animal sounds and phonemic

pause while reading a children’s book in which the illustration displays strong emotion. Ask the child to deconstruct the illustration, especially the facial cues. Helping a young child to recognize and verbalize strong emotions in others is a huge achievement in social emotional learning.

awareness by isolating sounds in the words. For instance, you can have parents ask their children the following:

Developing empathy, good decision making, strong friendships, and the ability to overcome challenges will help the child adapt to different surroundings and social settings effectively. Often role-playing social situations with children is helpful in preparing for potential issues. For example, if “John” wants to play by himself at recess but “Olivia” asks to play, role playing possible responses from “John” will equip him with the ability to say no, but in a way which is respectful of other children’s feelings. An example response from “John” might be, “Thanks for asking, but I just want a little quiet time right now.” This enables him to effectively communicate his needs while not upsetting others. Additional ideas a teacher could suggest or encourage parents to try include:

What beginning sound do you hear in moo?

What beginning sound do you hear in cluck?

What ending sound do you hear in oink?

• What ending sound do you hear in ruff? Another idea involving the song Old MacDonald Had a Farm is to pause when you suggest an animal on the farm. For example, Old MacDonald had a farm and on that farm, he had a _________. Encouraging the child to suggest various farm animals is fun, but a real challenge is to mix in non-farm animals such as a seal. After some giggles and finishing the song, a great conversation follows discussing why a seal could not really live on a farm. This activity can be repeated numerous times which can encourage rich conversations on animal habitats. Car talks – Social engagement. Promoting social and emotional learning can strengthen knowledge about feelings and getting along well with others. Children need to be able to process their feelings in a positive manner and recognize the emotions of those around them. One strategy is to


Model positive behavior daily;

Encourage and reward kindness towards others;

Create activities that require collaboration with others;

Ask the child how they are feeling to open communication and express emotions accurately;

Create a structured, supportive, and safe environment;

Listen and follow directions;

Promote self-worth by using growth

mindset techniques (Ricci, 2013). Car talks – Active listening. It is extremely important to create active listening skills in a young learner. This is critical for reading, social interactions, communication and language development. Having a child practice active listening skills through structured listening activities is a great way to enrich a growing mind. Suggestions to parents to utilize while on car rides could be: v Audio stories. Children could benefit from following along with the words of the book or engage their imaginations without text. •

Games. Encourage mimicked imitations of steady beats or sounds.

Rhymes. These help to strengthen vocabulary and help children retain important information.

Your own creativity. Tell the child a story. Use their name to make it relevant to them or those they know. Be creative and let your imagination run wild. After the story, ask the child comprehension questions and their favorite parts. You could even record these stories for future use.

Cultural based. Introduce a foreign language through songs. Children’s brains are sponges while they are young. Playing an upbeat, “catchy” song could help them learn and retain a foreign language much faster. Conclusion Early childhood is a time of tremendous intellectual growth for young children. This


manuscript encouraged teachers to relay various models of communication to parents. Doyle and Bramwell (2006) state that for maximum student achievement to occur in school, there needs to be a partnership with parents and families. “Teachers are, however, often challenged to find the means and time to establish and maintain this positive connection with families” (p. 562). Rather than adding stress to the parent’s day, the models suggested can be completed within the natural flow of the day. The suggested models can begin in the classroom, such as Car Talk, and empower parents to utilize valuable time with their children to engage, enhance, and encourage dialogue. Acknowledgement: A special thank you to the talented teachers who contributed to the development of this manuscript. Corresponding author: Jill Raisor can be contacted at Gina Berridge, Ph.D., Stacey Keown, Ed.D, Jill Raisor, Ph.D. at University of Southern Indiana. References Biemiller, A., & Slonim, N. (2001). Estimating root word vocabulary growth in normative and advanced populations: Evidence for a common sequence of vocabulary acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 323335. doi. 10.1037/0022-0663.93.3.498 Bronfenbrener, U. (1979). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Experiments in nature and design. Developmental Psychology, 22(6), 723-724.

Deming, D. (2009). Early childhood intervention and life-cycle skill development: Evidence from Head Start. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(3), 111-134. Doyle, B. G. & Bramwell, W. (2006). Promoting emergent literacy and social-emotional learning through dialogic reading. The

Irish, C.K. (2016). Dialogic reading in the home environment: A multiple case study of six families. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest LLC. (10248206) Lawrence, J. F. & Snow, C. E. (2011). Oral discourse and reading. In M., Kamil, P.D. Pearson, E. B. Moje, & P. P. Afflerback

Reading Teacher, 59(6), 554-564. Fletcher, K. L., Cross, J. R., Tanney, A. L., Schneider, M., & Finch, W.H. (2008). Predicting language development in children at risk: The effects of quality and frequency of caregiver reading. Early Education and Development, 19(1), 89-111. Halsey, H. N. (2008) Investigating a parent implemented early literacy intervention: Effects of dialogic reading using alphabet books on the alphabet skills, phonological awareness, and oral language of preschool children. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. (3325135) Hanson, R. A. & Farrel, D. (1995). The longterm effects on high school seniors of learning to read in kindergarten. Reading Research Quarterly, 30(4), 75-90. Hart, B. & Risely, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the experiences of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Hart, B. & Risely, T. R. (1999). The social world of children learning to talk. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Indiana Department of Education. (2015). Indiana’s early learning development framework aligned to the 2014 Indiana

(Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (pp. 320-338). New York, NY: Routledge. Lonigan, C. J. (2006). Development, assessment, and promotion of preliteracy skills. Early Education and Development. 17(1), 91-114. McAllister, C.L., Wilson, P. C., Green, B. L., & Baldwin, J. L. (2005). “Come and take a walk”: Listening to Early Head Start parents on school-readiness as a matter of child, family, and community health. American Journal of Public Health, 95(4). 617-625. Nagy, W.E., & Herman, P. A. (1987). Breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge: Implications for acquisition and instruction. In M. G. McKeown & M. E. Curtis (Eds.), The nature of vocabulary acquisition (pp. 1935). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Ninio, A. & Snow, E. C. (1996). Pragmatic development. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Owens, R. E. Jr. (1999). A functional intervention model. In Language disorders: A functional approach to assessment and intervention. Needham Heights, MA: Paul H. Brooks. Piaget, K. D. & Galant, K. (1996). Promoting communication competence in preschool-age children. In G. Stones, M. Shinn, & H. Walker (Eds.), Interventions for achievement and behavior problems (pp. 289-303).

academic standards. 35

Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. Ricci, M.C. (2013). Mindsets in the classroom. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, Inc. Salcedo, C. S. (2002). The effects of songs in the foreign language classroom on text recall and involuntary mental rehearsal

learned. Social Policy Report, Society of Research in Child Development. 2(4), 147154. Warren, S. F. & Kaiser, A. P. (1986). Incidental teaching: A critical review. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 51(4), 291-299. White, A. (2015). Creating new pathways for

(Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. St. Pierre, R. G. & Layzer, J. I. (1998). Improving the life chances of children in poverty: Assumptions and what we have

dialog: Engaging families in school readiness. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest LLC. (3722752) Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.



The 2019 Indiana Science Trade Book Annual Reading List (IN-STAR) includes

Children’s Books, Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews,

many outstanding reads for elementary students that will help them explore science. The criteria and process to identify books has been previously described (Gulley & Thomas, 2012). The selections meet the following criteria.

Science and Children.

1. The book has substantial science content; 2. Information is clear, accurate, and up to date; 3. Theories and facts are clearly distinguished; 4. Facts are not oversimplified to the point where the information is misleading; 5. Generalizations are supported by facts and significant facts are not omitted; 6. Books are free of gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic bias; 7. Information can be connected to an Indiana Core Standard in Science for grades K-6; 8. Books are readily available in public libraries or bookstores; and 9. Books have received at least one positive review in one of the identified professional journals: Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for

Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and

The 2019 INSTAR selections are books that teachers can use across grade levels to teach science standards and to integrate science with other content areas. Below are some of this year’s highlighted titles. Beautifully illustrated underground habitats by Steve Jennings highlight Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward. The main text is appropriate for primary grades and inserted sidebars and backmatter allow teachers (perhaps through a read aloud) and advanced readers to dive deeper into specific content around habitats for the featured animals. In Fur, Feather, and Fin: All of Us are Kin by Diane Lange readers will enjoy the rhyming text that describes the characteristics for many of the major classes of animals. And, by weaving a narrative of similarities and differences between animals the author creates opportunities for teachers and

students to learn about the dynamics of animal interactions in their ecosystems. Band-Aids come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and are as common in your school nurse’s office as a box of tissues. But do your students know the story of how they were invented? In Boo-Boos that Changed the

Smith. 48 pp. ISBN-13: 9780062741615.

World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really!), Barry Wittenstein presents a humor-filled narrative about Earle Dickson’s unlikely leap into becoming an inventor. Exploring space and exploring the oceans may seem like very different feats, but Jennifer Swanson masterfully compares the two in Astronaut, Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact. Photographs and realistic cartoons support the conversational text that highlights how exploration above and below the surface of the Earth presents similar challenges. The 2018 Indiana Science Trade Book Annual Reading List (IN-STAR)

First Grade

Kindergarten FUR, FEATHER, FIN: ALL OF US ARE KIN. 2018. Diane Lang. Illus. Stephanie Laberis. Simon & Schuster, Beach Lane Books. 48 pp. ISBN-13: 9781481447096. Colorful illustrations accompany rhyming poems to explain how animals are classified. End matter provides additional facts and suggested activities. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE. LOVELY BEASTS: THE SURPRISING TRUTH. 2018. Kate Gardner. Illus. Heidi


Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins. Readers explore the characteristics for animals using a single word format. Supportive text of the single-word descriptor offers an ideal format for a read aloud. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE THE BRILLIANT: DEEP REBUILDING THE WORLD’S CORAL REEFS: THE STORY OF KEN NEDIMYER AND THE CORAL REEF FOUNDATION. 2018. Kate Messner Illus. Matthew Forsythe Chronicle Books. 48 pp. ISBN-13: 9781452133508 Appropriate for many grade levels, this book introduces readers to the efforts of conservationist Ken Nedimyer in restoring and preserving the world’s coral reefs. Eye-catching illustrations and riveting text will inspire readers to action. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE.

MAMA DUG A LITTLE DEN. 2018. Jennifer Ward. Illus. Steve Jenkins. Simon & Schuster, Beach Lane Books. 32 pp. ISBN-13: 9781481480376. Rhyming text introduces young readers to the different types of homes mother animals create for their young to provide shelter and protect them from harm. Sidebars and backmatter give additional facts about the animals and their habitats. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE. Second Grade THE BEE BOOK. 2018. Charlotte Milner. DK Children. 48 pp. ISBN-13: 9781465535. Detailed photographs and diagrams explain many facets of the honeybee’s life, from their anatomy, to their lifecycle, to the structures and activities within a hive. An online teacher’s guide provides extension projects. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE.

PERFECTLY PECULIAR PLANTS. 2018. Chris Thorogood. Illus. Catell Ronca. The Quarto Group/Words & pictures. 64 pp. ISBN-13: 9781786032850. Often overlooked in elementary classrooms, plants are important organisms in the world. Readers will explore how humans use plants, how they live in symbiotic relationships with other plants and animals, and that some plants are carnivorous. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE. Third Grade THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: A TRUE STORY ABOUT AN ACCIDENTAL INVENTION (REALLY!). 2018. Barry Wittenstein. Illus. Chris Hsu. Charlesbridge. 32 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1580897457. Earle Dickson’s wife was prone to minor injuries, and he was the son of a doctor and worked at Johnson & Johnson. This chance combination, along with Earle’s perseverance, led to the invention of the famous Band-Aid. Told with humor and supported by cartoon-style drawings, this story of the now-famous invention is perfect for reading aloud. STANDARD 4: ENGINEERING. NOTHING STOPPED SOPHIE: THE STORY OF THE UNSHAKABLE MATHEMATICIAN SOPHIE GERMAIN. Cheryl Bardoe. Illus. Barbara McClintock. Little, Brown Books for Readers. 40 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0316278201. With a


brilliant mind and sheer determination, French mathematician Sophie Germain worked tirelessly to solve a problem about sound vibration patterns for years before finally achieving success. Whimsical illustrations and inspiring biographical text will engage and inspire readers. STANDARD 1: PHYSICAL SCIENCE. Fourth Grade THE WRIGHT BROTHERS: NOSE-DIVING INTO HISTORY (EPIC FAILS #1). 2018. Ben Thompson and Erik Slader. Illus. Tim Foley. Roaring Brook Press. 128 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1250150561. Cartoonstyle pen and ink drawings support the text of this chapter book that chronicles the history of flight innovations, with a focus on the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Highlights of unexpected failures over time serve as a reminder of the magnitude of the logistical challenges to achieve flight. A timeline summarizes attempts and successes throughout history. STANDARD 4: ENGINEERING. NATIONAL PARKS OF THE U.S.A. 2018. Kate Siber. Illus. Chris Turnham. Wide Eyed Editions. 112 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1847809766. Twenty-one national parks are depicted through captivating text that makes readers feel as if they are on a cross-country exploration of these treasured lands. A must-have for all fourth graders as they can get a pass for free access to national parks for the year. STANDARD 2: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE.


Fifth Grade ASTRONAUT, AQUANAUT: HOW SPACE SCIENCE AND SEA SCIENCE INTERACT. 2018. Jennifer Swanson. National Geographic Children’s Books. 96 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1426328671. This informational text compares and contrasts the exploration of space and the Earth’s oceans. Timelines, captioned pictures, a glossary, and index add to the ease of using this book as a go-to resource about exploration of the unknown. STANDARD 2: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE.

HOW WE GOT TO NOW: SIX INNOVATIONS THAT MADE THE MODERN WORLD. 2018. Stephen Johnson. Viking Books for Young Readers. 160 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0425287781. This non-narrative informational text focuses on six innovations: glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light. The history and nature of science is presented in a seamless manner and the innovations we take for granted today are chronicled throughout history. Captioned photos, a bibliography, additional resources, and an index make this a comprehensive text about innovations. STANDARD 1: PHYSICAL SCIENCE AND STANDARD 4: ENGINEERING.

13: 978-1771472876. Owlkids Books. Using colorful drawings, readers explore the many ways in which they can observe patterns in nature. Descriptions for the major types of patterns support the illustrations. STANDARD 2: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE.

Primary Honorable Mention

WHEN SPARKS FLY: THE TRUE STORY OF ROBERT GODDARD, THE FATHER OF US ROCKETRY. 2018. Kristen Fulton. Illus. Diego Funck. Margaret K. McElderry Books. 40 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1481460989. Through tinkering, experimenting, and problemsolving, Robert Goddard eventually turned his boyhood dream of making things fly into the reality of supporting rocket design for the US space program. Cartoon-style drawings and concise text make this a perfect read-aloud for the generation that may go to Mars! STANDARD 4: ENGINEERING.

COUNTING ON KATHERINE HOW KATHERINE JOHNSON SAVED APOLLO 13. 2018. Helaine Becker Illus. Dow Phumiruk. 40 pp. ISBN-13: 9781250137524. Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/ Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). This remarkable story describes the obstacles and challenges one woman overcame to help Apollo 13 successfully navigate to the moon and back. Experiences from her childhood help young readers connect to Katherine. STANDARD 2: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE AND STANDARD 4: ENGINEERING. FLOW, SPIN, GROW LOOKING FOR PATTERNS IN NATURE. 2018. Patchen Barss. Illus. Todd Stewart. 32 pp. ISBN-


MAE AMONG THE STARS. 2018. Roda Ahmed. Illus. Stasia Burrington. HarperCollins. 40 pp. ISBN-13: 9780062651730. This picture book biography will inspire readers to follow their dreams and reach for the stars, even when the odds of achieving their goals seems impossible. STANDARD 2: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE. Intermediate Honorable Mention

ANIMAL DISCOVERIES. 2018. Tamra B. Orr. 32p. Capstone Press. 32 pp. ISBN13: 978-1543526196. High-quality pictures and informative text introduce readers to

some of the most recently discovered – and unusual! – species on the planet, such as the hog-nosed rat and the ghost ant. Realizing that there are still so many species to discover will broaden readers’ perspectives about the diversity of life. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE. CHAMPION: THE COMEBACK TALE OF THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT TREE. 2018. Sally Walker. Henry Holt and Co. 144 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1250125231. Blending history and science, this book chronicles the impact of an invasive species that has devastated the American chestnut tree population. Even today, scientists are attempting to find ways to restore this iconic symbol of the forest. Suitable for 5th grade and up. STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE.


Authors: Dr. Jeff Thomas and Dr. Joyce Gulley, University of Southern Indiana; Dr. Kristin Rearden ( ) and Dr. Amy Broemmel, ( ), University of Tennessee References Gulley, J., & Thomas, J. A. (2012). Spotlight on science: Introducing the Indiana science trade book annual reading list. The Indiana Reading Journal, 45(1), 31-35. Resources

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