Collaborations for Literacy: Creating an Integrated Language Arts Program for Middle Schools

Collaborations for Literacy: Creating an Integrated Language Arts Program for Middle Schools

Collaborations for Literacy: Creating an Integrated Language Arts Program for Middle Schools

Collaborations for Literacy: Creating an Integrated Language Arts Program for Middle Schools

Synopsis

The best of middle school teaching is "learning by doing" and is interdisciplinary. This book ties it all together and offers a complete, innovative program, from vision, through planning, implementation, and assessment. The program is accomplished through the collaboration of the school library media specialist and the language arts teacher. Senator outlines ways in which they can collaboratively plan, teach, and assess units which use language arts as tools. She includes specific instructional programs, suggestions for staff development, examples of questions, organizers, and units for grades six through eight, ideas for creating schedules, and methods of working together to develop materials for instruction.

Excerpt

School library media specialists (LMS) have a role to play in creating a literate community in our secondary schools, especially in the middle schools. Working with teachers and students, they can create an environment in which learners develop an interest in ideas and words, and they can help them use these words and ideas more effectively. The school community has to compete with the instant gratification and glitz of MTV, Nintendo, videos, TV, and cable. Commanding the interest and attention of our adolescents has become a major task. On the other hand, we are fortunate because literacy has now become a national concern. Whether these fears and concerns have been generated by the book Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson et al. 1984) or by the business world's perceived need for adults able to think and read critically and equipped with the tools of information literacy, this movement has reached the top of the educational agenda.

After elementary school, reading for other than school assignments drops off. MTV and videos compete for the student's attention and time, as do sports practice and games, and even jobs, all of which pull students away from forming the habit of reading. Thus, our problem is not only with the illiterate, but with those who know how to read but do not. Educators have to work to create a school climate (not just a library climate) that is based on interest in ideas, books, and words. Because of the proliferation of data in this Information Age, schools must give students opportunities to evaluate and use information to solve problems. Moreover, because we live in a multimedia society, we must have an array of methods for fostering students" interest in words and ideas. Our approach has to be on many levels and in many areas (Senator 1988, 14- 15).

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