Academic journal article Language Arts

Deepening Literacy Learning: Art & Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms

Academic journal article Language Arts

Deepening Literacy Learning: Art & Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms

Article excerpt

Deepening Literacy Learning: Art & Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms by Mary Ann Reilly, Jane M. Gangi, and Rob Cohen, Information Age Publishing, 2010, 412 pp., ISBN 978-1- 60752- 457- 1

Reilly, Gangi, and Cohen's book offers an important investigation into the essential and authentic intersection between literacy and artistic practice. In their work, Deepening Literacy Learning: Art & Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms, the authors provide teachers and preservice teachers with essential tools for helping their students to compose meaning through multiple symbol systems.

The foundation for this guidance is in the authors' assertion that when literal meaning is recast into another sign system such as art, music, dance, theater, storytelling, or poetry, then the process of transmediation occurs. As an art educator, I describe this process as ekphrasis. But whichever term is used, the recasting of one art form (such as writing or other sign systems) into another form requires that a learner have a thorough comprehension of the concept at hand as well as a deep understanding that would lead to a thoughtful explanation. This process is the type of complex learning that the authors find lacking in traditional or conventional classroom settings. Toward this sophisticated and essential learning, the authors affirm that in profound and unique ways, ekphrasis or transmediation deepens literacy learning by utilizing artful engagements.

In an important extension beyond typical learning contexts, the authors report that sign systems are frequently situated within specific social practices. …

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