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Building Bridges Between Research and Practice: Reflecting Upon the Results of the 2019 WHAT’S HOT in Literacy Survey



The What's Hot in Literacy Annual Survey serves as a springboard for idea generation and reflection about what areas of literacy should be a focus of attention.
Building Bridges Between
Research and Practice:
Reflecting Upon the Results
of the 2019 What’s Hot in
Literacy Survey
Stephanie Grote-Garcia
University of the Incarnate Word
Evan Ortlieb
St. Johns University
Bethanie Pletcher
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Michael Manderino
Northern Illinois University
Vassiliki (“Vicky”) Zygouris-Coe
University of Central Florida
Juan Araujo
Texas A&M University - Commerce
Alexandra Babino
Texas A&M University - Commerce
e What’s Hot in Literacy Annual Survey serves as a springboard for idea genera-
tion and reflection about what areas of literacy should be a focus of attention. In this
article, the authors share information about three of the “hottest” topics from the 2019
survey: digital literacies, disciplinary literacies, and English learners. Each discussion
includes an introduction to and a definition of the topic, its relevance and signifi-
cance, and why it is a “hot” topic, and should be a “hot” topic. Future directions are
also considered.
Keywords: what’s hot survey, digital literacies, disciplinary literacies, emergent
e What’s Hot in Literacy survey has been on the forefront of building bridges
between research and practice since its debut over two decades ago (Cassidy &
Wenrich, 1997). Now in its third decade, the What’s Hot in Literacy survey
has documented persistent change from year to year among the literacy topics
and issues receiving attention. In a summary of hot topics spanning 20 years,
Cassidy, Ortlieb, and Grote-Garcia (2016) report the following trends within
five-year intervals: a) 1997-2001: balanced reading instruction, early interven-
tion, phonemic awareness, and phonics; b) 2002-2006: direct instruction, early
intervention, fluency, high-stakes assessments, phonemic awareness, phonics,
scientific reading research, and practice; c) 2007-2011: adolescent literacy, ESL/
ELL, high-stakes assessments, and literacy coaches/reading coaches; and d)
2012-2016: college and career readiness, common core standards, high-stakes
assessments, and informational/nonfiction text. Such trends reflect multiple ele-
ments of the indicated time periods such as classroom practices, literacy research,
and policy.
Not surprisingly, the topics receiving the most attention, while also reflect-
ing trends for 2019, were digital literacies, disciplinary literacies, early literacy,
and English learners (Cassidy, Grote-Garcia, & Ortlieb, 2019). ese topics
represent a new set of core literacies (digital literacies, disciplinary literacies,
and early literacy) for today’s learners (the growing number of English learners
nationwide). While it is widely known that these topics are relevant to cur-
rent literacy research and instruction, much remains to be learned about how
to improve upon these tenets of literacy in K-12 classrooms. What follows is
a discussion about what educators need to know about each of these topics to
improve upon pedagogy as well as student literacy achievement.
Expanding Digital Literacies Pedagogies
Digital texts and tools have proliferated in the past few decades both in and out
of school contexts. Digital devices and networks have aected the ways we share
ideas and communicate. In a recent Pew Internet survey, 95% of teens reported
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 3
possessing a smartphone, with 45% reporting they are frequently online and
another 44% reporting they are online several times per day (Anderson & Jiang,
2018). Such unfettered access to online texts and resources and collaborative
sharing platforms create opportunities to use and produce a vast range of materi-
als. Online environments provide spaces to share, revise, and remix digital con-
tent, these digital potentials allow individuals and groups to connect both locally
and globally, and contribute to an ever-expanding base of knowledge.
e Internet, online information, and networked communication tools
mediate learning in and out of school. e availability of digital texts and tools
widens and amplifies opportunities to develop and deepen learning. Digital
devices are increasingly used for accessing and sharing information, creating
representations of conceptual thinking, and encouraging dialogic interchanges.
Internet use and global networking that address these purposes unleash vast
potential and a multitude of real-world contexts in which learners may engage
as critical and agentive citizens. As a result, it is imperative that digital literacies
are cultivated in school environments. Digital literacies are multifaceted and
multidimensional and use digital tools to both consume and produce knowl-
edge. Learners who are digitally literate need to develop flexible mindsets and
competencies to make choices and interact and engage in an open, networked
society (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006; Phillips & Manderino, 2015). In addition,
digital literacies represent the multitude of ways people collaborate, create, and
communicate using digital texts and tools.
Classroom and youth practices have generated the need for comprehen-
sive policies regarding literacy and technology in education. School adoption of
1:1 computing has accelerated access to new technologies, but has not necessarily
created equity in terms of use, instruction, or assessment. As educators, we can
no longer sideline the learning of these essential literacies; doing so leaves digital
literacies instruction to chance. Under-resourced communities and students who
find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide may not have regular
access to tools, devices, or contextualized practice in using them to advance their
learning (Leu et al., 2015; Leu, Forzani, & Kennedy, 2015). For many learners,
school is the best place to learn digital literacies in a formal way; however, many
schools have not provided such instruction. All students need opportunities to
learn the full range of digital literacies across the curriculum in order to be fully
literate in a digital age.
While digital literacies have remained “hot” and “very hot” (Ortlieb et
al., 2019), research and conceptualization of digital literacies have continually
tried to keep pace with the acceleration of digital texts and tools. Online read-
ing comprehension (Coiro, 2011), multimodality (New London Group, 1996),
digital literacies (Barron, Gomez, Pinkard, & Martin, 2014) have all been used
as conceptual frameworks, sites of empirical research, and the basis for policy and
position statements. As we enter the third decade of the 21stcentury, we need to
continue to examine the role of digital literacies as well as the classroom implica-
tions of teaching and learning in the digital age. e types of digital literacies
instruction that youth deserve are pedagogies that a) arm and sustain youth and
community practices, b) extend and deepen existing digital literacies practices in
and out of school, and c) problematizie and interrogate digital literacies practices.
ese pedagogies should serve as tools of justice and liberation to enable youth to
engage as critical and agentive individuals and community participants.
Afrming and Sustaining Pedagogies and Practices
Evidence of youth expertise in digital environments has been well documented
(Barron et al., 2014; Ito, Martin, Pfister, et al., 2018). is expertise can be lever-
aged for deeper literacy learning. Pedagogical approaches like cultural modeling
(Lee, 1995) have a long history of arming the literacy practices youth bring to
classrooms and the complexity of those practices that can be brought to bear on
academic tasks. Likewise, youth bring an array of repertoires of digital literacies
practices inside and outside of school. ese practices such as digital consump-
tion, curation, and creation (O’Byrne, 2018) are powerful levers for literacies
learning. In addition to arming these practices, digital literacies can and should
be used as culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris & Alim, 2018). Culturally
sustaining pedagogies use an asset-driven approach to the linguistic and literate
practices that serve to sustain individuals and communities (Paris & Alim, 2018).
An example of this may be the creation and circulation of a podcast that contains
content and voices from and for the community. e use of a podcast arms the
literate activities of youth and also serves as a vehicle for sustaining the digital,
linguistic, and multimodal practices of youth.
Extending and Deepening Pedagogies and Practices
Just as digital literacies of youth need to be armed and sustained, they also need
to be extended and deepened. While early research focused on online reading
comprehension (e.g., Coiro, 2011; Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004), the
nature of online texts and tools has also shifted. Also, the presence of images,
audio, and video has widened. Youth need specific instruction on how to source
online texts that are media-based. As the ease of creation and circulation of online
content advances, youth also require explicit instruction in the areas of digital
composition and storytelling. omas and Storniauolo (2016) contend that the
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 5
compositional practices of digital texts by youth serve to assert their participation
and voices in the world. Currently, while much of that practice is conducted out-
side of school, we might ask how we are teaching students to extend and deepen
their digital literacies practice.
Problematizing and Critical Examination of Pedagogies
and Practices
Finally, while the web has been celebrated for its potential to expand litera-
cies and widen democratic practice, it has also been a site for racist, misogynis-
tic, homophobic, and hateful rhetoric and influence as well as misinformation.
Digital literacies instruction needs to also take a critical turn to problematize and
interrogate the very spaces that can sow seeds of hate and discord. Youth deserve
instruction that examines the algorithms of oppression that further marginalize
people of color on the web (Noble, 2018). Critical media literacies (Morrell,
Duenas, García, & López, 2015) and critical web literacies are essential to digital
literacies instruction.
ese three areas of digital literacies pedagogies are neither mutually exclu-
sive nor hierarchical. Youth deserve arming, sustaining, extending, deepen-
ing, problematizing, and critical examination of digital texts tools, practices, and
power relationships in online spaces. As this topic has been and remains hot, it is
incumbent on us as literacy educators and researchers to keep pace with the ever-
changing nature of digital literacies and support students in these practices so
that the quest for justice and liberation through literacy is continuously pursued.
Looking Back, Looking Forward in
Disciplinary Literacy
e recent results from the What’s Hot in Literacy survey (Cassidy et al., 2019)
showed that the topic of disciplinary literacy is still considered to be very hot.
Interestingly enough, disciplinary literacy as a topic still remains hot even in the
midst of a decline in the “hot” status of the Common Core Standards (National
Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School
Ocers [NGA & CCSSO], 2010). According to Cassidy et al. (2019), there
seems to be a need in the field for an increased awareness of the specialized lit-
eracy demands of the disciplines on teachers and students.
Although there is an increase of publications in our field on the topic
of disciplinary literacy, we could not say that there is clarity in how literacy
researchers and practitioners define it. For example, should we refer to the topic
as “disciplinary literacy” or as “disciplinary literacies”? What is the dierence
between the two? If there is a dierence, is its root epistemological, conceptual,
or simply definitional? Some still conceptualize disciplinary literacy as a synonym
to content area literacy. According to this argument, isnt literacy in the content
areas the same, after all, as disciplinary literacy? Well, not quite. ere is still a
need in the field for a clear distinction between disciplinary and content area
literacy. is need not be aimed to impede on, or compete with, the value of
reading in the content areas for student learning. Instead, it should be aimed to
build educators’ and researchers’ knowledge base that will, in turn, create spaces
for interdisciplinary research and instructional collaborations among literacy and
disciplinary experts that will result in a new corpus of knowledge.
Disciplinary Literacy as a Hot Topic
e first and immediate answer to this question is, because since the beginning
of the last decade, research and educational reports have been highlighting
the need for students, especially adolescents, to engage in a more deep and
critical manner with disciplinary literacy learning (e.g., Lee & Spratley, 2010;
Langer, 2011; Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Engaging in disci-
plinary literacy learning goes beyond organizing ones thoughts about reading
or using specific study skills or strategies to study disciplinary texts. Instead,
it involves students developing content knowledge through participating in
and understanding how knowledge is created and shared in the discipline.
Without developing such knowledge, students are left ill-prepared to handle
the specialized nature of literacy in the disciplines and also limited in the lev-
els of content knowledge they can attain. Adolescent literacy today happens
inside and outside the walls of the traditional classroom. Considerations of
how students use multimodal tools and texts to learn are necessary as emerg-
ing technologies are integrated increasingly within core content area instruc-
tion. Partnering with other content, literacy, and technology experts to plan
across disciplines prepares students to use literacy skills for knowledge acquisi-
tion across content areas and contexts (Chandler-Olcott, 2017; International
Literacy Association, 2019).
Another answer to the above question comes from the National Report
Card results on reading. Although the National Assessment of Educational
Progress (NAEP) results are estimates of representative samples of student per-
formance at the national level, still, the 2019 report on Grade 8 Reading scores
showed that 34% of eighth- graders performed at or above the NAEP Proficient
rating in reading and 31 states experienced declines in reading compared to
2017 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019).
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 7
Disciplinary Literacy Dened
Disciplinary literacy refers to the ways of reading, writing, thinking, and rea-
soning within academic fields (Moje, 2007; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008,
2012, 2014). A disciplinary literacy framework emphasizes the unique tools
and discursive practices that disciplinary experts use to develop and communi-
cate content knowledge, participate in the work of that discipline, and create
disciplinary identity (Gee, 1996; McConachie & Petrosky, 2010; Moje, 2008;
Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012; Zygouris-Coe, 2012). e separation of literacy
and content teaching and learning has resulted in tensions, gaps, and even
misconceptions in the field and especially in practitioners’ understanding of
disciplinary literacies. e question is: Can we teach content without teaching
literacy and vice versa? Disciplinary literacies are pathways for content knowl-
edge development.
Disciplinary literacy oers a dierent instructional and learning frame-
work that emphasizes the unique tools and discursive practices that disciplinary
experts use to develop and communicate content knowledge, participate in the
work of that discipline, and create disciplinary identity (Gee, 1996; McConachie
& Petrosky, 2010; Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008, 2012, 2014;
Zygouris-Coe, 2015). For example, in science, while students are learning how
to form scientific explanations and arguments orally and in writing, they will also
be learning about scientific discourse, as well as developing scientific knowledge
and advanced and science-specific literacy skills (Osborne, 2010; Shanahan &
Shanahan, 2008). When educators teach students how to read the texts of science
(print or multimodal) using a scientific inquiry lens, students will be doing close
reading of texts, learning how language is used in science texts (Fang, 2004),
identifying claims and biases authors make in texts, and learning how to use
evidence from the texts to support (or not) a claim and then share their reason-
ing. Integrating disciplinary literacies in content teaching and learning can help
students acquire a deeper understanding of how knowledge is created, evaluated,
and communicated in each discipline.
Adopting a disciplinary literacy instructional framework will not neglect
the needs of novice readers and other readers who might require additional lan-
guage, content, and other academic supports in the content areas. Aside from
the dierent perspectives on the definition of disciplinary literacies, there is one
common notion that is guiding our eorts to further understand and research
the role of disciplinary literacies in student learning in 21st century contexts: each
discipline uses literacy in unique ways. As literacy researchers and educators, it
is our duty to forge disciplinary collaborations that will help produce a more
comprehensive understanding of disciplinary literacies.
Sample Innovative Practices: Learning from
Disciplinary Experts
For the purpose of this paper, we will share sample innovative tools and prac-
tices that are shaping our knowledge of disciplinary literacy in science. e
STEM Teaching Tools site has instructional tools for teaching science, technol-
ogy, engineering, and math (STEM). All research-to-practice tools are aligned
with the teaching of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NGSS
Lead States, 2013) and reflect the role of disciplinary literacy in science teaching
and learning.
What is 3dimentional learning in science and how to assess it? See
Learning to see the resources students bring to sense making. See
Making science instruction compelling for all students: Using cultural
formative assessment to build on learner interest and experience. See
How can I help my students learn science by productively talking
with each other? See
Is it important to distinguish between the explanation
and argumentation practices in the classroom? See http://
ese are other innovative ways of co-constructing disciplinary knowledge that
informs teacher practice and student learning and that are informative for spe-
cialized literacy professionals, researchers, and teacher educators who are learning
about the academic and literacy demands of science.
Sample Takeaways for Literacy Researchers and
Educators in Higher Education
Takeaway one. Content literacy and disciplinary literacy are two
dierent constructs that describe two dierent, and not mutually exclusive,
approaches to literacy teaching and learning (Fang & Coatoam, 2013; Gillis,
2014; Hillman, 2014; International Literacy Association, 2017; Shanahan &
Shanahan, 2012). What counts as knowledge, how knowledge is constructed,
and how language and literacy are used dier from discipline to discipline
(Moje, 2008).
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 9
Ta k e a wa y t w o . ere is a need for more disciplinary-focused instruction
to support the content and literacy needs of all students, especially in grades seven
through 12. is also calls for improvements in the preparation of secondary edu-
cation teachers and K-12 specialized literacy professionals. We need to create learn-
ing environments and provide high quality instruction that supports adolescents
content and literacy needs while simultaneously valuing their voices, context, and
socio-cultural identities to support their literacy development (Kazembe, 2017;
Moje, 2015). All students deserve equitable access and eective preparation for
school, college, careers, and life. Research collaborations and professional develop-
ment partnerships between higher education and schools/school districts are nec-
essary for the preparation and ongoing professional development of content area
teachers and specialized literacy professionals on disciplinary literacy (International
Literacy Association, 2015; Jacobs & Ippolito, 2015; Langer, 2011).
Takeaway three. As we navigate new interdisciplinary terrains in lit-
eracy teaching and learning, we need to challenge our knowledge, paradigms,
and research through new modes created by emerging technologies, new digital
literacy tools, texts, spaces, and contexts (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, & Leu,
2008; International Literacy Association, 2020). New literacies are multimodal,
dynamic, deictic, and multifaceted (Karchmer-Klein & Shinas, 2012; Leu,
Kinzer, Coiro, Castek, & Henry, 2013). Today’s multimodal texts, contexts, and
literacies require students to have dierent skills, strategies, and dispositions than
before (Chandler-Olcott, 2017; Manderino & Castek, 2016; Smith & Shen,
2017). e multimodality of 21st century teaching and learning poses new lit-
eracy challenges for teachers and students that call for positioning literacy in the
heart of all disciplinary work.
Future Directions
Although we have seen an increase in the amount of publications, reports, and
briefs on the topic of disciplinary literacy, several lingering gaps and questions
remain. e exciting and equally nagging issues we addressed in this paper, in
our view, paint a positive landscape of new opportunities for interdisciplinary
collaborations and advancement of knowledge and research that informs prac-
tice. Let us not forget that literacy is a complex, socially constructed process. e
multimodality of the 21st century, the situated diverse needs of students, teachers,
and schools, the spaces educators use to learn about research and practice, and the
evolving nature of literacy call for continued co-construction of new knowledge
about the nature, importance, and implementation of disciplinary literacy in
today’s classrooms.
From English Learners to Emerging Bilinguals and
Bi/multilingual Students
In the 24-year history of the What’s Hot survey, Cassidy and colleagues (2019)
note how English learners have consistently been a “hot”, “very hot” or “extremely
hot” topic (with the exception of two years in 2000 and 2001). On the one hand,
this continued trend is not surprising, as the children of (im)migrants are the
largest growing population in U.S. schools (Zong & Batalova, 2017) with many
schools experiencing a bilingual revolution (Jaumont, 2017). On the other hand,
what has changed across two and a half decades in increasing measure is the
terminology used to describe this student population as part of a greater para-
digmatic shift in multilinguals’ literacies.
In place of the term “English learner”, the terms “emergent bilingual”,
“emerging bilingual”, and “bi/multilingual” have grown in prominence. As
Martínez (2018) explains, English learner is a label that conceals more than
it reveals. It emphasizes what these students supposedly do not know instead of
highlighting what they do know” (p. 515). Instead, there is an emphasis on all
the languages, language varieties, and literacies in development, as part of each
student’s unique language architecture (Flores, 2019) that can be leveraged for
literacy, learning, and life. At the heart of this shift in terminology is a shift in
paradigm regarding multilingual students, from a deficit, partial view of students’
languages and literacies to an asset, robust view of students’ entire linguistic rep-
ertoire (García, 2009; García & Kleifgen, 2019).
Biliteracy Trajectories and Biliteracy Zones
is shift in focus and emphasis is not merely cosmetic, but rather deeply con-
nected to the distinct nature of bi/multilingual literacy and its implications
for their literacy development in schools (Gort, 2019). When viewed from a
monolingual English perspective, bi/multilingual students are often positioned
as struggling and in need of remediation, when in reality when taken from a
holistic bilingual view, bilingual students may be on a trajectory toward biliter-
acy (Butvilofsky, Hopewell, Escamilla, & Sparrow, 2017; Escamilla, Butvilofsky,
& Hopewell, 2018) that is dynamic, bidirectional, and idiosyncratic. In other
words, when participating in literacy instruction in two or more languages, bi/
multilingual students may develop high levels of literacy proficiencies within,
across, and beyond their named languages as languages, literacies, in distinctly
complex ways from monolinguals (Escamilla et al, 2014).
To operationalize a holistic view of biliteracy development, Escamilla and
colleagues (2014) created grade-level benchmark scores for emerging bilinguals’
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 11
reading. In their work, Latinx bilingual students whose Spanish and English read-
ing levels fell within a range of reading scores for each language and grade level
are in what they call the biliteracy zone. is refers to the range of scores on the
Evaluación del desarrollo de lecto-escritura (EDL) and Developmental Reading
Assessment (DRA), informal reading inventories to demonstrate grade-level
reading for emergent bilinguals (Celebration Press, 2007a, 2007b). According
to the biliteracy zone, emergent bilinguals are expected to show more advanced
reading growth in Spanish than in English, but over time will demonstrate high
levels of bilingual reading by the end of fifth grade. By creating a range of scores,
instead of one score that is considered on level, researchers and teachers “practi-
cally reinforce the dynamic, idiosyncratic nature of biliteracy growth for native
Spanish-speaking bilinguals” (Babino, 2017, p. 171).
Taking a Translanguaging and Multilanguaging Approach
to Literacy Instruction
Makalela (2019) reasons that a monolingual bias still exists in literacy
development practices and plays a role in the continuing “failure” of multi-
lingual students. e acquisition of literacy practices should not be viewed as
a set of autonomous skills, rather the first language should be harnessed to
increase access to knowledge and arm the unique positions of emergent bilin-
guals. is is especially evident in translanguaging. Otheguy and colleagues
(2015) define translanguaging as “the deployment of a speaker’s full linguis-
tic repertoire without regard for watchful adherence to the socially and politi-
cally defined boundaries of named (and usually national and state) languages”
(p. 283). García, in an interview, stated that this allows students to learn deeply,
while also equipping students to recognize when to use what features for what
purposes” (Grosjean, 2016, para. 5). So, translanguaging is both a theoretical
framework and a pedagogy that resists monolingual and monoglossic views of
bi/multilinguals’ literacies.
rough this work, educators are further coming to understand that
language learning is complex, sophisticated, and is often an extension of the
self; it is more dynamic than possessing the ability to move back and forth
between two languages or registers at the same time. In fact, García and
Keifgen (2019) conclude that translanguaging in literacy refers to the process
by which multilingual readers and writers leverage their entire semiotic reper-
toire. In light of this, McDermont (2015) asserts, “we must free learning from
permanent winning and losing situations, and when those who lose correlates
with race, class, and language dierences, we must confront how they have
been arranged to look like non-learners in contrast to children from more
privileged situations” (p. 347).
ere has also been a shift with respect to Latinx students. More recently,
research has focused on the needs of adolescent recent (im)migrants and their
needs as they adapt to high school settings. Flint, Dollar, and Stewart (2019)
conclude that to experience success emergent bilinguals need spaces that allow
them to be creative, have access to multimodality approaches, and work collab-
oratively with peers and their teachers. Nevertheless, research in this area is clearly
still needed to identify additional approaches, practices, and programs that work
with emergent bilinguals.
Future Directions with Respect to Emergent Bilinguals
ere is an impressive amount of literacy research that is occurring with respect
to the dierent approaches that are eective with emergent bilinguals; still there
are several topics that need to be studied in the coming years. For one, research
will be needed as educators consider the backdrop of the initiatives to return to
a phonics-intensive instructional approach and the implications it has for the
acquisition of literacy skills.
Furthemore, writing is still less often researched when compared to
reading—even though it is equally as important to the literacy development
of emergent bilinguals (Gort, 2006). As such, the academic community must
consider taking on the study of eective practices implemented at all grades, the
external resources or supports are in use, and whether writing is being used as a
tool for learning. In emergent bilingual settings, this is critical as it is necessary
to understand more about those who see writing as product versus those who see
writing as a process and versus those who see writing as meaning-making (García
& Kleifgen, 2019).
Alexander and Fox (2019) remind us that “reading research and instruc-
tion during the next decade will be positioned to pay greater attention to the
unique attributes and experiences of each learner” (p. 52). Given this charge, as
researchers it behooves us to look into the unique experiences of emergent bilin-
guals; for instance, the ways in which emergent bilinguals uniquely use YouTube
to communicate with friends, family, and other stakeholders.
We believe that another immediate avenue of study relates to ways mono-
lingual teachers develop a translanguaging/multilingual stance. Deroo and
Ponzio (2019) tell us taking on a translanguaging stance allows teachers “to see
bilingualism as one cohesive system, and invites teachers to create transformative
educational spaces where students’ multilingual identities are central instead of
peripheral” (p. 229). Given that more than 80 percent of classroom teachers are
Building Bridges Between Research and Practice 13
monolingual, it makes sense to explicitly study the process of the ways teachers
internalize this approach to their teaching stance.
Finally, we argue that initiatives and grants to prepare inservice and pre-
service teachers to meet the needs of emergent bilinguals needs further study.
Particularly, in what ways are university preparation programs changing the
conditions within their programs and other short-term oerings to prepare
21st century classroom teachers? Simply put, traditional models are no longer
appropriate to meet the needs of emergent bilinguals. Although it may be wish-
ful thinking, a historical analysis of the many grants and their outcomes might
inform the literacy community about what’s to be “hot” next.
Final Thoughts
How we see the world and our students shape our instruction. As specialized
literacy professionals, we must continue to engage in literacy learning around
hot topics to position ourselves as change agents. With the growing interest and
increased curricular expectations surrounding digital literacies (Maher, 2020),
best practices in teaching digital literacies (Ortlieb, Cheek, & Semingson, 2018)
that are also a best fit for the local context (Wilder & Msseemmaa, 2019) are
more needed than ever. Digital literacies are no longer supplemental to cur-
riculum and instruction; they are core literacies that must be developed in and
beyond the ELA classroom.
Preparing students to become mindful and engaged readers and writers
across print and digital media requires interdisciplinary collaboration, plan-
ning, and instruction (Lemley, Hart, & King, 2019). As schools continue
to pilot-test project-based learning where math, science, and ELA teachers
work together to facilitate projects across these content areas, more research
and applications will follow. The same adage applies for seeing the unique
abilities and needs of English Learners, a population historically margin-
alized. Equipping teachers with methods to leverage cultural currencies
and background experiences is on the agenda for educational researchers
charged with ensuring progress for all. And with those responsibilities comes
opportunities to provide preservice and inservice professional development.
Specialized literacy professionals are well positioned to impact their schools
and communities through literacy leadership and dedication to ensure every
child is given equitable learning environments for literacy development.
The What’s Hot in Literacy Annual Survey serves as a springboard for idea
generation and reflection about what areas of literacy should be a focus of
current attention.
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The chapter has two main foci. The focus of the first half of the chapter is to examine the types of literacy practices needed by young people to work in a contemporary digital environment. Policies that impact on the development of digital literacy development are explored. The aspects underpinning digital literacy are examined and a sociocultural approach explained. Aspects of safety and ethics are focused on. The first half concludes by discussing digital games and ways these can be used to develop digital literacies in schools. The second half of the chapter investigates the digital competencies that pre-service teachers can develop to support teaching of digital literacies. Different models for developing digital competencies are outlined. The aspect of critical understanding is then examined. This is followed by exploring digital story telling. Important considerations for developing digital competencies within and beyond university training are examined. The chapter then provides some suggestions for further research in this field.
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Adolescents who are newcomers in a country and beginning to acquire English as an additional language are often in secondary classrooms with teachers who do not speak their languages. Due to these communication obstacles, there is a great need for teachers to build relationships with their students while setting optimal conditions for literacy development across languages (e.g., English and Spanish) and domains (e.g., oral, written, and digital communication). Guided by tenets of culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy, the authors describe how two self‐identifying monolingual English‐speaking teachers formed relationships with high school newcomers during a summer literacy institute. The authors highlight three specific literacy activities that facilitated students’ oral, written, and digital literacy skills in both English and Spanish while also creating a space for caring relationships to form between students and teachers.
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We examined how infusing an inquiry-based Disciplinary Literacy Project (DLP) into a graduate literacy education class influenced elementary teachers’ knowledge about disciplinary literacies and how this knowledge influenced their instructional practices. Through the DLP, teachers in this study developed an awareness of the nuances of the literate practices within particular disciplines and demonstrated various ways of blending this disciplinary literacy knowledge into their instructional practices.Implications include using this form of inquiry as a means for professional development and collaborating with disciplinary experts to support teachers’ inclusion of discipline-specific habits of mind into their instruction.
This study considers the potential for translanguaging to disrupt monolingual ideologies through development of in-service teachers’ (ISTs) translanguaging stance. Using discourse analysis, we examined learning outcomes among five ISTs to consider what ideological constraints limited their adoption of a translanguaging stance and how, if at all, they moved beyond these constraints. Findings highlight micro-, meso-, and macrolevel influences that constrained ISTs’ adoption of translanguaging and the productive ways they imagined addressing these limitations. Included are implications for how teacher education might support teachers in adopting a translanguaging stance.
In this article, I argue that academic language is a raciolinguistic ideology that frames racialized students as linguistically deficient and in need of remediation. I propose language architecture as an alternative framing of language that can serve as a point of entry for resisting these raciolinguistic ideologies in both research and practice. I use this framework as a lens for analyzing the literacy demands of the Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Using data collected as part of a larger ethnographic study, I illustrate how Latinx children from bilingual communities have unique opportunities for engaging in the language architecture called for in the standards. I then describe a unit plan that I developed from this perspective. I end with a call for situating language architecture within broader political struggles seeking to dismantle the political and economic inequities that are the root causes of deficit perspectives of Latinxs and other racialized students.
The What’s Hot in 2019 survey was conducted to measure the amount of attention currently being given to literacy topics in research and practice. Twenty-five literacy leaders were surveyed; results were subsequently categorized into three levels: a) extremely hot or cold, b) very hot or cold, or c) hot or cold This year, there were four topics deemed “very hot”: digital/multimodal literacies; disciplinary literacies; early literacy; and English learners/ESL. A current analysis of timely research and practice is provided of both “very hot” topics as well as “should be hot” topics like comprehension, policy and advocacy, struggling readers, and writing. Teachers, administrators, and researchers alike can benefit from staying up to date with hot topics and current issues in literacy; implications for policy and practice regarding literacy instruction and developing the needs of diverse literacy learners are discussed.
In 2008, Moje pondered responsive literacy teaching to what end, before arguing that disciplinary literacy should provide the answer in secondary school classrooms. Since then, research into literacy within school disciplines has foregrounded the reading, writing, and reasoning of experts within disciplines while backgrounding (or ignoring) worthy problems and student dignity. Using the case study of Neema, a 16‐year‐old Tanzanian student, the authors seek to humanize and pragmatize the answer to Moje’s question, suggesting that disciplinary literacies and responsive pedagogy should be the means to a vital end: the elevated consciousness of students. Only when teaching supports how students develop greater consciousness of their presence in the world and of their inherent worth can teaching be considered responsive.
The following article explores the “hot topics” in literacy for 2018, keeping the tradition of the “What’s hot in literacy” survey that was first published in 1997. Expert panelists from around the globe provided insight into current trends and issues in the field of literacy, resulting in digital and disciplinary literacies being classified as the hottest topics this year. The What’s Hot in Literacy 2018 survey aims to keep teachers and educators alike up to date on current literacy research and practice.