This is a text about the beliefs, issues and practices at the forefront of literacy education - language, ethnic, and academic diversity; authentic assessment; social construction of meaning and knowledge - explored through the lens of a cohesive instructional design, the Book Club Programme. As such, it provides a well-researched pedagogical model. Commentaries by eminent literacy scholars outside the project provide an expanded perspective on the many issues raised by the chapter authors. The resulting multiplicity of voices - including those of students (the authors of chapter 10) who are fifth-grade participants in the Book Club Programme - is a feature of this volume.
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Susan I. McMahon, PhD, is a professor of reading and language in the Curriculum and Instruction Program at National-Louis University, where she teaches master's- and doctoral-level students. She began her professional career as an English teacher and taught at both the middle and high school levels in rural, urban, and suburban settings for 16 years. After completing her PhD in literacy development with an emphasis in reading, Susan accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught for 7 years. Her research interests focus on classroom-based assessment of students' comprehension. She has spent several years working with districts to develop assessment tools that inform instruction. Her publications include "The Book Club Connection: Literacy Learning and Classroom Talk"and several book chapters and journal publications, including "Fifth Graders Helping Peers Discuss Texts in Student-Led Groups, "which won the Harold E. Mitzel Award for Meritorious Contribution to Educational Practice through Research. Susan continues to work with elementary school teachers to improve their literacy instruction and assessment.
Jacqueline Wells, MS, earned her BA in elementary education from the University of Iowa and her MS in reading curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1998, the International Reading Association (IRA) awarded her a Teacher as Researcher Grant. She was also a presenter at annual conventions of the IRA on topics such as student discourse, Book Club, and integrated curriculum. Jacqueline has 16 years of teaching experience at the elementary level and is currently a fifth-grade teacher in the small, suburban community ofWaunakee, Wisconsin. In her current school district, she serves as building coordinator in communication arts, member of the contract negotiations team, and mentor to new teachers. In 2005, her peers elected her Teacher of the Year.
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