The Missouri Reader is a peer reviewed journal. It has been in existence for 42 years. Glenda Nugent and I are the current co-editors. The journal is published twice a year. Each publication is timed to come out just before the state-wide conferences the Missouri Literacy Association cosponsors. The Missouri Early Learning conference starts a week from today, Friday Nov. 9th. Accordingly, our newest journal is being published today.
Some highlights from this issue include:
An interview with Eric Litwin, author of Pete the Cat- I Love My White Shoes, The Nut Family series and the Groovey Joe books
An Interview with Jennifer Serravallo about her new book
An article entitled Thinking Aloud to Build Students’ Comprehension by Dr. Molly Ness
An article entitled A Picture REALLY IS Worth a Thousand Words by Julie Bryant and Tamara Samek;
The 2018 MO-STAR List reported by Jennifer Fox- includes multiple links to the best new trade books in science
We also provide Information on Early Learning Conference in Mo
There are also many other articles, including ones written by teachers from our state (and beyond!)
We are grateful to all the contributors for the efforts and also for the diligent work of our editorial board. Our reviewers are well credentialed. Our journal allows beginning writers, often practicing teachers who are also university students in teaching programs, to publish right along side well known experts in literacy. We especially encourage action research articles published by teachers working with a university professor. Our readers benefit from this eclectic group of authors. Our new authors get their first experience in publishing in a peer reviewed journal. All and all it is a win-win situation. Readers of this blog interested in writing for the journal can find information on submissions on the last page of the current journal.
Let me invite you to go to the journal using the following link: https://joom.ag/7fWY. I think you will find valuable ideas and information. I thank you in advance for having a look.
Missouri Reader is a publication of the Missouri Literacy Association (an ILA affiliate). We certainly would like any of you living in the Midwest region to come to the Mo Early Learning Conference. As I said it is next Frida/Saturday and is held in St. Louis Mo. Mary Howard will be one of the keynotes. So, we hope you will meet us in St. Louis!
I’ve already discussed how one educational leader, Timothy Rasinski, uses songs as an important part of his fluency program. Today I have very a special guest on the blog, Eric Litwin. Eric is a well-known children’s author and educator. His website describes him as follows:
“Eric Litwin is a song singing, guitar strumming, # 1 New York Times Best Selling, award winning author who brings early literacy and music together.
He is the original author of the Pete the Cat series as well as the author of The Nuts and Groovy Joe.
Eric believes early literacy is more joyful and successful when the child is fully engaged with the book. He calls this interactive reading.
Eric’s books have sold over 12.5 million copies, been translated into 17 languages, and won 25 literacy awards including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award.”
Regular readers of my blog know that I first met Eric when he did an all-day presentation about music and literacy. In an earlier blog, I described how he engaged teachers, myself included, in a day long workshop at the annual Write to Learn conference in Missouri @WritetoLearnMO. It was held in February of this year. By the end of the workshop he had us all writing our own songs- songs that were designed to help our students on the road to literacy. He also shared his wonderful books with us. I talked with Eric after the workshop and he agreed to be interviewed by the Missouri Reader for the fall issue. Glenda Nugent, my co-editor on the Missouri Reader has completed that interview. More about that a little later. I asked Eric if he would consider talking to the readers of this blog about the topic of Singing Your Way into Fluency. He agreed.
I asked Eric how music can help readers, especially beginning readers. Here is the core of what he had to say:
“The components of song including melody, rhyme, rhythm/cadence, and repetition facilitate prediction. Prediction is essential for an emerging reader to successfully read a book. This combined with appropriate phonetics and sight words is empowering for emerging independent readers. I really do believe early literacy is more joyful and successful when the child is fully engaged with the book. This is the heart of interactive reading. This is the what my books try to do, engage the child and at the same time teach the child things they need to know in order to become successful readers.”
He went on to say:
“When I’m writing, a critical issue for me is to clarify my book’s message. The main message of a book can be incorporated into the song increasing the success of the message. One example of this can be found in The Nut Family, Keep Rolling.The song says, “Keep Rolling”. This reinforces and communicates the essence of that book’s message.”
Eric has certainly written books that do all the things he talks about and more. Here is an example:
Groovey Joe Dance Party Countdown! was the winner of this year’s One Book 4 Colorado program. That’s the governor of Colorado reading the book aloud to a group of children. This book is a perfect example of what Eric was talking about. I can guarantee it is engaging. It is definitely predictable. Got a copy for my grandchild. She loved it! She just finished preschool. This book, and others like it, really do lay the foundation for so many things. That includes building the background that children need to effectively use phonics. Just as important it gives the children experience in how to make meaning from the words they see, hear and sing. Visit Eric’s website to see for yourself. https://www.ericlitwin.com/. When you do be sure to scroll down the page and click on the audio link for the song Disco Party Bow Wow which is pictured below. We got to see him perform it live at our conference, and the teachers in the room all loved it. More importantly, so did my granddaughter. I predict that your beginning readers will also love it and learn from it.
This song uses a form of “call and response”. Sing it with your children. It helps when children look at the lyrics of a song when they sing. Use the book. You’ll be amazed at how much they pick up when you use that strategy. You don’t need to be able to sing yourself. Eric’s audio does that for you. I’ve spent lots of time already exploring this site- the downloads, the newest books. It is a treasure trove of materials that can help you help your beginning readers. I think Eric’s work is an example of reading instruction that is both art and science. He is serious about both. His musical books are unique because they bring narrative and music together. Want to read more about Eric and his thoughts about literacy? Check out the fall issue of Missouri Reader. It’s free. To subscribe go to the current issue https://joom.ag/8cML and click on the subscribe bar on the left side of the reading page. Once you are subscribed, you’ll receive future journals, including Glenda’s interview with Eric in the upcoming fall issue.
Here are some additional links to Eric’s materials:
Next week I will expand the blog topic. It will become “Singing and Writing Your Way into Fluency”. I’ll tell you about some of my other favorite children’s books that include the use of music. Not all of them are just for beginning readers, some are for older readers and deal with topics that are important to them. I’ll talk about how to look for writing craft in these books and teach your students to use that craft in their own writing. That way they can also write their way into fluency! As always- I value your comments and suggestions about the blog and its content.
Happy Reading and Writing
Dr. Sam Bommarito (a.k.a., fan of Eric, friend of Groovy Joe)
Blog content Copyright 2018 by Dr. Sam Bommarito
Content from Eric Litwin’s website is copyrighted & used with permission