Friday, June 15, 2012

Designing K-3 Professional Support through iBooks Author: A Look at a Summer Literacy Project

I. The Project
This summer I will be working to support teachers and children in K-3 summer schools scheduled at 16 sites in a city. The focus of our work will be on the prevention of reading difficulties. For the last several weeks I have been busy creating eBooks for teachers as professional support for their work. Each book is aligned and helps to explicate the pedagogy and content of the literacy project I designed. 

Four literacy/learning structures dominate the 3-hour block in kindergarten and grade 1 and three in the 90 minute block in grades 2 and 3. These include:
  • interactive read aloud with quality children's books
  • shared, choral, echo, & paired reading/writing/performing (I designed a shared reading anthology featuring diverse texts with city emphasis)
  • guided literacy group (guided reading, guided phonics, and guided writing) with multicultural texts
  • inquiry centers

There will be internal supports (master teachers, principals) and external supports (coaches from my company and myself) along with the eBook guides.  Below are two pages from the 42-page Interactive Read Aloud Guide. In this eBook each of the selected read aloud texts are outlined and include:
  1. book introduction
  2. vocabulary selection
  3. text dependent questions aligned to CCSS [ELA and mathematics]
  4. aesthetic questions and engagements designed to invite embodiment of the text. 
What is significant about iBook Author is that it allowed me to embed specific video of excellent teachers doing the teaching work that is described in the guide, along with slideshows, hyperlinks, images and text.  I have been fortunate to have video of great teachers like Michele Damiano and Barbara Cummings teaching.  I am at the stage where I have just uploaded the books via iTunes Producer so that they can be published and then made available for the teachers to download (if the choose) for their use.

Here are some sample pages:

II. Read Aloud & Guided Texts

The read aloud texts selected include:

  • Aruego, Jose.  (2002). Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom. Illustrated by Ariane Dewey. San Diego, CA: Gulliver Books.
  • Brenner, Barbara. (1997).  Thinking About Ants (big book format). Illustrated by Carol Schwartz. New York: Mondo Books.
  • Collier, Bryan. (2004). Uptown. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Cotten, Cynthia. (2002). At the Edge of the Woods: A Counting Book. Illustrated by Reg Cartwright. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Jenkins, Steve. (2011). Actual Size. New York: Sandpiper.
  • Thong, Roseanne. (2000). Round as a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes. Illustrated by Grace Lin. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
First Grade

Second Grade
Third Grade
The linkages between students seeing themselves represented in the text and reading comprehension (Bell & Clark, 1998; Bishop, 1990; ) is well established. So too is the importance of teachers modeling with mentor texts and guided texts that are inclusive (Gangi, 2008; McNair 2008; Scroggins & Gangi, 2004).  The guided literacy and take home to read books were selected with this in mind.

Guided Reading Collection from Lee & Low Books (Text Levels: 1-40)

  • Big Cats, Little Cats
  • What Do You See at the Pond? 
  • How Do I help?  
  • What Can Fly? 
  • First Day of School 
  • Family Picnic 
  • This Is My Home
  • Batter Up 
  • Jump Rope
  • What Time is It? 
  • Best Friends 
  • My Family 
  • Laundry Day 
  • What a Street 
  • We Eat Rice 
  • I Play Soccer 
  • I Make Clay Pots
  • At the Park
  • In the Mountains 
  • I Need to Ask You Something 
  • Block Party
  • The Dashiki 
  • Ice Cream Money 
  • Go Go Gumbo 
  • Car Wash 
  • Chinatown Adventure 
  • Confetti Eggs 
  • Living in An Igloo
  • The Best Thing 
  • Silent Sam
  • The Goat Goes to Town
  • At the Firehouse with Dad
  • Pop Pop and Grandpa
  • Surprise Moon 
  • Can You Top That? 
  • David's Drawings 
  • Leo and the Butterflies 
  • African Dance: Drumbeat in Our Feet 
  • Allie's Basketball Dream 
  • Rainbow Joe and Me
  • My Steps
  • Babu's Song 
  • Under the Lemon Moon 
  • DeShawn Days 
  • Saturday at the New You 
  • Strong to the Hoop 
  • Richard Wright and the Library Card 
  • Abuela's Weave 
  • Baseball Saved Us
  • Joe Louis, My Champion
Frog & Toad, Jamaica, Carlos, Song Lee, Hey L'il D, Ivy & Bean, Nikki & Deja, Julian, Mice & Beans, Danitra Brown, Dyamonde Daniel, and Koya Delaney

So the one thing I don't have in place that I know would make a difference would be a handful of iPads/iPod Touches in each classroom with some specific apps that I have used with other children or have seen used.  I am trying to figure out how to get that done--if not across all 16 sites at least at a few sites.  If you have any ideas let me know.

Works Cited 

Bell, Y.R. & Clark, T.R. (1998).  Culutrally relevant radign material as related to comprehension and recall in African American children. Journal of Black Psychology, 24 (4), 455-475.
Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives, 6, ix-xi.
Gangi, J. M. (2008). The unbearable whiteness of literacy instruction: Realizing the implications of the proficient reader research. MultiCultural Review, 17(2), 30-35.
McNair, J. C. (2008b). The representation of authors and illustrators of color in school-based book clubs. Language Arts, 85(3), 193-201.
Scroggins, M. J. & Gangi, J. M. (2004). Paul Laurence who? Invisibility and misrepresentation in children’s literature and reading and language arts textbooks. MultiCultural Review, 13(3), 34-43.

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