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In this editorial, we reflect on the changes to The Reading Teacher in Volume 65. Although we focus on aesthetics, rather than the content, we do so to provide an overview of the changes, offer context for the cover photographs, and recognize the work of the photographers. However, as noted in the editorial, these changes to the appearance would be of little consequence without compelling and quality content. We are grateful to the authors, reviewers, section editors, IRA staff, and Wiley Publications, for their dedication and thoughtful work.
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A photograph is usually looked at—seldom looked into.
As we reach the final issue in our first volume year, we return to where we left off in our initial editorial: We hope that you find just the right mix of articles, teaching tips, columns, and commentaries to motivate you in your important work with students. Some will resonate as your favorite flavor, whereas others may be pink vanilla (see September 2010 editorial). Possibly within the array of articles in Volume 65, you found not only your favorite flavor, but also new favorites.
We also shared our enthusiastic vision that a new cover design, featuring authentic photographs of children engaged in genuine literacy experiences, would capture the current, relevant, and contemporary content found within The Reading Teacher. We are hopeful that, like us, you have found the authenticity in these cover photographs depicting “real students doing real reading and writing” and focusing on literacy inside and outside of the classroom.
Clearly, changes to the appearance of The Reading Teacher would be of little consequence without compelling and quality content. Whereas the content of The Reading Teacher is tangible, the photographs are somewhat abstract in the absence of context. Thus the focus on aesthetics in this editorial is not intended to detract from the content; rather, our purpose is to contextualize the cover photographs.
The photographs in the first two issues were taken at the I Can Read Program of Southern Illinois (ICR). This afterschool reading program for K–5 students began with the vision of Margaret Nesbitt (ICR Director, in photograph along with Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Rita Cheng, listening to a student read the poem she wrote) and her high school class of 1948. With a modest budget, the program operates through support from community volunteers.
The September cover, 65(1), featured two children partner reading at I Can Read. On the October cover, 65(2), a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity member and undergraduate student at SIUC was volunteering his time reading with a student in a quiet space they found in the hallway.
The photographs in the next two issues were taken at Saluki Kids’ Academy, an outreach program in the College of Education and Human Services at SIUC. The Saluki Kids’ Academy, funded by gifts and donations, capitalizes on university resources to provide academic, enrichment, and recreational experiences for children from low-income families, who typically do not have access to these types of programs.
The Saluki Kids’ Academy partnered with I Can Read to offer a reading/summer camp. In doing so, graduate students working on their masters’ degrees in reading provided individualized literacy tutoring to struggling readers and writers. In addition, the children engaged in hands-on learning (e.g., visiting the campus fishery, vermicomposting center, university museum, and river flume) to build content knowledge in the sciences, arts, and social sciences. Andrew Podoll, the Saluki Kids’ Academy environmental science/geology expert, is also the brilliant photographer of the September, October, and November cover photos.
The November cover, 65(3), was a photograph taken at reading camp. The graduate student was working one on one with a second-grade student outside of a classroom at the education building. The December/January cover, 65(4), was also taken at reading camp. Melissa Korando, a third-grade teacher, photographed a second-grade boy reading a book while he was savoring the summer sunshine.
On the cover of the February issue, 65(5), two siblings, ages 4 and 5, were enjoying some of their favorite books at home in the photograph taken by their mother. In the March issue, 65(6), the cover photograph (also taken by Andrew Podoll) portrays a birds-eye view of guided reading in a Title I classroom with a small group of kindergarten students.
Diane Barone took the photograph on the cover of the April issue, 65(7), while visiting a fourth-grade classroom in Las Vegas. The students were working on a report about a −self-selected country. In the photograph on the cover of this issue, 65(8), Andrew Podoll captures a graduate student working with a kindergarten student at Saluki Kids’ Academy reading camp.
Along with the new cover design were changes to the format within the journal, which included pictures within the articles, the layout, and the organization. We hope you agree that these changes have made The Reading Teacher visually appealing and more reader-friendly. Members of the International Reading Association submitted many of the photographs found within the articles. We plan on continuing to use pictures within the articles and urge all readers to submit photographs of authentic reading and writing. Detailed information on submitting photographs is available here: www.reading.org/General/Publications/index/RTContributePhotos.aspx
In terms of organization, we opted to vary the ordering of pieces. Thus you might have noticed a teaching tip first, a column second, an article third, and an invited piece after that. This organizational decision was purposeful, as it reflects the equal value we place on all of the content in the journal.
Our goal was for each issue to include a blend of the following: Teaching Tips, original articles, Views From the Chalkboard, section columns, and an invited piece in The Inside Track series. Realizing this goal was possible only through the dedication of the manuscript authors, editorial board members, ad hoc reviewers, sections editors, The Inside Track authors, teachers, students, photographers, International Reading Association headquarters, Wiley-Blackwell, and The Reading Teacher readership. We express our deepest appreciation to all!
In closing, we are delighted to end this volume year with a new beginning. In January 2012, The Reading Teacher launched a Facebook page. If you have not done so already, join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/The-Reading-Teacher/297544810290021) to discuss the array of articles published in The Reading Teacher, as well as all facets of literacy teaching and learning.