NIU’s Melanie Koss and Congressman John Lewis
Melanie Koss knows a great book – or a great graphic novel – when she reads one.
And, Koss says, Congressman John Lewis’ “March: Book Three” is a triumph.
Its sweep of the American Library Association awards for 2017 includes the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award, which recognizes excellence in young adult literature.
Written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, “March: Book Three” also won the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the National Book Award for young people’s literature and the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature (Young Adult category).
But for Koss, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction with expertise in children’s literature, young adult literature and multicultural children’s literature, it’s the Printz that means the most. She chairs the nine-member Printz committee this year.
“The book starts with the bombing in Birmingham and ends with the march on Selma, with intermittent jumps to Past-President Obama’s inauguration and Lewis’ interactions with Obama as a congressman in present day,” Koss says. Read more...
Elementary Education majors at NIU will enter the teaching field a step ahead of their peers.
Three new emphases – Bilingual/ESL, Reading Teacher and Special Education – will provide automatic endorsements in areas that previously required additional coursework.
For example, the Reading Teacher endorsement, designed for teachers who teach reading in a setting other than a self-contained classroom, currently entails 24 semester hours of credit in stand-alone courses.
Now, says Anne Gregory, chair of the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education, faculty will “purposefully incorporate” those lessons into existing courses.
With the innovation, students can complete their degrees and endorsements within four years, saving time and money while becoming more marketable: They’ll graduate with a “broad view” of what teachers can provide to young learners.
“It will make them look very different than anyone else in the state,” Gregory says. “There aren’t any other programs in Illinois that look like this. There are five-year programs elsewhere, but none that include this many options for candidates. And, no one else has done a four-year program. We will be a leader.”
Students also can pursue multiple endorsements, although that would extend their time in school. Read more...
John Evar Strid
Achieving the unimaginable is no easy task, and doing so is something most people will never know.
John Evar Strid is not among them.
The associate professor in NIU’s Department of Literacy and Elementary Education recently learned that the TESOL Journal accepted the first version of his manuscript, “The Myth of the Critical Period.”
He also was invited to join the top-tier journal’s editorial review board.
“Wow … you have done the almost impossible,” Joy Egbert, editor of the journal, wrote in an Aug. 25 email to Strid. “Nicely done.”
Strid’s article examines the “critical period hypothesis,” which holds that the learning of language becomes considerably harder following the “ideal time” to acquire that knowledge.
It was good news to one reviewer, who reported that “the article turned around my thinking. All this time, I believed that there was little use in trying to correct pronunciation with older learners.”
“The manuscript presents a seminal case that will motivate the full spectrum of (journal) readers, from TESOL researchers, teacher-educators (and) TESOL teachers,” the reviewer wrote. “Readers will concur that older learners can, and do, develop a new language efficiently or more efficiently than those acquiring a new language starting at a very young age.” Read more...
Northern Illinois University’s Department of Literacy and Elementary Education (LEED) is sponsoring a Literacy Event: “Reading & Writing in the Digital Age” on Wednesday, March 23, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m at the NIU-Naperville campus, 1120 E Diehl Rd, Naperville, Ill. This event provides an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with current students, alumni and faculty. Alumni are encouraged to bring colleagues and introduce them to the NIU literacy community. In addition, teachers interested in earning the M.S. Ed. in Literacy Education with a Focus on Reading (reading specialist endorsement) are invited to attend to learn more about joining the summer 2016 cohort in Naperville.
This networking event will include a brief program by faculty and alumni. Information will also be provided to prospective students regarding the new reading cohort that will begin at NIU-Naperville in the summer of 2016.
Light refreshments will be served and door prizes given away. For reservations, please contact Gail Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-753-7948. Visit the department website at http://www.cedu.niu.edu/leed/index.shtml.