NCTE’s LANGUAGE ARTS: The Journal of the Elementary Section of the Natl. Council of Teachers of English


Even though the title says "Elementary", this journal easily applies all the way up to middle school.   

This is a good journal for exploring research in language and literacy.  Every month has a theme that is developed through research, lesson cycles, book reviews, samples of student work, and professional development opportunities.  It’s $25.00 per year plus the price of the membership.

Here’s a random selection of issues.  Articles from LANGUAGE ARTS are available for viewing at the , but you have to be a member to access the full article. 

  • Learning through Inquiry (Jan. 2006)
  • Literacy and Inequity (Nov. 2005)
  • Visions of Possibility for Literacy (May 2006)
  • Literacy as Movement, Voice and Image (Nov. 2008)
  • Innovation and Integration (Jan. 2009)
  • Inquiries and Insights (July 2009)

Some buzz words do tend to pop up more than others.  "Literacy" is a popular guest at the buzz word tea party.  "Inquiry" is a favorite guest as well.  The Multis crash the party now and then: multimodal, multilingual, multicultural, multimedia.  There’s even poetry written by teachers! Sweet!  (A word I’d like to see more often is "innovation".)

Most of the articles follow a pattern of rhetoric that could use a bit of tightening up.  Some of the writing is a bit long-winded, but the page design makes up for it.  The page is a 3-column format with page numbers about 2 inches down the margin for easy reference.  There’s charts, drop quotes, italicized bits, bold-faced section titles, works cited and works referenced, as well as photos and indexes. 

I don’t care for the advertising, but I guess they have to pay the bills.  Ads are mostly for books and professional development opportunities.  One of the best reasons to get this journal is that it has book reviews of children’s/YA books and professional development books.  So if you don’t have time to read every single children’s book that comes out, this journal covers, easily, a half dozen books at a time.  You could read HORNBOOK, which is a magnificent publication in its scope, but with LANGUAGE ARTS, you get a lot of book reviews PLUS research, pedagogy, political issues, cultural issues… in a nutshell — the inquiry and the insight.

For members, the online issue has nice extras like blogs, book bargains, online seminars (These are fantastic! Try one!)  The beginning of the magazine details future issues AND gives you the lowdown on how to submit articles. NCTE/LA is not just for reading other people’s work, it’s for you who aspire to get your work published! 


OCTOBER 20, 2009

National Day on Writing

ONCE AND FUTURE CLASSICS: Reading between The Lines

Join us in Philadelphia this November!






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