Literacyhead: A Multiple Literacy Toolbox
Just about one year ago, Literacyhead, an online literacy magazine was created. Jan Burkins, teacher/literacy coach/college instructor/writer, along with a creative team of imaginative minds, worked together to build an online resource for teachers that connects literacy and art.
What is a literacyhead you wonder? From the site:
“A literacyhead is someone who is intensely serious about exercising creative literacy, making connections across mutliple literacies, pursuring thoughtful literacy as an individual and as a teacher, and constantly searching for ideas.”
Every two weeks a new “issue” is published online. This issue is free and focuses on a literacy theme and a feature book. Team Literacyhead has built strong relationships with many authors, illustrators, and major publishers, which has given them access to exclusive content in authors’ and illustrators’ repertoires. Each issue is divided into sections that appear each month in the same locations. This gives the site a familiarity and ease-of-use once you learn where each section is located and what it contains.
For example, each month the Art of Teaching Writing offers mini-lessons connected with the overall theme of the issue. The mini-lessons feature artwork and text from mentor texts, which are embedded within the site. This allows users to use the site for instruction without having all of the mentor texts in the library’s collection or having to pull all of the books from the shelves or from patrons.
The Art of Teaching Reading section uses the featured book of the issue along with other mentor texts that support the overall theme of the issue. This section contains visual vocabulary, words that are cleverly drawn to demonstrate their meaning. These visual vocabulary words are further supported by additional illustrations that develop the meaning of the words. The Art of Teaching Reading also contains artwork, quotes, and questions to use before and after reading the featured book. While reading the featured book, there are key illustrations embedded on the literacyhead site that contain questions to pause and ponder throughout the reading.
There are too many great resources within this publication to fully describe. It takes exploration to discover how these pieces fit into your instruction and support your literacy lessons both in the library and in the regular classroom. While the current issue of literacyhead is always free, there is a $30 yearly subscription fee to access all of the back issues. This is a tremendous resource that we have right here in Georgia that is trying to reach a national and global audience. I invite you to take a look and see how literacyhead supports your own efforts to bring together multiple kinds of literacy into experiences within your library. If you find it useful, pass it along to others. As you discover possibilities, Literacyhead also invites you to offer suggestions for making this a more useful tool and welcomes suggestions for future themes and featured books, authors, and illustrators.
David C. Barrow Elementary