Upcoming Themes

Fall 2023 Theme – The Urban Experience in Literacy

Dr. Rich Milner is a prolific scholar in urban education. Many of the themes he addresses in his work related to literacy include race, diversity issues in literacy, and opportunity gaps. Therefore, the theme for this issue will include both issues related to teachers of color and students in literacy within urban schools. Some of the issues in this theme will include both research-based and practice pieces related to critical literacy, interrogation of texts, diversity issues in literacy, race and representation, diverse classrooms, and planning for instruction.

Manuscripts due: December 1, 2023

Spring 2024 Theme – Children’s and Young Adult Literature in Urban Schools

In 1990, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop coined the term Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass doors in reference to diversity in children’s and young adult literature. This concept has been explored over the past 30 years within the research literature. However, there have been few pieces which focus on this concept as mirrors for children in urban schools. Based on the work by Dr. Sims, the focus of this special theme issue will focus specifically on looking at diverse texts as mirrors for diverse populations within urban settings. This work will specifically focus and/or address issues and topics related to urban schools. This includes representation, discussions of race, exposure to texts as mirrors, strong characters, introduction of genres, and culturally conscious texts.

Manuscripts due: April 15, 2024

Fall 2024 Theme – The Home, School, and Community

Literacy Connection in Urban Schools

In 1968, Dr. James Comer a psychologist at Yale University, developed the Comer Model. The Comer School Development Program was created to address both the low-achievement and low-income students in New Haven, Connecticut. The Comer Model includes six guiding principles which include: (a) programming and collaboration with parents; (b) school planning; (c) mental health teams; (d) comprehensive school plans for academic achievement and social climate; (e) Staff development based on the needs of the staff; and (f) assessment and modification. There are so many current research concepts within the 21st century which have their origins in Comer’s original model. Therefore, this call pays homage to Comer’s work in the realm of home, school, and community collaboration. Based on Comer’s work, this theme will address issues and topics related to urban settings. This includes socio-emotional learning, parent involvement, school program in literacy, comprehensive school plans for literacy, assessment and literacy, professional development in literacy, and community collaboration.

Manuscripts due: December 1, 2024

Spring 2025 Theme – Multiculturalism, Literacy, and Urban Schools

Dr. James Banks is often called the father of multiculturalism in the field of education. His early work is still helping to shape the field of education and literacy. In this theme, authors will focus on key foundational concepts of multiculturalism that shaped the field. This can include but is not limited to the ethnic studies approach, using multiethnic approaches in classrooms, and global education in literacy classrooms.    

Manuscripts due: April 15, 2025

Fall 2025 – Emerging Voices in Literacy and Urban Education

(Special Focus on Mentoring)

During this open theme, the editors will issue a call to new scholars in the field of literacy. Preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars who have less than five publications in the field. The editors and editorial board members will use this issue to offer online mentoring sessions to assist new scholars in publishing their work in the journal.

Manuscripts due: December 1, 2025

Spring 2026 Theme – Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Literacy

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings coined the term culturally relevant pedagogy. Since that time, her work has been used within the field to make instruction and research more inclusive for diverse populations within schools. During this special theme issue, we will solicit manuscripts which focus on classroom instructional practices solely focused on research-practice pertaining to culturally relevant pedagogy.

Manuscripts due: April 15, 2026

Fall 2026 Theme – Gifted Education, Literacy, and Urban Schools

Dr. Donna Ford is the one of the most prolific scholars of gifted education. A key cornerstone of her work is to focus on equity within gifted programs and quality educational experiences for students of color in urban schools. During this special theme issue, scholars will engage in conceptual, theoretical, and practical applications to address pressing issues related to equity and literacy. This special theme issue will address equity, literacy, and gifted education.

Manuscripts due: December 15, 2026

Spring 2027 Theme – Identifying ‘Othering’ Practices in ELA Classrooms in

Urban Schools Dr. Lisa Delpit published a pivotal work pertaining to the glaring realities of what happens when teachers are working with Other People’s Children. However, the concept of otherness withing ELA classrooms is rarely addressed. Therefore, this theme will focus on identifying practices which lend itself to otherness. This can include submissions which focus on banning of diverse books, policies which limit or ban ethnic studies, district or state standards which fail to measure up to national standards, and classroom instruction in ELA that is not inclusive.

Manuscripts due: April 15, 2027