About

Some history behind NAL

Notes on American Letters is the recently and thoroughly redesigned journal of the Assembly on American Literature. It is a hybrid quarterly journal: both digital in its fall, winter, and spring issues and print in the summer issue. It will, in addition,  include both literature and essays and will value both explication and pedagogy based articles. Its readership will range from those who teach 6th grade students to those who teach early college and community college students.

It will include articles read by Submissions Editors and brief Posts submitted by Field Editors who note important ideas, salient quotes, and bibliographical details that make these books available to teachers who might use them to propel engaging explorations of them with their students.

The journal in its earlier iterations was edited by Mabel Khawaja who has recently retired and was as well the former Chair of the Assembly on American Literature. The Assembly has attracted able teachers who are devoted to teaching American Literature, yet the late afternoon time of its meetings, which have always been scheduled for the last session on Saturday, have limited its growth.

AAL and NAL plan to change this by offering an attractive session on Sudden Fiction led by Sheridan Blau, Jeff Wilhelm, and Bob Probst that includes table members exploring one of the brief one page pieces at NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) in Atlanta. The AAL Session led by Tracey Hughes will also offer an insightful session on American Literature. Tracey, who is an extremely bright teacher in a Washington Independent School, has been an inspiring leader who has repeatedly developed sessions that present new and thoughtful understandings of the literature we teach and to which we are devoted. These sessions have consistently been engaging and deeply informative.

Because NAL is designed to attract many committed teachers to accept important roles on the editorial staff and because the Saturday sessions always include many AAL members who offer presentations, there is ample opportunity for new members to become involved in the serious professional work of NCTE through AAL. We hope you will consider this an invitation to work with us to make learning strong and teaching exceptional.

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