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A History of Literacy Education

Waves of Research and Practice

Robert J. Tierney P. David Pearson

400 pages
Teachers College Press

In this volume, two notable scholars trace the monumental shifts in theory, research, and practice related to reading education and literacy, with particular attention to what they consider the central goal of literacy—making meaning. Each section describes a specific epoch, including a brief snapshot of how the reader of that period is envisioned and characterized by researchers and teachers, as well as a deep discussion of the ideas and contextual events of that era. These developmental waves are organized in rough historical sequence by a series of shifts in underlying theoretical and scholarly lenses—from the behavioral to the psycholinguistic to the cognitive to the sociocultural to the critical to the multimodal to the global. The book closes with a discussion of the various research frames and methodological approaches that paralleled these developments. The common thread across all the chapters is making meaning. For each wave, the authors unearth and interrogate the assumptions about making meaning with text as well as the practices to promote it—whether the meaning making is inspired by print, image, sound, or some multimodal mash-up. This unique resource is a must-own for every literacy professor and graduate scholar.

Book Features:

  • Animates some of the revolutionary developments related to reading education and literacy in modern times.
  • Each development is accompanied by a discussion of the aspirational reader that sets the stage for contemplating these shifts and their significance.
  • Traces the research and theoretical developments to illustrate the origins of the shifts and their influences.
  • Supported by a website with video lectures and conversations tied to the various waves of development.
Author Bio

Robert J. Tierney is emeritus dean and emeritus professor of the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, past dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, and a visiting distinguished scholar at Beijing Normal University. P. David Pearson is the Evelyn Lois Corey Emeritus Professor of Instructional Science in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley.