Reading Association Creates Literacy Research Panel

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — February 02, 2012 2 min read
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The International Reading Association, a Delaware-based professional group with 70,000 members, just announced the creation of the Literacy Research Panel, a group of researchers who will “respond to critical issues in literacy” by translating research into practical recommendations. The IRA has previously established its position that there is a gap between literacy research and practice.

The panel will focus on four “critical issues in literacy": closing the achievement gap, student motivation and engagement, standards and assessments, and teacher education, according to a press release. The group will announce more specifics about its priorities and plans on April 30th, as part of the IRA’s annual conference.

Virginia Goatley, the organization’s research director and a member of the new panel, said a number of factors led to the creation of the group, including the transition to the Common Core.

P. David Pearson, a professor and former dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s graduate school of education who’s chairing the new committee, agreed, saying, “There’s a spirit in the air that we need a correction to the direction that No Child Left Behind took us in....there’s a feeling now that things like the Common Core and the movement towards deeper learning are going to make sure we really focus on the ultimate goals of reading and literacy, to prepare kids for the job force and for higher education, and make sure that kids are able to reach their aspirations.”

Pearson said the group will be working to “develop a set of research-based practices that we can promote through teacher education and professional development and through standards and curriculum materials and assessment” and to help “set the national agenda when it comes to literacy, research, and practice.”

Here’s a list of the panel’s members:

  • Peter Afflerbach, University of Maryland
  • Nell Duke, Michigan State University
  • Virginia Goatley, University of Albany (and IRA Research Director)
  • John Guthrie, University of Maryland
  • Kris Gutierrez, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University
  • Peter Johnston, University of Albany
  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Nonie Leseaux, Harvard University
  • Elizabeth Moje, University of Michigan
  • Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar, University of Michigan
  • P. David Pearson, University of California, Berkeley
  • Victoria Risko, Vanderbilt University (and IRA President)
  • Timothy Shanahan, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Catherine Snow, Harvard University
  • Karen Wixson, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Ms. Goatley said the group hopes to reach out to a broad audience, including policymakers, teacher educators, school administrators, classroom teachers, parents, and the general public.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.