68th Annual Conference Presenters

Gay Ivey
Title: Engaging Possibilities: Reinvigorating the Call for Research on Reading
Presidential Address - Wednesday, November 28 4:45 - 6:00p
Abstract: Twenty-five years ago, a report documenting the mission of the National Reading Research Center (Alvermann & Guthrie, 1993) cited four pervasive problems in literacy: 
  • The large number of U. S. citizens with limited experiences with literacy
  • Inequity in meeting literacy needs
  • The stagnation of reading instruction and the limited influence of research on instruction
  • The prevalence of decontextualized reading research

In response and over the next five years, the NRRC proposed and generated an impressive body of research based on a unifying idea that these problems might be productively addressed by prioritizing literacy engagement in schools, homes, and communities. Yet, despite remarkable strides in understanding the potential of engagement on literacy participation (particularly outof-school) and achievement since that time and indeed, the widespread acknowledgement of engagement as important, the fundamental problems around literacy levels, inequity, instruction, and the kinds of research favored in educational policies persist.

In this talk, I will propose that an engagement perspective still matters, but that chipping away at the problems demands a view on reading engagement that implicates the breadth of human development. Can we teach children and young adults about reading while simultaneously and inseparably teaching them how to take control of their own lives and relationships, a possibility that has been just barely touched by research and even less so by educational policies and practice? I will highlight research findings that suggest the promise of literacy engagement for clarifying and expanding how we think about reading assessment, achievement, comprehension, socio-emotional growth, and equity in literacy instruction.  And yes, I will argue that in order to influence, through an engagement perspective, the transformation of reading-related policies—and more importantly the agentive transformation of individuals and communities—we must renew our commitment to research conducted in classrooms and in partnership with teachers and families.

Bio: Gay Ivey is President of the Literacy Research Association and the William E. Moran Distinguished Professor in Literacy at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  She began her career in education as a reading specialist and teacher at Leslie H. Walton Middle School in Charlottesville, Virginia. She holds a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary, an M.Ed. in Reading Education from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Georgia.  Prior to her present position she served as the Tashia F. Morgridge Chair in Reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she has also held positions at James Madison University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. 

Her research centers on what engagement in reading means for the literate, academic, emotional and relational lives of children and adolescents. She is particularly interested in the properties and positive consequences of engaged literacy classrooms. Her work is widely published in research journals such as Reading Research Quarterly and Journal of Literacy Research, and in practitioner-oriented journals such as Journal of Adolescent & Adult LiteracyThe Reading Teacher, Language Arts, and Educational Leadership. She has been awarded two Elva Knight Research Grants from the International Literacy Association.  She is highly engaged in the professional development of teachers, particularly in their efforts to make literacy instruction and literate practices more meaningful in the lives of their students. She is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.


Peter Johnston 
Oscar S. Causey Address - Thursday, November 29, 10:15 - 11:45a
Title: Talking Children into Literacy: Once More, with Feeling

Abstract: Children’s literate development is mediated by classroom talk, and our theories of literacy and teaching influence that talk. Whether we view literacy and its acquisition as fundamentally social (hence also emotional) rather than as essentially cognitive, affects our orchestration of classroom talk. That same talk also mediates children’s emotional, relational, self-regulatory, and moral development, which in turn play surprising roles in their literate development. For example, literacy learning requires cognitive self-regulation (e.g., memory and attention), social self-regulation in interactions with peers and teachers, and emotional self-regulation (e.g., frustration and anxiety). Children who develop self-regulation earlier and to higher levels, also develop decoding and reading comprehension earlier. Similarly, children’s attachment to teacher, school and peers, also influenced by classroom talk, is reciprocally related to whether they become engaged and take short and long term pleasure in the literate activities they experience in school. In other words, children need to acquire “the codes,” but the ecology of acquisition matters a great deal both for the ease of acquisition and for the nature of the literacy that is acquired.

Bio: Peter Johnston is Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany - SUNY. His current research explores links among classroom talk, engagement, and children’s social, emotional and literate development. He has published over 80 scholarly articles and 11 books, some published in multiple languages.

Recognition for his work includes the Albert J. Harris Award from the International Literacy Association for contributions to the understanding of reading disability and the State University of New York, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research. Most recently, the Literacy Research Association honored him with the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award, citing his book Choice Words as having “demonstrably and positively influenced literacy teaching in classrooms and districts nationally,” and the Oscar Causey Award for outstanding contributions to reading research. He is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.


Luis Moll
Distinguished Service Award Address - Thursday, November 29, 4:45 - 6:00p
Title: The Translocation and Transformation of Funds of Knowledge
Abstract: TBA

Bio: Luis C. Moll, born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies, College of Education, University of Arizona. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Early Childhood Development from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Prior to his current position, he was an Assistant Research Psychologist at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition of the University of California, San Diego.  His main research interest is the connection among culture, psychology and education, especially as it relates to the education of Latino children in the US.  His edited volume, Vygotsky and education was published in 1990 (Cambridge University Press); his co-edited volume, Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms, was published in 2005 (Erlbaum), and his most recent book, L. S. Vygotsky and education, was published in 2014 (Routledge Press).  Among his honors, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Education (1998), named a Kappa Delta Pi Laureate (2013), and Fellow (2009) of the American Educational Research Association.  He was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015, the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association in 2018, and the Outstanding Language Arts Educator Award by the National Council of Teachers of English in 2018.


Bettina Love
Plenary Address - Friday, November 30, 4:45 - 6p
Title: We Gon' Be Alright, But That Ain't Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Abstract: Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggle and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, not reform. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.  

Bio: Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her research also focuses on how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-sexist educational, equitable classrooms. For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. 

Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education for elementary aged students. She is the founder of Real Talk: Hip Hop Education for Social Justice, an after school initiative aimed at teaching elementary students the history and elements of Hip Hop for social justice through project-based learning.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics including: Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Dr. Love is one of the founding board members of The Kindezi School, an innovative school focused on small classrooms and art-based education. Finally, she is the author of the book Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education,The Urban Review, and Journal of LGBT Youth.In 2017, Dr. Love editedaspecial issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on theidentities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators. She is currently working on her second book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: A Pedagogy of Mattering.   


Leigh Patel
Integrative Research Review - Saturday, December 1, 10:30a - 12:00p
Title: Literacy and Learning as a Fugitive Act
Abstract: In my talk, I will trace the long-standing practices that oppressed peoples have engaged in to maintain literacy and learning as fundamental to human existence. From maroon communities to pit schools created underground when literacy was illegal for enslaved peoples, literacy has been an act of fugitivity. In more recent times, obvious examples like librotraficante and the political toolkits of activist organizations offer rich reminders that learning is a catalytic and powerful of life and of organizing for justice. This talk will wrest learning and literacy from the educational discourses of achievement and situate these practices within what it means to be human and sovereign.

Bio: Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer.  Her work addresses the narratives that facilitate societal structures.With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. She works extensively with societally marginalized youth and teacher activists. Prior to working in the academy, Professor Patel was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society and the stories that are told about those opportunities. 

Professor Patel, also published under Lisa Patel Stevens, is the award-winning author of  Decolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability (Routledge), Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education and the Politics of Inclusion (Teachers College Press), co-author of Critical Literacy: Context, Research, and Praxis in the K-12 Classroom (Sage) and co-editor of ReConstructing the Adolescent: Sign, Symbol and Body (Peter Lang Publishers).  She has authored dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters and has been a consistent voice in educational policymaking and policy analysis over a number of years. She has been supported the Spencer Foundation for her praxis research. Her writing and research has also been featured in media outlets including Beacon Broadside, The Atlantic, The Feminist Wire, Racialicious.com and HuffPost Live. She is recipient of the June Jordan Award for scholarly leadership and poetic bravery in social critique. She is a national board member of Education for Liberation, a long-standing organization dedicated to transformative education for and by youth of color.

Professor Patel is currently working on her next book entitled, "To study is to struggle: Higher education and settler colonialism"


Carmen Kynard
Integrative Research Review - Saturday, December 1, 10:30a - 12:00p
Title: #IfTheyGunnedMeDown: Narrating Race-Radical Black Feminist Classrooms in the Movement for Black Lives

Abstract: As a critical cartographer, Katherine McKittrick (2006) reminds us that Black women’s lives are enmeshed with traditional geographic arrangements where different ways of knowing and writing constantly contest the ways that space is (re)produced in dominant culture and empire. Taking inspiration from McKittrick, I interrogate Brown and Black classrooms at non-selective, open admissions, urban colleges as a central site of geographic struggle in the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) today. Classrooms in the M4BL are, thus, important sites where history, racial memory, critical literacies, Black feminisms, and Black freedoms are continually (re)made (Mirza, 2014/2015; Cohen and Jackson, 2016). I read these students’ literate contributions as part of a long, protracted vision for radical equality and democracy today. I work against the tendency to erase Black and Brown students’ insurgency and make possible/visible everyday processes and identities of thinking, learning, and studenting that intersect with longstanding visions of Black freedom and intersectional anti-racist/anti-sexist activism (Ibram, 2012; Williamson, 2003).

Bio: Carmen Kynard is associate professor of English and Gender Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and associate professor of English and Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She interrogates race, Black feminisms, AfroDigital/African American cultures and languages, and the politics of schooling with an emphasis on composition and literacies studies.  She has taught high school with the New York City public schools/Coalition of Essential Schools, served as a writing program administrator, and worked as a teacher educator.  She has led numerous professional development projects on language, literacy, and learning and has published in Harvard Educational Review, Changing English, College Composition and Communication, College English, Computers and Composition, Reading Research Quarterly, Literacy and Composition Studies and more. Her first book, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacy Studies won the 2015 James Britton Award and makes Black Freedom a 21st century literacy movement. Her current projects focus on young Black women in college, Black feminist/Afrofuturist digital vernaculars, and AfroDigital Humanities learning. Carmen traces her research and teaching at her website, “Education, Liberation, and Black Radical Traditions” (http://carmenkynard.org).


Sandy Grande
Integrative Research Review - Saturday, December 1, 10:30a - 12:00p
TitleA Talk to (Literacy) Teachers: Baldwin and the Decolonial Turn

Abstract: We are, as James Baldwin noted over 50 years ago, “living through a very dangerous time” and, as such, this presentation builds upon Baldwin’s landmark essay, “A Talk to Teachers.” Written in the same year Civil Rights leader Medgar Evans was murdered, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed, and President Kennedy was assassinated, Baldwin urged teachers to confront the myth of American exceptionalism for Black children. Now, as the nation reels in the wake of Charlottesville, Parkland and Standing Rock as well as the ongoing violences enacted against marginalized peoples, this talk will build upon and extend Baldwin’s analysis, urging teachers to consider the ways in which white supremacy, antiblackness, and settler colonialism are intimately connected.

Bio: Sandy Grande is a Professor of Education as well as the Director of the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Connecticut College. She is also a Ford Foundation Fellow. Her research interfaces Native American and Indigenous Studies with education. Her book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was recently published in a 10th anniversary edition (2015). She has also published several book chapters and articles including: Accumulation of the Primitive: The Limits of Liberalism and the Politics of Occupy Wall Street, The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies; “Confessions of a Fulltime Indian,” The Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy; “American Indian Geographies of Identity and Power: At the Crossroads of Indigena and Mestizaje,” Harvard Educational Review; and, “Red-ding the Word and the World” In, Paulo Freire’s Intellectual Roots: Toward Historicity in Praxis. In addition to her scholarly work she has provided eldercare for her parents for over ten years and remains the primary caretaker for her 90-yr. old father.