David Yaden to Give President’s Address @ #LRA2022

The Literacy Research Association is honored to announce that President David B. Yaden will be delivering his Presidential Address at this years LRA 72nd Annual Conference. Dr. Yaden’s address, titled “Chasing Shadows : Why There Cannot be a ‘Simple’ Science of Literacy” will contest the narrow perceptions of what has been called the science of reading movement, and will focus upon another contender for the science throne—that of Developmental Science. Using examples from emergent bilingual children’s early writing, he will attempt to show that any “simple” model of reading not only wastes useful data about children’s literacy performances but conflates the data with static states of being which reduce the conceptual complexity of literacy development. Developmental Science is a branch of psychology with deep roots in the child study movement and was established around the turn of the 20th century. It is field devoted to studying development “in motion.” L. S. Vygotsky was a key figure in this movement early on, although under the name of pedology, and contributed substantially to the foundation principles in the field. Developmental Science’s definitive scholarly voice has been carried on and consistently represented by subsequent volumes of the Handbook of Child Psychology (1946, 1954, 1970, 1983, 1998, 2006) with its most recent edition entitled the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (2015). Although Vygotsky himself passed long before the first volume was published in 1946, his perspectives on child development, learning, and literacy are well represented, nonetheless. Dr. Yaden’s contention is that models based upon the science of reading demand a slavish focus on the alphabet and figural convention. However, current research in Developmental Science urges to do the opposite, as did Vygotsky, Piaget, and other developmental theorists such as Urie Bronfenbrenner, Gerald Edelman, and Michael Tomasello. Developmental Science challenges the literacy field to embrace the complexity of the developmental processes, and as Vygotsky further argued, “bring the child to an internal understanding of writing” in whatever language that may be.

David B. Yaden, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is President of the Literacy Research Association and Professor of Language, Reading and Culture in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of Arizona. He also holds affiliate faculty positions in the Department of Public and Applied Humanities, College of Humanities, and the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. In addition, he serves as Co-Director of the Research Group on Child Development, Research and Policy and as Director of the Eye-Movement Miscue Analysis Laboratory in the College of Education. Prior to his present position at the University of Arizona, he held faculty appointments at the University of Oklahoma, Emory University, the University of Houston, the University of Southern California and was a Visiting Professor & Scholar at Boston University.

Dr. Yaden served as co-editor (with Patty Anders) of LRA’s flagship journal, the Journal of Literacy Research (2013-2016), and is currently the co-editor (with Theresa Rogers) of the forthcoming Literacies and Languages volume of the International Encyclopedia of Education, containing the research contributions of 100 scholars world-wide, both in the Global North and South, addressing multiple topics across the field of literacy studies. Yaden also was a Principal Investigator (1997-2002) in the federally funded Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) where he created and supervised the implementation of an early literacy curriculum for Spanish-speaking preschoolers in inner-city Los Angeles. Most recently in Arizona, he directed a statewide consortium of researchers from Arizona’s three major universities (University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University) in the evaluation of the state’s early childhood initiative, First Things First, an investment of $27,000,000 in the study of over 9,000 children, ages birth–7 years-of- age, to evaluate health, developmental and educational factors contributing to school readiness.

Dr. Yaden’s research interests and specializations include developmental issues in early childhood education, the acquisition of literacy and biliteracy in young children, family literacy, theories of reading disability, micro genetic and developmental research design and the application of complex adaptive systems theory to growth in reading and writing. In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters on various aspects of literacy in young children, Yaden’s publications include several, archival, state-of-the-field integrative reviews in such volumes as the Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education (2014) on developmental research design in early childhood, the Handbook of Reading Research Volume III (2000) on emergent literacy, the Handbook of Research in the Teaching of the English Language Arts (2003, 2011), on family literacy, and in subsequent volumes of the Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children (2006, 2013) related to linguistically and culturally diverse children acquiring more than one language. He has presented his work regularly over the past four decades at professional meetings such as the International Reading Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Child Welfare League of America, the World Congress of Reading, the American Educational Research Association, the Literacy Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Jean Piaget Society, and the National Council for Research on Language and Literacy.

Yaden joins an esteemed list of plenary speakers and panelists slated to speak at this year’s conference. Read more about each of the sessions below:

Bryan Brayboy
Guadalupe Valdes
Angela Valenzuela
Arlette Willis
Integrative Research Review Panel


You can view the latest COVID recommendations here. To register for the LRA conference, please visit the LRA website

The Road Less Taken ~ The Ph.D. Road

The Road Less Taken ~ The Ph.D. Road

A poem by Adeline Mansa Borti, Ph.D., Department of English, Grand Valley State University


The Road Less Taken~ The Ph.D. Road

The road not taken?

The road less taken…

The road with roses and thorns

The road with pain and laughter, with solitude for productivity

Among many but still lonely?

Bittersweet and narrow with less freedom

The road trodden by about 2% of the population in America

Less trodden if even at all

The road imagined by 963 people but taken and conquered by 65 brave and resilient folks

The Ph.D. Road…steep and bumpy

Taking this roller coaster road, not many will dare.

The road taken when the sun rises.

The road taken when the sun sets.

The road taken whether the rain smiles or frowns.

The road taken whether the snow appears or hides.

The road on which thunder roars and lightning strikes.

The road taken whether there is light or darkness.



Coursework fatigue? Wait till the research after coursework! Reading empirical literature[1], independence, resilience, maturity, all tried and tested. Nevertheless, don’t give up!

I know your thoughts: whether to enjoy or endure?

I see your tears…to retreat or surrender to the voice of Ph.D. that calleth…come up and continue the journey because of the joy and light at the end of the tunnel.

I know your sleepless nights…a cup of tea or coffee to keep awake.



The people who walk this path cover the thorn and show the roses.

The people who walk this path show the smiles without the tears.

Bittersweet, weak-bold, day-night, and smile-frown are integral parts of the Ph.D. journey.

It’s okay if you are not okay sometimes. It’s okay if the thorn around the roses prick with much more pain than you thought.

All you need to do is to stretch.

All you need is a trusted helper.

Helpers from all sides; helpers from all levels!



Do you have a passion for this less-trodden road?

Then be prepared to fight strong!

Exercise your academic, cognitive, emotional, social, and physical muscles!

Never be afraid to dare!

Never be hesitant to be among the few…the few on the bittersweet journey…

A path that calls out to many but a few answer!

A path that longs to embrace many, but a few heed to the call.

The few that heed to this call feel weary and many retreat.

Are you on this journey? Don’t retreat. See the light at the end of the tunnel, not the immediate darkness.

Are you contemplating on this less trodden road? Count the cost and begin without retreat.

Not to go alone because together, we can succeed. Asking for help, a sign of strength, not a weakness!



“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

I took the less traveled path, and that brought the healing.

The healing of all the wounds sustained from the thorn among the roses!

Healing from my loneliness!

Healing from my fears of the unknown ending and future!

I took the less traveled road, and that makes me an icon of healing and hope.

Healing and hope for those who want to dare!

Healing and hope for those wondering where the finish line will be!

Healing and hope for those who feel battered and tired!

Yes, “I took the road less traveled, and that made all the difference!”


Adeline M. Borti is an assistant professor, in the English Department at Grand Valley State University, USA. Dr. Borti is an English language/literacy educator, researcher, and social worker.  Dr. Borti is engaged in service, teaching, and research related to ESL, literacy education, the empowerment of women, and social justice.

This is an original work, and it gained no support or any grant from funding agencies in public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.  No part of this manuscript has been shared or published anywhere.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Adeline Borti, English Department, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, Michigan 49401, USA

The author provided the following notes for your reference:

Giving hope and joy of healing is best done by the one who is healed after going through the pain and aches. Many a time, we see people healed and back to “life” with hope, but we do not hear the stories about how joy and pain, brokenness, and healing are part of a rewarding journey. As a former international student, I engage in poetic inquiry to reflect on my Ph.D. journey and the healing that I experienced during and after this journey. Poetic inquiry offers the space for reflexivity on my Ph.D. journey.

The following are resources that foregrounded my poetry.

  • 2016 Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsf18304/static/report/nsf18304-report.pdf.
  • Benge, C., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Mallette, M. H., & Burgess, M. L. (2010). Doctoral students’ perceptions of barriers to reading empirical literature: A mixed analysis. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 5, 55-77.
  • Borti, A. (2019). A life in two worlds: the silenced and the unsilenced. Qualitative Inquiry, 1077800419838572.
  • Frost, R. (1915). The road not taken. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken
  • Alabi, G., & Mohammed, I. (2017). Research and PhD capacities in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana Report. British Council & German Academic and Exchange Service. Retrieved from https://www2.daad.de/medien/der-daad/analysen-studien/research_and_phd_capacities_in_sub-saharan_africa_-_ghana_report.pdf

Photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash