Arlette Willis to Speak at #LRA2022

The Literacy Research Association welcomes Arlette Ingram Willis, the Oscar S. Causey award plenary speaker, who received the award in 2021. The Award, named for Dr. Oscar Causey, founder of LRA, ,was first presented in 1967. The award is bestowed annually to recognize an LRA member who has made outstanding contributions to literacy research.

The title of Willis’ Oscar S. Causey address is “ Revolutionizing Literacy: The Life of Omar ibn Said, Written by Himself. In her presentation, Willis analytically examines the role of literacy in Omar ibn Said’s life as informed by African cultures, ethnicities, histories, languages, and literacies in the Senegambia region, and the history of Black literacy access in the US. In his autobiography, Omar ibn Said stealthily applies sophisticated literacy skills to contest living under anti-Black racism and chattel enslavement through his rhetorical and strategic use of Quranic surahs and verses. Early translations and interpretations of his autobiography, written by English-dominant White men, literate in ancient Arabic, filtered through Eurocentrism and White supremacy, failed to discern Omar ibn Said’s proclamation of his humanity and bold condemnation of chattel enslavement. Scholars with expertise in African history and Islam, valorize his resilience as an African Muslim who remained faithful to Islam under anti-Black racism, the horrors of chattel enslavement, and attempts at Christian conversion.

The autobiography dismantles prevailing assumptions about people of African descent as sub-human, without culture, history, intellect, language, or literacy. It also revolutionizes what we know about the history of literacy in the US; provides authenticated knowledge of literacy among people of African descent; exposes the pervasiveness of White supremacy; and unveils the roots of deliberate anti-Black literacy laws, policies, and practices, historically and contemporaneously. To create an equitable approach to literacy, we must begin with authenticated knowledge to transcend the past and present.

Arlette Ingram Willis received her Ph. D. from The Ohio State University. She is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the division of Language and Literacy. Her scholarship interrogates how race and racism are framed in reading research, examines secondary pre-service English teacher education, and applies critical theories to literacy policy and research. Willis has on-going research collaborations with colleagues in Brazil, Columbia, and New Zealand who examine the influence of Paulo Freire’s theorizing and instruction. Her books include Teaching and Using Multicultural Literature in Grades 9-12: Moving Beyond the Canon (1998), Reading Comprehension Research and Testing in the US: Undercurrents of Race, Class, and Power in the Struggle for Meaning (2008); and forthcoming Anti-Black Racism and anti-Black Literacy in the US. In addition, she has co-edited four books: Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research (with B. Merchant, 2001); Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice (with G. Garcia, R. Barrera, & V. Harris, 2003); On Critically Conscious Research: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research (with M. Montovan, H. Hall, C. Hunter, L. Burke, & A. Herrera, A., 2008); and Affirming Black Students’ Lives and Literacies: Bearing Witness (with G. Thompson-McMillan & P. Smith).

Willis has published numerous refereed articles, book chapters, book reviews, and monographs. She also has served as co-editor (with D. Bloome) for the National Council of Teachers of English Literacy Book Series, and co-editor (with V. J. Harris) for the American Education Research Journal, Teaching, Learning, and Human Development. Willis has received several national meritorious awards, including the John J. Gumperz Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarship, Reading Hall of Fame, and the Oscar S. Causey Award. She is a Fulbright Scholar (2013-2014), past president of the Literacy Research Association (2014), and past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy, (2007-2008). In addition, at the University of Illinois she has received several awards for her scholarship: University Scholar Award, 2000; Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, 2001; and University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, 2002-2003; as well as several College of Education awards including the Distinguished Scholar Award, 1999; Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1998, 2000; and Distinguished Teaching Career Award, 2010.

Willis 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

· Integrative Research Panel Review


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

Integrative Research Review Spotlight on Allison Skerrett

The Literacy Research Association welcomes Dr. Allison Skerrett as one of its speakers for the 72nd Annual Conference as part of LRA’s Integrative Research Review PanelLRA’s IRR Panel Session, titled ‘Review and Scholarly Syntheses as Anti-Racist Action’ will focus specifically on the silencing of and importance of BIPOC authors and scholars, along with the history of their work and global impact. Skerrett’s presentation is titled: Banned Books and Banners for Change: Literacy Education for Troubled Times. Dr. Skerrett studies and examines recent research on how younger people of color employ literacies to connect and engage with their worlds. Drawing upon literacy research and mainstream social and political commentary, Skerrett explores how young people have fared in relation to a global health crisis, the heightened visibility of violence against black and other marginalized people, and social and political unrest and activism, including the political censorship of texts. Skerrett posits that how young people have activated and deployed literacies provides an alternative to discourses about “learning loss” and a “COVID-19 Generation.” While these discourses may intend to address the vulnerabilities of young people, she names the possible layering of additional deficit perspectives upon young people that further obscures their resilience and innovation.


Allison Skerrett is a professor of language and literacy studies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as the Director of Teacher Education for the College of Education. Dr. Skerrett’s research primarily centers on youth literacy practices and secondary English education in urban and transnational contexts. She has been a member of the Literacy Research Association since 2007 and has served in several roles, including as a former member of the LRA Board of Directors, and is currently one of the editors of the Journal of Literacy Research. Included among her scholarly works are the following books: Teaching Transnational Youth—Literacy and Education in a Changing World (2015) and Teaching Literacy in Troubled Times: Identity, Inquiry, and Social Action at the Heart of Instruction (2022) co-authored with Peter Smagorinsky.


View the latest COVID-19 recommendations here. To register for LRA’s 2022 Annual Conference, please visit the LRA website.

Integrative Research Review Spotlight on Mary McVee

The Literacy Research Association welcomes Mary B. McVee as one of its speakers for the 72nd Annual Conference as part of LRA’s Integrative Research Review PanelLRA’s IRR Panel Session, titled ‘Review and Scholarly Syntheses as Anti-Racist Action’ will focus specifically on the silencing of and importance of BIPOC authors and scholars, along with the history of their work and global impact.

McVee’s meta synthesis, titled: Racial Positioning and Emotion in Stories of Literacy Teachers: Transgressing Boundaries and Borders, co-authored with Aijuan Cun, University of New Mexico and Kristian Douglas, Clark Atlanta University, will draw inspiration from Bonilla-Silva’s idea of “racialized emotions”, focusing on the relationships between racial positioning and emotion. The review focuses on studies of teachers and teacher educators in educational and professional learning contexts that foreground race, literacy, and racialized positions through narratives, narrative research, or counter-narratives. This review will elaborate and address questions such as: “What racialized emotions are identified by researchers? What emotions are represented by researchers? What is the relationship between positions and racialized emotions?”

Mary McVee is Professor of Literacy Education and the Director of the Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. McVee received her doctoral degree in 1999 from Michigan State University and undergraduate degree in 1988 from the University of Montana. McVee uses her expertise in literacy, culture, and narrative as a tool for conducting research in the field of education. Her research traverses positioning theory; narrative, social and embodied learning; digital literacies and multimodality; multimodal communication and disciplinary literacies in children’s engineering; and diversities of language, literacy, and culture. She is currently lead editor on the Routledge International Handbook of Positioning Theory (McVee, Van Langenhove, Brock and Christensen), which is the first interdisciplinary handbook on positioning theory. Her most recent book, co-authored with Lisa Roof, is The experiences of refugee youth from Burma in an American high school: Countering deficit-based narratives through student voice (Routledge).


View the latest COVID-19 recommendations here. To register for LRA’s 2022 Annual Conference, please visit the LRA website.

Integrative Research Review Spotlight on Marcus Croom

The Literacy Research Association welcomes Marcus Croom as one of its speakers for the 72nd Annual Conference as part of LRA’s Integrative Research Review PanelLRA’s IRR Panel Session, titled ‘Review and Scholarly Syntheses as Anti-Racist Action’ will focus specifically on the silencing of and importance of BIPOC authors and scholars, along with the history of their work and global impact. Croom’s topic: Characterizing and Traversing Racial Literacies Scholarship focuses on discussing and characterizing racial literacies scholarships, as well as, highlighting examples in order to present possibilities for traversing and advancing this literature toward post-White futures.


Croom is an assistant professor in Literacy, Culture and Language Education and an adjunct assistant professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington (IUB). He started his career in research through the Literacy, Language and Culture program, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He aims to document teachers’ understandings of race and determine how these understandings impact teacher efficacy, student identification, and other teaching practices. As a race critical researcher, he focuses on race and literacies within educator preparation and educator development in American schooling. Specifically, teaching and learning that is practiced with the post-White orientation. He generates knowledge through practice of race theory (PRT), qualitative methods, and case study, more so in race critical practice analysis.


Croom’s mission is to cultivate more human fulfillment and mitigate human suffering. Holistically, his work consists of using research and experience to assist others with developing racial literacies, which in turn can advance the justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of schools, universities, businesses, organizations, and communities. Noted works that Croom has authored include: Real talk? How to discuss race, racism, and politics in 21st century American schools, “Black Lives Matter panel: A generous invitation to The Archive”, and “A case study from “Barracoon: The story of the last ‘Black Cargo'” with practice of race theory.”


To register for LRA’s 2022 Annual Conference, please visit the LRA website.

2022 Annual Meeting COVID-19 Recommendations

LRA takes the health and safety of its personnel and all guests at events very seriously. We remain mindful that COVID-19 variants and considerations for the health of attendees must be a priority.


To ensure everyone’s health and safety, all attendees are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test prior to attending the conference. 


Please do not attend the event if within ten (10) days preceding the event, you have tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID or other communicable disease; or experienced any new or unexplained symptoms commonly associated with COVID or other communicable disease. 


Although proof of vaccination is not required for attendance this year, in accordance with CDC recommendations, we  encourage attendees to get vaccinated and boosted if eligible and able to do so.


The CDC has recently revised its guidelines for mask wearing based on COVID-19 Community Levels. The current Community Level for Phoenix, Arizona is “Low,” so conference attendees may choose to wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. 


Similar to last year’s conference, color coded stickers will be available for attendees to place on their badges to indicate their social interaction level.


For example:

  • Green = hugs and handshakes
  • Yellow = elbow and fist bumps
  • Red = air high fives

Integrative Research Review Spotlight on Catherine Compton-Lilly

The Literacy Research Association welcomes Catherine Compton-Lilly as one of its speakers for the 72nd Annual Conference as part of LRA’s Integrative Research Review Panel. LRA’s IRR Panel Session, titled ‘Review and Scholarly Syntheses as Anti-Racist Action’ will focus specifically on the silencing of and importance of BIPOC authors and scholars, along with the history of their work and global impact. Dr. Compton-Lilly’s

studies focus heavily on these authors and scholars, with her work: A Metasynthesis and the Inclusion of Scholarship conducted by Black, Indigenous, People of Color that explores the lives and perspectives of academics within the BIPOC community.  As a panelist, she will provide insight and research regarding BIPOC members, bringing attention to anti-racism, and heightening the voices of all minorities.


Dr. Compton-Lilly will detail and share her research regarding how black, indigenous people of color have been singled out and othered within school systems, and in turn will reveal similar themes of exclusionism in academic scholarship. Her presentation will showcase extensive research regarding BIPOC scholars and their relationship to literary practices, including real perspectives from BIPOC academics, as well as detailed methodological research to highlight the issue.

Compton-Lilly is the John C. Hungerpiller Professor at the University of South Carolina. She’s an established professor and academic in the College of Education. Primarily, most of her extensive research has been within familial literacy practices, with a particular interest in the literacy practices of children from communities that have been undeserved by other schools. Now, Dr. Compton-Lilly is currently studying and exploring the family literacy practices of immigrant families. She is an author and editor of eleven books, as well as multiple articles in major literacy journals including Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, The Reading Teacher, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Written Communication, Journal of Literacy Research, and Language Arts.


Dr. Catherine Compton-Lilly has a unique passion for helping teachers assist children with reading, writing, and other literacy practices. She has a great interest in teacher education and is currently documenting the exceptional teacher education practices at the University of South Carolina. Other interests of hers include early reading and writing, student diversity, and working with families. Dr. Compton-Lilly holds emerita status at the University of Wisconsin Madison.  She is currently serving as an Honorary Visiting Professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and completing a Fulbright Research and Teaching Fellowship in Taiwan.


Advance registration for the 2022 LRA Annual Conference ends on October 14th. To register, please visit the LRA website.

2022 LRA Distinguished Scholar Award Recipient Announced

The Literacy Research Association is thrilled to announce that Dr. Guadalupe Valdés has been selected by the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award Committee as the 2022 Distinguished Scholar Award Recipient. The award ceremony and presentation will be held at the 2022 LRA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, November 29th – December 3rd, 2022.


Valdés is the Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor of Education, Emerita at Stanford University. Much of her work has focused on the English-Spanish bilingualism of Latinos in the United States and on discovering and describing how two languages are developed, used, and maintained by individuals who become bilingual in immigrant communities.


Valdés has also conducted extensive work on teaching, maintaining and preserving heritage languages among minority populations. Her early publications in this area include edited volumes, journal articles and language textbooks. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Education.


In her presentation, Valdés will draw from long term concerns about the relationship between oral language and beginning reading in the case of Latino English language learners. Informed by current problematizations of language itself in the field of applied linguistics, she will focus on the challenges of curricularizing language in school settings, that is, of formally “teaching” English as a second language to young children. She specifically problematizes language instruction as it takes place in classroom settings and the impact of this practice on minoritized students.


Her books include Bilingualism and testing: A special case of bias (Valdés & Figueroa, Ablex, 1994), Con respeto: Bridging the distance between culturally diverse families and schools (Teachers College Press, 1996), Learning and not Learning English (Teachers College Press, 2001) Expanding Definitions of Giftedness: Young Interpreters of Immigrant Background (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003), Developing minority language resources: The case of Spanish in California (Valdés, Fishman, Chavez & Perez, Multilingual Matters, 2006) and Latino Children Learning English: Steps in the Journey  (Valdés, Capitelli & Alvarez, Teachers College Press, 2010).



Advance registration for the 2022 LRA Annual Conference ends on October 15th. To register, please visit the LRA website.

International ICG Now Accepting Travel Grant Applications

The International ICG 

The International ICG is a group of researchers who are interested in international and global research. We engage with participants across different nationalities. The goal of the International ICG is to increase the presence of such research in the LRA. 


International ICG Travel Grants 

LRA International ICG offers partial travel support to a small number of international scholars to help defray costs of attending the LRA Annual Meeting. The LRA Board of Directors has allocated funds for this purpose. The amount of travel grant that individual applicants will receive will vary with travel distance.


Those eligible for this support are ICG members who are currently living outside of the U.S. and who have a paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Conference. Prior recipients who received this support within the last three years are not eligible. 


Priority will be given to 

Doctoral students or junior faculty members who received their doctorate within the last five years; 

Members attending the Annual Conference for the first time; 

Members who are from countries with limited research infrastructure and funding. 

Applicants are strongly advised to secure funding from in-country and/or international sources such as the Ministry of Education, international agencies, and philanthropic organizations. 


How to Apply 

Applicants are to send in their application forms and queries to Lina Trigos-Carrillo, The application form can be accessed here


Please write “International ICG Travel Grant” in the subject line. Application forms are attached. Your application will be acknowledged upon receipt. 


Deadline of Application 

Please submit your application forms via email by midnight EST on Friday, October 7th, 2022. 


Award Announcement 

The International ICG co-chairs will contact the travel grant recipients by the end of October 2022. Recipients will receive their checks during the International ICG Business Meeting at the 2022 LRA Conference on Nov. 30th.


Integrative Research Review Announced for LRA’s 72nd Annual Meeting

The Literacy Research Association is honored to have revered literacy professionals Dr. Catherine Compton-Lilly, Dr. Marcus Croom, Dr. Allison Skerrett and Dr. Mary McVee participate in the Integrative Research Review Panel at the 2022 Annual Conference to be held in Phoenix, AZ at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa from November 29th – December 3rd, 2022.


Details on the session, titled Review and Scholarly Syntheses as Anti-Racist Action can be read below.

For 35 years, W.S. Gray published the annual Summary of Investigations Relating to Reading (1925-1960). Alongside these summaries were dozens of other reviews related to various aspects of literacy. Among the documents was a lone and troubling reminder of the historical silencing of African American voices in literacy scholarship. In short, there was one review, published in 1958 and ancillary to Gray’s official Summary Investigations, entitled, “A Summary of Reading Investigations among Negro College Students, 1940-1954.” This was the only review that named a population of color. This review was written by a well-established, but essentially forgotten, African American scholar, Leander L. Boykin. Boykin was the first African American scholar to receive a Ph.D. in education from Stanford University(1948) (Hood, 2001). His interest in making sense of bodies of educational scholarship led him to advocate for the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative data in order to “evaluate such correlative factors as the social and economic backgrounds of pupils and the educational climate in which classroom and school activities are conducted” (Boykin, 1957, p. 118). While Boykin’s scholarly output remains impressive, his legacy of affecting the trajectory of review scholarship to include African American communities was minimal. In short, it was not until 1975 and again in 1976, that reviews focused on the experiences African American students were again published (see Somervill, 1975; Harber & Bryen, 1976).

This historical omission is significant and it is not a minor oversight. Scholarly reviews provide both novice and established scholars with macro views of our field. They focus on what is considered important and worthy of attention. It is with this history in mind that the Integrative Review Panel for LRA 2022 has been organized. Across the papers presented in this panel, presenters will explore silences and obfuscations relative to the voices of BIPOC scholars and the experiences of BIPOC communities. The panel views the public presentation of these syntheses as an intentionally anti-racist act designed to name, describe, and celebrate the contributions of BIPOC scholarship. Panel participants are confident that the LRA community will find this work impressive, inspiring, and important.

A Metasynthesis and the Inclusion of Scholarship conducted by Black, Indigenous, People of Color

Catherine Compton-Lilly, University of South Carolina; co-authors Tisha Lewis Ellison, University of Georgia and Rebecca Rogers, University of Missouri, Saint Louis

Characterizing and Traversing Racial Literacies Scholarship
Marcus Croom, Indiana University

Banned Books and Banners for Change: Literacy Education for Troubled Times
Allison Skerrett, University of Texas at Austin

Racial Positioning and Emotion in Stories of Literacy Teachers: Transgressing Boundaries and Borders
Mary McVee, University of Buffalo, SUNY; co-authors Aijuan Cun, University of New Mexico and Kristian Douglas, Clark Atlanta University

In the coming weeks, LRA will share further details on each panelist’s biography and presentation. Registration for 2022 Annual Conference is now open.


Boykin, L. L. (1957). Who is the exceptional child?. The Elementary School Journal, 58(1), 42-47.

Harber, J. R., & Bryen, D. N. (1976). Black English and the task of reading. Review of Educational Research, 46(3), 387-405.

Hood, S. (2001). Nobody knows my name: In praise of African American evaluators who were responsive. New Directions for Evaluation, (92), 31-44.

Somervill, M. A. (1975). Dialect and reading: A review of alternative solutions. Review of Educational Research, 45(2), 247-262.

LRA 2022 Student Outstanding Research Award

Are you a student already looking forward to this year’s LRA Conference? Have you conceptualized a promising paper based on your research? Would you like the opportunity to have your paper published in Literacy Research: Theory, Methods and Practice?


If so, please consider applying for the LRA 2022 Student Outstanding Research Award.


The Student Outstanding Research Award annually honors a student member of LRA in recognition of an outstanding research paper presented at the Annual Conference.


Requirements include the following:

    • The author must hold student status.
    • Research must be conducted by the student.
    • Paper must be written solely by the student or co-authored with students.
    • Paper cannot be co-authored or co-presented with a faculty member.
    • Paper must have been accepted for presentation at the 2022 Conference.
    • Papers representing various forms and genres of research (including conceptual papers)
      are welcome.


To be considered, submit your application to Jud Laughter at with “LRA 2022 SORA Application” in the subject by 1 September


For more information, visit