Dear LRA Family and Friends,
Greetings to everyone! I trust this message finds you healthy and thriving!
Welcome to the first LRA newsletter of 2022. This first one will be followed every other month with subsequent newsletters containing a range of information, including membership news, important information about the 72nd Conference, LRA’s strategic plans and collaborations with other professional organizations and much more. Thanks goes to the great team effort by LRA’s e-editors, the Technology and Digital Communications committee, and Headquarters staff in getting the newsletter up and running as well as working diligently to customize the new website and streamline LRA’s communication venues.
Planning for the 72nd LRA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ is in full swing. Conference Chair, Doris Walker-Dalhouse, and Associate Conference Chair, Alfred Tatum, have already created an exciting line up of plenary speakers, including Dr. Angela Valenzuela from the University of Texas at Austin. The reviewing of conference proposals is underway, and thanks again goes to the Area Chairs of the 14 submission areas who, working closely with Doris and Al, will put together a stellar, intellectually stimulating research program in line with this year’s theme of “Crossing Boundaries and Borders: In Pursuit of Equity, Solidarity, and Social Justice.”
LRA is currently involved in three important initiatives with other professional groups. At the 71st Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Carol Lee, President of the National Academy of Education, introduced NA.Ed.’s “Civic Reasoning and Discourse” project and invited the LRA membership to contribute to the creation and dissemination of informational and curricular materials regarding key educational issues of the day and targeted for policymakers, school district officials, parents and teachers, and other interested stakeholders. Some of this information has been created and NA.Ed. President Lee has asked for LRA’s cooperation in dissemination and in the provision of on-going professional development where needed.
Earlier this spring in March, Rob Tierney, President of ILA, initiated a discussion with members of the Reading Hall of Fame and the leadership of ILA and LRA to brainstorm a world-wide mentoring program to include emerging scholars from several countries with a particular focus upon researchers from Indigenous areas, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asian and East Asian countries. The project would involve inviting established scholars from all over the world to volunteer as a mentor to one or more junior researchers in their areas of expertise and interest, in addition to being a sounding board for career and professional trajectories. With affiliates in 128 countries, Rob felt that ILA already has an existing network within which to work and communicate with local researchers and educators.
Over the past several months, beginning with conversations initiated by Past President, Gwendolyn McMillon, LRA has been in discussions with Sage Publishing about presenting a workshop or webinar to LRA membership on topics in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Sage already has an extensive list of resources that they provide to the editorial teams of over 1,000 journals to ensure fair and equitable reviewing procedures. While still in the planning stages, as of now, this webinar or workshop would be open for all LRA members to attend.
One of the ongoing issues across many years in LRA has been discussion about the choice of conference locations and venues. To that end, I created a new Administrative Committee—the Conference Venue Selection Committee—which is chaired by former LRA president, Janice Almasi. This committee’s charge includes exploring the many, complicated issues involved in making this decision such as the costs and logistics of various hotel, conference center and university venues, the internet capabilities for conducting a truly hybrid conference, locations other than in the south, accessibility of travel and local transportation, contract negotiation issues, adjacency to reasonably priced restaurants and entertainment, just to name a few. The final report of the committee’s findings will be presented in December 2022 at the 72nd conference. Other members of the committee include Elena Andrei, Kelley Atkinson, Tiffany Flowers, Gay Ivey, Catherine Lilly, Marla Mallette, Gwen McMillon, Tairan Qiu, and Bettina Buch.
Finally, while 2022 has seen some respite from the spread of COVID-19, LRA has joined other professional organizations such as AERA, the National Academy of Education, and the National Institute of Early Education Research in condemning and mourning the horrific loss of life resulting from recent gun violence at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a church in Orange County, California. Sadly, in addition to these lives lost, another nine persons were killed and 70 more wounded due to shootings just over the Memorial Day weekend cbsnews.com/news/memorial-day-weekend-mass-shootings-2022. LRA is now in the process of reaching out to AERA, for example, to collaborate in efforts to bring together researchers and educators to discuss and forge plans for research to curb gun violence and support the families of victims.
With appreciation for all that you do,
|Shooting in Uvalde, TX
Once again and too soon, we are mourning more senseless and horrific deaths as a result of another mass shooting in America—this time 19 third, and fourth graders and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. This unconscionable loss of life and the aftermath of unspeakable pain, grief, and anger should touch us all deeply as literacy educators and researchers. These are our children too. Read more.
|Statement on Recent Murders in Buffalo and Orange County
Once again, we as a nation are grieving the loss of life in both Buffalo and Orange County. This systemic, racist and political/ethnic violence has far reaching and life-altering impacts, not only for the families and communities who are mourning the unconscionable death of their loved ones and neighbors, but for all of us—it changes our journey in this world, our relationships, our identities, our actions. Read more.
|Message from the Conference Chair and LRA President Elect
Each new school or community shooting, challenge to texts used for instruction, laws designed to silence the voices of groups of individuals, and rhetoric that creates fear about “the other” and leads to marginalization cause us to pause and ask, “What is next?” While these are just a few of the sources of our individual discontents, we know that there are others not often mentioned but that need to be addressed. There are silences that immobilize us from taking the steps needed to bridge differences in our opinions about the causes and actions needed to correct these issues.
The 72nd Annual Conference is intended to provide an opportunity for us to engage in critical dialogue and as expressed by Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of our Discontent, that address the longstanding and powerful issues that divide us and operate in silence in “search for the unseen stirrings of the human heart .” This year’s conference committee is working diligently and intentionally to provide opportunities for LRA family and friends to engage in the critical discussions needed to cross the boundaries and borders that negatively impact literacy research, policies, and practices.
Alfred Tatum, Associate Conference Chair, and I want to thank the dedicated Area Chairs, and those of you who submitted proposals and/ or served as reviewers to create a quality program that will be well worth your time and travel to Phoenix. We strongly encourage you to spread the word about this year’s conference and invite colleagues, friends, students, and members of your respective communities committed to change to join us. Conference registration will open later this summer. Look for updated conference information on the LRA website.
|Esteemed Education Policy Expert Committed to Speak at Annual Meeting
Dr. Angela Valenzuela, a renowned education policy expert, has committed to speak at the Literacy Research Association’s 72nd Annual Meeting to be held at the Arizona Grand Resort from November 29 – December 3, 2022. Dr. Valenzuela is a professor in both the Cultural Studies in Education Program within the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the Educational Policy and Planning Program within the Department of Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin where she also serves as the director of the Texas Center for Education Policy. Read more.
|Submit Content for Critical Conversations
Critical Conversations (in Literacy Research & Education) is the name of the stream of posts and updates at the front of the LRA website. Our mission is to create a space for students, educators, and researchers to share their narratives to create an inclusive and equitable teaching, learning, and working environment for all. Read more.
|Submit Your 2023 LRA Board Nominations!
WE NEED YOUR INPUT. Please nominate LRA members who are willing to serve a 3-year term as an LRA Board Member or make a 5-year commitment to matriculate through the presidential line (VP-elect, VP, Pres-elect, President, Past President). Read more.
|Accepting Nominations for the 2022 P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award
The purpose of this annual award is to honor, in P. David Pearson’s name, the author(s) of an article, chapter, or book written at least 5 years prior to the nomination, which has positively and demonstrably influenced literacy practices and/or policies within district, school and/or classroom contexts. Read more.
|Accepting Nominations for the 2022 Arthur Applebee Award
Please take a moment to submit a nomination for an article for the Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy. The deadline is Tuesday, September 6, 2022. The Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy is presented annually to honor an outstanding article in literacy research published in a refereed journal in the previous calendar year. Read more.
|Accepting Nominations for the 2022 Brian Street Award
Please consider nominating yourself or someone else for the Brian Street Memorial Award. Brian Street was a British anthropologist whose scholarship helped establish the social turn in literacy research. A core theme of Street’s scholarship was recognizing the dignity and integrity of all people and their uses of written language as they navigated the social, cultural, economic, and political structures of their lives. Read more.
|2021 Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee Travel Award Winners
The Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee (ERM) is committed to supporting and promoting the work of scholars from diverse backgrounds. This year, the ERM awarded eight doctoral student or early career scholars of color the ERM Travel Award to present their research at LRA 2021. The travel award committee (composed of Mandy Stewart, Cynthia Reyes, and Tiffany Flowers) received 22 competitive nominations. We recognize the following awardee’s excellence in literacy research:
The ERM will have another travel award competition to support emerging scholars of color who are presenting their research at the LRA 2022 convention in Phoenix, AZ. We will share the announcement for applications shortly after proposal notifications are sent out.
Congratulations to the 2021 awardees! (They are pictured below with ERM 2021 Chair, Bogum Yoon and Travel Awards Chair, Mandy Stewart.)
The Impact of Gunther Kress on Social Semiotics and Education
Open to all! Join the Semiotics in Education SIG on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Eastern Time for an exciting panel featuring the work and legacy of Gunther Kress. Read more.
Flowers, T. A. (2022). A critical call for research about the literacy access of Black incarcerated youth. Journal of Language and Literacy in Education: Scholars Speak Out Series. Access the publication here.
Duo of Scholars Release Critical Issues in Education Text.Investigating Critical & Contemporary Issues in Education by Dr. Tiffany A. Flowers and Dr. Dorian Harrison is a foundational text for undergraduate education majors. The text focuses on the historical and theoretical underpinnings in the field. Additionally, the text features include 21st century topics from civil rights in education, reform, international education, and social and political issues in education. Read more here.
|LRA Mourns the Passing of Dr. Barbara Guzzetti
Dr. Barbara Guzzetti passed away on Saturday, May 21st. Education was Barbara’s lifelong passion. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Northern University in DeKalb, Illinois, and her PhD. from the University of Colorado, specializing in Reading/Literacy Education. Barbara was a notable researcher, writer, and professor at Arizona State University in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.
Barbara’s list of academic credits, awards, and citations is endless and her social life has been as fulfilling as her academic one. She was known as a gourmet cook and an animal-rights activist. Barbara will also be remembered by those who joined her in rescuing Havanese dogs.
Barbara is remembered by her friends as representing LRA in many ways. She embodied the values of concern for those marginalized by systems and “business-as-usual” policies. Education was Barbara’s lifelong passion and showed not only in her research but in her dedication to fairness, her profound curiosity and openmindedness, and humble generosity. At her life’s end, she went knowing that her contributions helped make the world a better place.