Ideas That Changed Literacy Practices
First Person Accounts from Leading Voices
Published: November 2021
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Published: October 2021

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Published: October 2021
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6" x 9"
Language: English

A 2022 SPE Outstanding Book Award Winner

How do ideas change practices and people? In Ideas That Changed Literacy Practices, 32 influential scholars in literacy education get personal about how they have worked on ideas and how those ideas have worked on them. Together, the essays offer never-before revealed personal histories of the authors’ published writing about ideas that have shaped the field of literacy education. As a collection, the essays highlight some of the major themes that have guided and changed literacy practices over the last few decades. They also offer a rare glimpse into the complex ways histories of research emerge alongside personal and political influences on policy and practice.

The volume includes an introductory chapter by Sumara and Alvermann in which they detail the processes they used in creating a context for the significance of this work. They begin with the premise that most literacy scholars rarely, if ever, reveal their personal and intellectual investments in ideas that have animated their research and other scholarly endeavors. That this observation rang true for all of the contributors was evidenced in their responses to the invitation. For example, some replied by saying this was the most exciting project they had engaged in because it required reflection on what motivated them to write the requested 3,500-word essay; others mentioned they were looking forward to reading what their peers would share.

Ideas That Changed Literacy Practices is a unique collection of autobiographical essays that situates literacy learning and teaching in a rich context of personal and professional knowledge that highlights and celebrates the vibrant complexities of the field of literacy education. It is a unique and valuable resource for researchers and educators, whether in K-12 or higher education.

Perfect for courses such as: Introduction to Literacy Research ӏ Literacy Research and Methods ӏ Language, Literacy and Culture ӏ Literacy Policy and Practice ӏ Narrative Research ӏ Interpretive Inquiry ӏ Research Methods in Education ӏ Foundations of Literacy Education ӏ Research Methods in Language and Literacy ӏ Popular Culture in Literacy Classrooms ӏ New and Digital Literacies ӏ History of Literacy Practices ӏ Educational Philosophy ӏ Reading and Language Arts ӏ Critical Theory ӏ Poststructuralism ӏ Digital Media Education ӏ Creative Writing ӏ Politics of Literacy

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1
Challenging the “I” That We Are
Dennis Sumara and Donna E. Alvermann

Chapter 2
Reading and Learning: An Intricate and Inseparable Bond
Patricia A. Alexander

Chapter 3
Entanglements: Searching for Historical Authenticity
Donna E. Alvermann

Chapter 4
Empowerment and Values in School Change
Kathryn H. Au

Chapter 5
Listening Across Differences
Maren Aukerman

Chapter 6

Literacy, English, and Video Games: Challenges and Continuities Through Change
Catherine Beavis

Chapter 7
When You Goin’ Teach Us How to Make That Money?
George Boggs

Chapter 8
The Everydayness of Religious Literacies
Kevin Burke

Chapter 9
Nurturing Communities of Inquiry Across Difference: Decolonial Social Formations in Literacy Research and Practice
Gerald Campano

Chapter 10
On the Failure of Reason in the Face of Belief
Mark Dressman

Chapter 11
“Where Are You?”: Reading, Repositioning, and Imagining for Antiracist Futures
Patricia Enciso

Chapter 12
Socially Embodied Experience: An Explanatory Model for Literacy Based on Strangeness
James Paul Gee

Chapter 13
Performed Ethnography
Tara Goldstein

Chapter 14
Rich Points on a Reflexive Journey to Understanding Language–Literacy Relationships
Judith Green

Chapter 15
Rhizomatic Cartography of a Literate Life
Margaret Carmody Hagood

Chapter 16
Land, Language, and Learning: Living in Good Relations
Jan Hare

Chapter 17
Transmediation: Nurturing Imagination Through Abduction
Jerome C. Harste

Chapter 18
Hybrid Spaces, Design, and Imagination in the Practice of Transformative Literacy Teacher Preparation: A Personal Journey
James Hoffman

Chapter 19
Naturalizing Literacy: Finding Meaning in the Biology of Language, Thought, and Being
George G. Hruby

Chapter 20
Refusing and Accepting the Hail: Interpellation as a Personally Liberating Concept
Hilary Janks

Chapter 21
Memes and Meme-ing: Research and Meaning
Michele Knobel

Chapter 22
Virtual Shifts: Rethinking Literacies in Home and School
Linda Laidlaw

Chapter 23
Memes and Meme-ing: Rethinking Internet Memes for a Better Future
Colin Lankshear

Chapter 24
Agency and Assemblage in Children’s Literacies
Kim Lenters

Chapter 25
Heteroglossia, Emotion, and the Transformation of Signs
Cynthia Lewis

Chapter 26
The Lyric of Witnessing and the Insight of Resonance
Rebecca Luce-Kapler

Chapter 27
Cultural Modeling on My Mind: Reframing Racialized Literacy Practices, and Reimagining Human Learning
Ramón Antonio Martínez

Chapter 28
Making Meaning, Making Sense
Guy Merchant

Chapter 29
Wahkohtowin: Reading, Writing, and Kinship
Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Chapter 30
Enacting Critical Race Parenting Through/With a Family Literacies Archive
Rebecca Rogers

Chapter 31
An Intellectual Path Paved With Emotions and Shaped by Cultures
Peter Smagorinsky

Chapter 32
Restorying My Archive of Deferrals
Dennis Sumara

Chapter 33
Going Public: Literacy Practices that Changed My Ideas
John Willinsky

Author Biographies


NOTE: Table of Contents subject to change up until publication date.

Reviews & Endorsements:

“…this volume makes important contributions to the field of literacy, especially for teacher educators. Readers will gain an appreciation of many of the ideas that have shaped the field and, even more interestingly, of the stories and personalities behind those ideas.” (Read the full review at English Education Journal, June 2023.)

Benjamin N. Lathrop, Purdue University

"Edited by noted language and literary scholars Sumara (Univ. of Calgary, Canada) and Alvermann (Univ. of Georgia), this collection assembles 33 different first-person perspectives on literacy practices over the decades. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the world was in lockdown, the editors managed an unexpected task by requiring each contributing author to share the “I” that challenged them to describe, analyze, and interpret how their research, ideas, and practices had evolved. Every essay makes readers want more insights as the idea of reading development becomes intertwined across the life span of reading and learning. As leading experts reflect on their own lived experiences with the language-literacy processes in education, readers will find that the chapter conclusions challenge them to examine their personal literacy practices and to move forward in making meaning in their own world. Education professionals in the field and graduate students in literacy education will benefit from reading this text. The historical context situating the research methods enlivens the text with personal practices and political influences."

Review in December 2022, Vol. 60 No. 4 issue of CHOICE by D. Pellegrino, University of Scranton

“When Dennis Sumara and Donna Alvermann publish an edited collection on impactful literacy practices, students and scholars of literacy education pay attention. …Quite simply, Sumara and Alvermann’s collection of first-person narratives provides a personalized historical analysis of literacy practices in education. The authors of this collection show how literacy education has pivoted from measurement to empowerment. By connecting the body, its emotions and physical conditions, to the mind, this collection of narratives highlights the social practice that is literacy and literacy education.” (Read the full review in Teachers College Record, Sept. 20, 2022.)

Reviewed by Taylor Norman for Teachers College Record (9/20/22)

Ideas That Changed Literacy Practices is so much more than just a superb introduction to the field of literacy studies. These writers’ journeys through the field are fascinating stories of ideas and concepts gained and lost, assembled and taken-apart, lived and professed. There are lessons here about how the field came to be, about how these scholars and ideas struggled to make a difference, and about the urgent task of assembling a diverse tool kit for these difficult times and strange days.”

Allan Luke, Emeritus Professor, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Ideas That Changed Literary Practices is a volume that comes at a crucial time. As scholars and educators re-imagine literacy work during multiple pandemics, we grapple with the purpose of our work to enact change. This volume centers the power of story, identity, and inquiry in literacy scholarship by showing the humanity in research and researchers in first-person accounts. We hear the stories behind the development of frameworks and models, in narratives that help us understand how ideas emerge, circulate, and evolve over time. We learn how researchers pursue questions—in collaboration with youth, teachers, families, communities—and find themselves changed in the process. A wonderful resource to generate dialogue about the multiple trajectories one can follow in becoming a literacy scholar.”

Silvia Noguerón-Liu, Associate Professor, University of Colorado-Boulder

“The collection of accounts in Ideas That Changed Literacy Practices is profoundly scholarly and provocative, a mix of breakthroughs and inspirations and historical accounts of influences—people and events, questions and discoveries. The collection portrays a range of inquiries via autobiographical accounts of literacy scholars charged with reading themselves through the lens of an idea key to their thinking. Thanks to Dennis Sumara and Donna E. Alvermann for imagining the possibilities that would emanate from the quest they set for authors, as well as their trust in the treasures that these authors would provide. These varied and multifaceted autobiographical explorations illuminate the rich and diverse ecology of our literacies as well as the passions of many of the esteemed scholars who contributed.”

Robert J. Tierney, Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus, University of British Columbia

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