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Reading the Past, Writing the Future: A Century of American Literacy Education and the National Council of Teachers of English

To celebrate NCTE's 100th anniversary, the Task Force on Council History suggested a volume documenting the history of literacy education and of NCTE. Edited by NCTE Parliamentarian Erika Lindemann, with an introduction by Task Force Chair Leila Christenbury, Reading the Past, Writing the Future contains about a dozen essays across an encompassing range of literacy-related topics.

The authors, Christenbury notes, are among “the finest in their fields.” And while NCTE’s history certainly is central to the book, Lindemann clarifies, “It isn’t a decade-by-decade history. The thinking,” Lindemann explains, “was that this book should make some sort of claim about American literacy . . .to show how NCTE has shaped and responded to these larger concerns, either as an agent for  change or as a resource for teachers to meet students’ needs.”

Christenbury’s introductory essay discusses trends in American literacy education. Then, prominent scholars focus on activities and subject matters central to teaching English language arts and college English:

  • teaching reading, writing, language, and literature;
  • using new media effectively;
  • working for social justice in the classroom, school, and community;
  • devising responsible means to assess the work of students and teachers;
  • initiating the next generation into the profession;
  • cultivating an ethos for action among those who support as well as critique this work;
  • looking toward the work that remains to be done in the century ahead.

Contributors include Leila Christenbury; Donna E. Alvermann; Anne Ruggles Gere; Stephen Tchudi; Arthur N. Applebee, Judith A. Langer, and Marc A. Nachowitz; Mary T. Christel, with Sandy Hayes; Carol D. Lee and Anika Spratley; Kathleen Blake Yancey; Patricia Lambert Stock; Jacqueline Jones Royster; and John S. Mayher.

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts