68th Annual Conference Presenters

Gay Ivey
Title: Engaging Possibilities: Reinvigorating the Call for Research on Reading
Presidential Address - Wednesday, November 28, 4:45 - 6:00 p.m.
Abstract: Twenty-five years ago, a report documenting the mission of the National Reading Research Center (Alvermann & Guthrie, 1993) cited four pervasive problems in literacy: 
  • The large number of U. S. citizens with limited experiences with literacy
  • Inequity in meeting literacy needs
  • The stagnation of reading instruction and the limited influence of research on instruction
  • The prevalence of decontextualized reading research

In response and over the next five years, the NRRC proposed and generated an impressive body of research based on a unifying idea that these problems might be productively addressed by prioritizing literacy engagement in schools, homes, and communities. Yet, despite remarkable strides in understanding the potential of engagement on literacy participation (particularly outof-school) and achievement since that time and indeed, the widespread acknowledgement of engagement as important, the fundamental problems around literacy levels, inequity, instruction, and the kinds of research favored in educational policies persist.

In this talk, I will propose that an engagement perspective still matters, but that chipping away at the problems demands a view on reading engagement that implicates the breadth of human development. Can we teach children and young adults about reading while simultaneously and inseparably teaching them how to take control of their own lives and relationships, a possibility that has been just barely touched by research and even less so by educational policies and practice? I will highlight research findings that suggest the promise of literacy engagement for clarifying and expanding how we think about reading assessment, achievement, comprehension, socio-emotional growth, and equity in literacy instruction.  And yes, I will argue that in order to influence, through an engagement perspective, the transformation of reading-related policies—and more importantly the agentive transformation of individuals and communities—we must renew our commitment to research conducted in classrooms and in partnership with teachers and families.

Bio: Gay Ivey is President of the Literacy Research Association and the William E. Moran Distinguished Professor in Literacy at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  She began her career in education as a reading specialist and teacher at Leslie H. Walton Middle School in Charlottesville, Virginia. She holds a B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary, an M.Ed. in Reading Education from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Georgia.  Prior to her present position she served as the Tashia F. Morgridge Chair in Reading at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she has also held positions at James Madison University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. 

Her research centers on what engagement in reading means for the literate, academic, emotional and relational lives of children and adolescents. She is particularly interested in the properties and positive consequences of engaged literacy classrooms. Her work is widely published in research journals such as Reading Research Quarterly and Journal of Literacy Research, and in practitioner-oriented journals such as Journal of Adolescent & Adult LiteracyThe Reading Teacher, Language Arts, and Educational Leadership. She has been awarded two Elva Knight Research Grants from the International Literacy Association.  She is highly engaged in the professional development of teachers, particularly in their efforts to make literacy instruction and literate practices more meaningful in the lives of their students. She is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.


Peter Johnston 
Oscar S. Causey Address - Thursday, November 29, 10:15 - 11:45 a.m.
Title: Talking Children into Literacy: Once More, with Feeling

Abstract: Children’s literate development is mediated by classroom talk, and our theories of literacy and teaching influence that talk. Whether we view literacy and its acquisition as fundamentally social (hence also emotional) rather than as essentially cognitive, affects our orchestration of classroom talk. That same talk also mediates children’s emotional, relational, self-regulatory, and moral development, which in turn play surprising roles in their literate development. For example, literacy learning requires cognitive self-regulation (e.g., memory and attention), social self-regulation in interactions with peers and teachers, and emotional self-regulation (e.g., frustration and anxiety). Children who develop self-regulation earlier and to higher levels, also develop decoding and reading comprehension earlier. Similarly, children’s attachment to teacher, school and peers, also influenced by classroom talk, is reciprocally related to whether they become engaged and take short and long term pleasure in the literate activities they experience in school. In other words, children need to acquire “the codes,” but the ecology of acquisition matters a great deal both for the ease of acquisition and for the nature of the literacy that is acquired.

Bio: Peter Johnston is Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany - SUNY. His current research explores links among classroom talk, engagement, and children’s social, emotional and literate development. He has published over 80 scholarly articles and 11 books, some published in multiple languages.

Recognition for his work includes the Albert J. Harris Award from the International Literacy Association for contributions to the understanding of reading disability and the State University of New York, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research. Most recently, the Literacy Research Association honored him with the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award, citing his book Choice Words as having “demonstrably and positively influenced literacy teaching in classrooms and districts nationally,” and the Oscar Causey Award for outstanding contributions to reading research. He is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.


Luis Moll
Distinguished Service Award Address - Thursday, November 29, 4:45 - 6:00 p.m.
Title: The Translocation and Transformation of Funds of Knowledge
Abstract: TBA

Bio: Luis C. Moll, born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies, College of Education, University of Arizona. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Early Childhood Development from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Prior to his current position, he was an Assistant Research Psychologist at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition of the University of California, San Diego.  His main research interest is the connection among culture, psychology and education, especially as it relates to the education of Latino children in the US.  His edited volume, Vygotsky and education was published in 1990 (Cambridge University Press); his co-edited volume, Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms, was published in 2005 (Erlbaum), and his most recent book, L. S. Vygotsky and education, was published in 2014 (Routledge Press).  Among his honors, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Education (1998), named a Kappa Delta Pi Laureate (2013), and Fellow (2009) of the American Educational Research Association.  He was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015, the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association in 2018, and the Outstanding Language Arts Educator Award by the National Council of Teachers of English in 2018.


Bettina Love
Plenary Address - Friday, November 30, 4:45 - 6:00 p.m.
Title: We Gon' Be Alright, But That Ain't Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Abstract: Dr. Love’s talk will discuss the struggle and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, not reform. Abolitionist Teaching is built on the creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists to demand and fight for an educational system where all students are thriving, not simply surviving.  

Bio: Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her research also focuses on how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-sexist educational, equitable classrooms. For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. 

Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education for elementary aged students. She is the founder of Real Talk: Hip Hop Education for Social Justice, an after school initiative aimed at teaching elementary students the history and elements of Hip Hop for social justice through project-based learning.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics including: Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Dr. Love is one of the founding board members of The Kindezi School, an innovative school focused on small classrooms and art-based education. Finally, she is the author of the book Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education,The Urban Review, and Journal of LGBT Youth.In 2017, Dr. Love edited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on the identities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators. She is currently working on her second book, We Want to Do More Than Survive: A Pedagogy of Mattering.