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    COVID-19: What ILA Is Doing to Support Educators During This Time of Disruption

    By Marcie Craig Post
     | Mar 23, 2020

    Marcie Craig Post headshotThere’s no way to know at this time how lasting an impact the coronavirus outbreak will have on our lives, let alone our classrooms. More and more schools across the globe are closing their buildings to help slow the spread of the virus. To minimize the disruption to education, many institutions are transitioning to virtual learning environments.

    This makes sense, in theory. But as those in the education community know all too well, lack of equipment and/or access introduce a fresh new set of challenges. The same can be said for teachers asked to make the move to online learning without formal training or practice.

    On behalf of the International Literacy Association (ILA), I want to let you know that we are here to support you in any way possible. As a first step, we are creating a series of virtual professional learning events that will be open and free to all—both members and nonmembers.

    The first, Edcamp Online, will take place April 7 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. Our goal is to create a space where educators can connect in real time, on a level deeper than even Twitter or Facebook Live can provide. Social isolation may be necessary, but it’s also linked to adverse health consequences. We’re hoping this will, in some small way, help combat that.

    We’re also increasing the number of free resources available. The most significant of these: We’re reopening access to select sessions from the ILA 2019 Conference. Beginning April 1, you’ll once again be able to learn from Pedro Noguera, David Kirkland, Tricia Ebarvia, Donalyn Miller, and more.

    On a separate note: We’ve received a few inquiries regarding the ILA 2020 Conference, which takes place in Columbus, OH, October 15–18, 2020. As of today, we are proceeding with the conference as planned.

    Rest assured that the health and safety of our participants is our primary concern. We are in daily communication with key officials regarding the latest developments of the virus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the city of Columbus, and we will continue to follow and implement the government-recommended health and safety guidelines for planning the event and conference operations.

    Earlier this month, we made the decision to close our headquarters office in Newark, DE, and we have asked staff to work remotely until further notice. But operations continue, and we will continue to develop new avenues of support.

    I also want to encourage you to share with us the work you’re doing in your schools and communities by sending an email to social@reading.org. We are eager to celebrate the extraordinary ways in which you’re responding to what is a most extraordinary situation.

    From all of us at ILA: Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in touch.

    Marcie Craig Post is the executive director of the International Literacy Association.

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    P. David Pearson Remembers Kenneth S. Goodman

    By P. David Pearson
     | Mar 23, 2020
    Kenneth Goodman headshot

    On March 12, ILA past president Kenneth S. Goodman passed away peacefully at home. Goodman was without question one of the most influential scholars in the field of literacy education. In this series of posts, several of Goodman’s colleagues reflect on the indelible impact of his work and his life.

    When I received the email from my colleague Patty Anders letting me know that Ken had died, my heart stopped. We knew this day would come eventually, but when it did, it seemed surreal to me. Hard for me to imagine the field of literacy and reading research without Ken. Hard to imagine the world without him.

    We agreed on a lot of issues about literacy research and practice but not everything. Unlike modern political discourse, our points of difference prompted deeper conversations and more reading, not an exit from the room. If I had to argue a point, I wanted to do it with Ken because I always left the conversation richer for the interaction: I always learned something new. Differences aside, one thing we always agreed on was policy—and how important it is—to support teacher knowledge and prerogative, not mandated curriculum or assessments, as the primary tools for shaping the ways we support student learning.

    I knew Ken though his research before I met him in person. But I’ll never forget the first time I heard him talk. It was about 1970, at a pre-convention institute hosted by the Psycholinguistics and Reading committee of the International Reading Association (IRA), and I heard him give the oral version of Reading: A Psycholinguistic Guessing Game. I knew then that the old model of reading as the sum total of an assembly line of skills was doomed, and the behavioristic reading theory apple cart I had inherited from early grad student days was crushed—for good!

    We became friends, making sure to meet at every IRA and National Council of Teachers of English meeting. Ken and his wife, Yetta, became mentors, offering advice (what kinds of research to do), consolation (in response to an all too frequent string of manuscript rejections in those early days), and community (an invitation into their expanding cadre of scholars committed to applying theory and research to student learning, teacher learning, and teacher education).

    The day before Ken died, Patty Anders told me that she was going out to see Ken and Yetta and the family. I asked her to tell him, if the opportunity arose, that he has always been, still is, and will always be my literacy hero—my model of what it means to be a scholar of both theory and practice. Ken died before Patty was able to make that visit. I think, I hope, Ken knew how I felt about him.

    Ken was a model, a mentor, a colleague, a friend. Miss him forever. Remember him even longer.

    P. David Pearson is an emeritus faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Dean from 2001–2010.

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    James V. Hoffman Remembers Kenneth S. Goodman

    By James V. Hoffman
     | Mar 18, 2020

    Kenneth S. Goodman headshot
    On March 12, ILA past president Kenneth S. Goodman passed away peacefully at home. Goodman was without question one of the most influential scholars in the field of literacy education. In this series of posts, several of Goodman’s colleagues reflect on the indelible impact of his work and his life.

    Ken Goodman’s legacy as a literacy scholar is a treasure that future generations will continue to mine for the wisdom, the character, and the moral purpose it represents.

    Ken has been a centering force in our professional community for over 50 years. To be in his presence was at the same time awe inspiring and comforting. In his absence we are compelled to push forward with courage and commitment along the path that he has marked for us.

    If there were a 23andMe test for academic lineage, I would flow 100% Ken Goodman. My major professor was Dave Allen—a self-described “original miscueteer” who studied with Ken in the same cohort as Bill Page, Carolyn Burke, and other renowned literacy educators. I think this mentoring experience qualified me as Ken’s academic grandson. (One of many.)

    Little did I realize while in my doctoral program that Ken would lead me on a career path that I could never have imagined without his inspiration. Miscues were not just a reframing of an “error.” Miscues were even more than a window into the child’s emerging understanding of how language works. Miscues were a path into a philosophy and a pedagogy that Ken’s collaborator and wife Yetta Goodman describes as centered on revaluing the learner, or what Ken expressed in one of his favorite email taglines: Learning is not a Response to Instruction. Effective Instruction is a Response to Learning.

    I didn’t realize at that time that I would have the great fortune to become Ken’s colleague, friend, and even coauthor. I didn’t agree with everything he said, how he said it, or when he said it, but in almost every case, with hindsight, I came to realize that he was right and I was wrong.

    I can’t say the same about his jokes, which were very long and often funnier to him than to those who listened to him tell it. But you had to laugh with him because for Ken to tell you a joke meant that he noticed you and cared for you. Humor was so important to Ken and was often revealed in the blunt ways he would comment on the absurdities that abound  in our field. Ken’s post regarding DIBELS, for example, carries more meaning than any technical analysis could muster: As for me, I prefer the eminent test authority professor Roger Farr whose assessment is summed up as follows in a private communication with a number of eminent witnesses: DIBELS is a piece of sh***.”  

    If you want an insight into Ken—his humor and his humanity—I invite you to read his reflection on turning 90. I guarantee you will laugh and perhaps shed a tear or two.

    I was raised Catholic, and I learned from the nuns in St. Francis Xavier elementary school that the little voice inside my head telling me right from wrong was the voice of my guardian angel. That little voice is still with me, and I realized somewhere in my professional life that the voice had taken a turn from an Irish Catholic guardian angel to something sounding a lot like Ken Goodman—reminding me to do the right thing, to challenge the wrongs that surround us, to see text and context as inseparable, and to view research and teaching as inseparable moral endeavors. 

    Ken’s life is honored every time we take up these same stances in our own work. Every time we inspire young literacy scholars to be bold in their work and not to forget the humanity in which we are all bound.

    Thank you, Ken Goodman. To borrow from Barack Obama’s comments on Nelson Mandela’s passing, “What a wonderful person. What a wonderful life.”

    James V. Hoffman is a professor of language and literacy at the University of North Texas.

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    Brian Cambourne Remembers Kenneth S. Goodman

    By Brian Cambourne
     | Mar 18, 2020

    Kenneth S. Goodman headshot
    On March 12, ILA past president Kenneth S. Goodman passed away peacefully at home. Goodman was without question one of the most influential scholars in the field of literacy education. In this series of posts, several of Goodman’s colleagues reflect on the indelible impact of his work and his life.

    Whenever I met Ken at conferences or communicated with him via email, he would always greet me with a whimsical “G’day mate.” This was his way of acknowledging both my Australian-ness and my Australian working-class roots. Even though I’ll forever value the times Ken and I would “[tire] the sun with talking and sent him down the sky,” when all my tears are shed, that’s how I’ll remember him. I’ll hear his gentle, whimsical voice welcoming me: “G’day mate.” 

    Ken and I have been “mates” in the Australian way now for more than 45 years. This mateship began in the academic year of 1975–76. I’d been lucky enough to be awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). During one of the many coffee breaks I took in her reading centre, the late Jeanne Chall said to me, “Brian, there’s this fellow from Wayne State called Ken Goodman who’s been writing a lot about something called miscue analysis. He claims it shows that meaning-based approaches supporting learning to read are better than code-based approaches. Seeing you have more time than the rest of us, why don’t you research his claims? Perhaps you could do a paper for the Harvard Ed. Review, which we could publish?”

    She then gave me a large red box with the words “Reading Miscue Inventory” (RMI) on its lid and said, “The material in this box is by three of his research students who should know his work better than most. You can start here. To help me in this task, Courtney Cazden, my fellowship sponsor, found some money to send me (by Greyhound) to Wayne State to spend time with Ken and his doctoral students.

    On arrival at his centre, Ken welcomed me, found me a desk, and gave me a large bundle of stuff to read. It was here that I witnessed the kind of scholarship Ken engendered in his students and colleagues.

    What I found in the red box together with my experiences at Ken’s research centre changed my life, professionally and personally, forever.

    With the benefit of over four decades of hindsight, I now realise that I had been caught up in a Kuhn-ian scientific revolution. However, in 1975, I thought I was simply experiencing multiple ahas about reading, language, learning, and teaching.

    One aha in particular forced me to question the paradigm of learning I’d long held. In one of the papers Ken gave me to read that day was this statement: “The oral and written forms of the language are parallel versions of the same thing—language.”

    This was a turning point in my professional life. Michael Halliday’s “Learning How to Mean” had just been published (Halliday, 1975). The connections between Ken’s and Halliday’s theories shook me to my professional core. I wrote in my journal, “If learning how to talk is learning how to mean using the oral mode of language, then perhaps learning how to read and write is learning how to mean using the written form of language? If they’re parallel versions of the same thing, perhaps they can be learned similarly. Perhaps learning how to mean is what the brain has evolved to do?”

    When I returned to HGSE from Wayne State, Jeanne asked me to write an evaluation of the RMI and summarise Ken Goodman’s work. The result was my first paper to be published in Reading Research Quarterly (RRQ), “Getting to Goodman.” It wasn’t quite the summary that Jeanne was hoping for, but to be fair to her, she encouraged me to submit it to RRQ.

    That was the paper which launched my academic career and set me on the path of research and theory building I’ve been engaged in for most of my professional life.

    Like many others touched by Ken’s work, I realised that his view of the reading process went far beyond the insular conception of reading as a subject of the curriculum. Rather, it drew from a range of separate discipline areas including psychology, linguistics, cognition, and the then newly emerging fields psycho- and sociolinguistics. At the core of his work was a constructivist view of learning that insisted that students should be active participants in their learning, not mere recipients of some static “stuff” called “knowledge.”

    Although he is at rest, his work keeps his memory alive for me, and I can hear him now as if he were in the room himself: “G’day mate.”

    Brian Cambourne is a principal fellow in the faculty of education at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

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    In Memoriam: Kenneth S. Goodman (1927–2020)

    ILA Staff
     | Mar 17, 2020

    Yetta & Ken Goodman
    Kenneth S. Goodman, often referred to as the founding father of the whole language approach to reading, passed away peacefully at home on March 12. He was 92. He is survived by his wife and colleague, Yetta M. Goodman, with whom he collaborated frequently.

    Goodman, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, served as president of the International Reading Association (now International Literacy Association) from 1980 to 1981 and at-large Board member from 1976 to 1979. Throughout his storied career, he earned some of the highest honors in the field, including the William S. Gray Citation of Merit (1986). In 1989, he was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame.

    “Ken Goodman was a literacy icon who was fearless where the authentic learning of our children was at stake,” says Kathy N. Headley, president of the ILA Board of Directors. “To say he will be missed is an understatement.”

    “The world lost another giant,” wrote Gary Stager upon learning of Goodman’s death. “Ken Goodman was responsible for developing the theory underlying the literacy approach known as whole language—making him one of the most important, vilified, and courageous educators in history.”

    Widely considered one of the most influential scholars in the field, Goodman’s work was often as polarizing as it was pioneering. He once famously described reading as a “psycholinguistic guessing game.” His concept of written language development being parallel to oral language development led to the whole language approach as well as research into related concepts such as miscue analysis and the three-cueing system which, though highly debated, continues to serve as a foundation in many early reading classrooms.

    “Whether in agreement with Ken or not, he always promoted deep thinking and conversation among members of the literacy community,” says Diane Lapp, chair of ILA’s Literacy Research Panel and distinguished professor of literacy at San Diego State University.

    “I didn’t agree with everything he said, how he said it, or when he said it, but in almost every case, with hindsight, I came to realize that he was right and I was wrong,” says James V. Hoffman, professor of language and literacy at the University of North Texas, who refers to himself as Goodman’s “academic grandson” (“If there were a 23andMe test for academic lineage, I would flow 100% Ken Goodman.”)

    Goodman, Hoffman says, “[led] me on a career path that I could never have imagined without his inspiration.” It’s a sentiment shared by many, including Brian Cambourne, principal fellow in the faculty of education at the University of Wollongong in Australia, who says that his experiences at Goodman’s research center “changed my life, professionally and personally, forever.”

    “Like many others touched by Ken’s work, I realised that his view of the reading process went far beyond the insular conception of reading as a subject of the curriculum,” Cambourne says. “At the core of his work was a constructivist view of learning that insisted that students should be active participants in their learning, not mere recipients of some static ‘stuff’ called ‘knowledge.’”

    Some of Goodman’s colleagues, including Cambourne and Hoffman, have shared touching tributes. Reading their words, it’s apparent how deeply this loss is felt.  

    In the United Kingdom, Goodman is credited with revolutionizing early reading instruction. Past presidents of the United Kingdom Reading Association (now the United Kingdom Literacy Association) issued a joint statement on his passing. Greg Brooks, emeritus professor at the University of Sheffield, Henrietta Dombey, emerita professor at the University of Brighton, and Colin Harrison, emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham, said there is no one who has trained to be a teacher in the past 40 years in the UK who is not familiar with the work of both Ken and Yetta.

    “Ken’s passionate advocacy for reading for meaning and enjoyment, rather than for accuracy at the expense of meaning and enjoyment, helped to inspire the ‘real books’ movement in the UK,” they said. “His approach brought theoretical support to what was to become a nationwide practice of daily parent–child book-sharing, with a book taken home from school each day.”

    They continued: “Ken Goodman has a stature as a scholar in the field of literacy that is unmatched, and that will endure.”

    Headley agrees, adding, “The literacy communities extend our regrets and love to his wife, Yetta, and family and friends.”

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