Patricia Edwards and Susan Piazza–February 17, 2013

Pat Edwards

Susan Piazza

Dr. Patricia Edwards
Michigan State University, USA
Dr. Susan Piazza
Western Michigan University, USA

The Impact of Family on Literacy Development: Convergence, Controversy, and Instructional Implications”

February 17, 2013
7:00 p.m. EST/USA
Student Hosts: Kelli Dozier and Kim Waters

In this web seminar, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Piazza will discuss the importance of the family in the literacy support of children’s learning.  Over the years, theorists and researchers have studied different approaches for involving families in the literacy development of their children.  Even though there is general agreement within the research community regarding the importance of the family, there is disagreement among researchers about how to work with families.  In our talk, we focus on the agreements and disagreements within the research community regarding how to work with families around literacy issues. Specifically, this paper (1) highlights the areas of convergence around the impact of the family on literacy development, (2) defines the different courses of action for working with families, (3) presents support statements from researchers for the different courses of action, (4) discusses key studies,) and (5) issues new challenges to the research community.

Dr. Patricia A. Edwards is Distinguished Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education, a Principal Investigator, Literacy Achievement Research Center, and a Senior University Outreach Fellow at Michigan State University. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Albany State University (Albany, Georgia); the M.S. in Elementary Education from North Carolina A&T University, her Ed. Specialist in Reading Education from Duke University; and her Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served as a member of the IRA Board of Directors from 1998–2001, and in 2006-2007 as the first African American President of the Literacy Research Association (formerly the National Reading Conference).  LRA is the world’s premier reading research organization.   She served as the 2010-2011 President of the International Reading Association. Dr. Edwards has been elected into the Reading Hall of Fame for her lifelong efforts to improve literacy, particularly in regards to the role of families and parent involvement. She will be inducted during the annual convention of the International Reading Association (IRA) in Chicago on May 1, 2012. With just over 100 living members, the Reading Hall of Fame honors only those professionals who have had a profound impact on the reading field.

She is a nationally recognized expert in parent involvement, home, school, community partnerships, multicultural literacy, early literacy, and family/intergenerational literacy, especially among poor and minority families and children.  She is a member of the Heinemann and Scholastic Speaker’s Bureau and has held workshops, in-service training sessions with school districts nationwide and abroad.  In addition, she has served as a People to People Language and Literacy Delegation Leaderto China, South Africa and Russia.

Her publications are rich with evidence and insights into issues of culture, identity, equity, and power that affects families and schools. Her research has been published in such journals as: Yearbook of the National Reading Conference, Theory into Practice, Teaching Education, Educational Policy and many others.  She is the author of two nationally acclaimed family literacy programs—Parents as Partners in Reading: A Family Literacy Training Program and Talking Your Way to Literacy: A Program to Help Nonreading Parents Prepare Their Children for Reading. She is the co-author of A Path to Follow: Learning to Listen to Parent and Change is Gonna Come: Transforming Literacy for African American Students (winner of the 2011 Literacy Research Association’s Edward B. Fry Book Award) , author of Tapping the Potential of Parents: A Strategic Guide to Boosting Student Achievement Through Family Involvement,co-editor of Best Practices in ELL Instruction, author of two forthcoming booksMind The Gap: Straight Talk for Teaching Across the Racial Divide, and Different Times, Different Parents, Different Strategies for Engaging Our Essential Partners. She enjoys reading, speaking, and traveling.

Dr. Susan V. Piazza is an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies in the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies at Western Michigan University. Piazza teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in K – 12 literacy, as well as sociocultural and critical theory related to language and literacy acquisition. She received IRA’s 2007 Dissertation of the Year Award, Finalist for her reading research with African American adolescent males. Her research interests include critical analyses of how learners interact with texts and assessments; sociocultural and critical approaches in literacy learning; school and community partnerships, and professional development with pre- and in-service educators. She received her B.A. in Political Science and B. Ed. from the University of Windsor, ON, Canada; her M.A. in Elementary Education and Ed. D. in Reading, Language, and Literature from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.  Her teaching experience includes elementary and middle school in Macomb, MI, English and Communication across Cultures at St. Clair College in Windsor, ON, Canada, and teaching and supervising student teachers in Detroit Public Schools for Wayne State University. Issues of equity and cultural competence are themes that connect her research, teaching, publication, and service. Piazza holds leadership positions in professional organizations and engages in professional development with educators locally, nationally, and internationally.

Selected Publications:

Edwards, P.A. & Piazza, S. V. (in progress). Literacy coaching and the ABCs of cultural understanding and communication: What’s the connection? In Book Title TBA, edited by C. Finkbeiner & A. Lazar.

Lazar, A. M., Edwards, P. A., & McMillon, G. T. (2012). Bridging literacy and equity: The essential guide to social equity teaching.  New York: Teachers College Press.

Edwards, P.A. (2011). Differentially family supports.  In S. Redding, M. Murphy, & P. Sheley (Co-Editors), Handbook on Family Community Engagement (pp. 113-115). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Edwards, P. A. (2010). The role of family literacy programs in the school success or failure of African American families and children. In D. Fisher & K. Dunsmore (Eds).  Bringing Literacy Home (pp. 184-202). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Edwards, P. A., McMillon, G. M. T.  & Turner, J. D., (2010). Change is Gonna Come: Transforming Literacy education for African American children.  New York: Teachers College Press.  Winner of the 2011 Edward B. Fry Book Award.

Edwards, P.A. & Piazza, S. V. (2010). International discoveries: IRA delegation explores education in China. Reading Today 27(5), 28-9.

 Edwards, P. A., & Turner, J. D. (2010).  Do you hear what I hear?  Using parent stories to listen to and learn from African American parents.  In M. L. Dantas & P. Manyak (Eds.), Connecting & Learning with/from families: Disrupting deficit views. (pp. 137-155) New York: Routledge.

 Edwards, P. A., Paratore, J., & Roser, N. (2009). Family literacy: Recognizing cultural significance. In L. M. Morrow, R. Rueda, & D Lapp (Eds.), Handbook on Research on Literacy Instruction: Issues of Diversity, Policy, and Equity (pp. 77-96). New York: Guilford Press.

Edwards, P. A., with Pleasants, H. M., & Franklin, S. H. (1999). A path to follow: Learning to listen to parents. Tenth Printing.  Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.10th Printing.

McMillon, G.M.T. & Edwards, P.A. (2008). Examining shared domains of literacy in the home, church and school of African American children.  In James Flood, Shirley Brice Heath, and Diane Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts, Volume II, (pp. 319-328). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Piazza, S. V. (in press). Searching for culturally relevant formative reading assessments. Language and Literacy.

Hall, L.A. & Piazza, S.V. (2008). Critically reading texts: What students do and how teachers can help. The Reading Teacher, 62(1), 32 – 41.

Hall, L.A. & Piazza, S. V. (2010). ChallengingTexts. English Journal 99(5), 91-94.

Mokhtari, K., Hutchison, A. C., & Edwards, P. A. (2010). Organizing Instruction for Struggling Readers in Tutorial SettingsReading Teacher64(4), 287-290. 

Paratore, J., & Edwards, P. A. (2011).  The family and literacy development.  In Lesley M. Morrow & Gambrell, L. (Eds.), Best Practices in Literacy Instruction, 4th edition (pp 436-454). New York: Guilford Press.

Piazza, S. V. (2009). First steps toward third space. Language Arts Journal of Michigan 25(1), 17 – 21.

Piazza, S. V. (2008/2009). Exploring student thinking in an urban setting. Michigan Reading Journal 41(1), 6-14.

Piazza, S. V. & Duncan, L. E. (2012). After-school literacy engagements with struggling readers. Reading Writing Quarterly 28(3).

 Piazza, S. V. (2011). It’s not black and white: Stories of lived experience, reading, and assessments. In Malu, K. F. (ed.), Voices in the Middle: Narrative Inquiry by, for, and about the Middle Level Community. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Vergunst, P. S. & Piazza, S. V. (2010). Couched literacy: Family interactions with texts at home. Michigan Reading Journal 42(2), 9-18.

3 Responses to Patricia Edwards and Susan Piazza–February 17, 2013

  1. Henry Y. Seo says:

    Dear Dr. Piazza,

    I enjoyed reading more info about what you are doing for reading scholars in the USA and international literacy communities. Your LS 5160 Professional Symposium in Reading Summer I Session at WMU was awesome class for me.

    Henry Seo from Berrien Springs, MI


  2. Susan Piazza says:

    Thank you Henry! I just noticed this message now. Hope you are well.
    All the best,


  3. Keep on working, great job! you always may buy twitter followers through legit providers for less and safeguarded


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