Eminent Scholars

Through the Gladys Foster Anderson Eminent Scholars program, the Martha L. King Center for Language and Literacies has hosted scores of outstanding visiting scholars. These scholars present formal lectures as well as lead informal brown bag discussions. Recent scholars are profiled below. In addition, videos of these and visiting scholars have been collected and archived in the Center.

Coming Soon! The Eminent Scholars’ Lectures are being digitized All lectures have been recorded in VHS and/or DVD and copies and will be available for streaming. Check our Resources page for more information.

Paul Kei Matsuda


University of New Hampshire

“A Conversation on Writing Development with Professor Paul Kei Matsuda” (February 10, 2005)

As part of the 2004-2005 Seminar Series on “Conceptualizing, Enhancing, and Assessing Writing Development in Multiple Contexts,” Professor Paul Kei Matsuda of the University of New Hampshire will present an informal talk entitled “A Conversation on Writing Development with Paul Kei Matsuda.” Professor Matsuda will share his perspectives on writing development in a discussion-oriented format in which those attending are welcome to ask questions and share their perspectives. The talk is open to all Ohio State students and faculty interested in the development of writing ability, and materials that will relate to Professor Matsuda’s talk will be available in 200 Ramseyer Hall prior to the event.

Visit Professor Paul Kei Matsuda’s website: http://matsuda.jslw.org/


David Booth

Professor Emeritus, Language Arts, Children’s Literature, and Arts Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

“Language Power and Response to Literature Through Drama” (January 27, 2005)

David Booth was coordinator, until his recent retirement, of the Elementary Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where he taught Language Arts, Children’s Literature, and Arts Education. He is internationally recognized as having pioneered the use of drama strategies to promote meaningful responses to literature. He continues to lecture and give workshops throughout North America, Australia, and England. His extensive publications include journal articles and textbooks in all areas of language development: reading, writing, talk, literature, drama, and media as well as children’s literature and educational television programming for schools. His most recent books are Classroom Voices, The Dust Bowl, and Mother Goose Goes to School.


Deborah Hicks


“Language and Landscape: The Power of Working-Class Discourse for Marginalized Writers” (January 19th, 2005)

Deborah Hicks is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Cincinnati. She completed a doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1988), with a focus on language and literacy practices. Since that time, she has become known for her interdisciplinary studies of classroom discourse and learning (E.g., Discourse, Learning, and Schooling, Cambridge University Press, 1996). In 1989-90, she was chosen as a Spencer Fellow for this work. Her more recent scholarship deals with studies of gender, social class, and literacy. Her recent book (Reading Lives: Working-Class Children and Literacy Learning, Teachers College Press, 2002) chronicles the home and school lives of two young working-class children and draws on histories (memoirs, stories) of other working class childhoods. Hicks’ current work is focused on researching and writing histories of girlhood in an Urban Appalachian community, in which both urban spaces and rural histories inform students’ identities. Hicks is interested in how educational researchers and teachers can use understandings of students’ community lives as a starting point for social activism in classrooms.


Brian Street


“What’s ‘new’ in New Literacy Studies? Critical Approaches to Literacy in Theory and Practice” (November 17th, 2004)

Brian Street is Professor of Language in Education at King’s College London and Visiting Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. He undertook anthropological fieldwork on literacy in Iran during the 1970’s, taught social and cultural anthropology for over twenty years at the University of Sussex before taking up the Chair of Language in Education at King’s. He has written and lectured extensively on literacy practices from both a theoretical and an applied perspective. In addition to writing, editing and collaborating on ten books, he has published over 60 scholarly articles and given numerous keynote addresses at major international conferences. He has a long standing commitment to linking ethnographic-style research on the cultural dimension of language and literacy with contemporary practice in education and in development. He teaches courses Graduate Workshops on Ethnography, Student Writing in Higher Education, and Language & Literacy.

Some of his books include Literacy in Theory and Practice (1985), Cross-Cultural Approaches to Literacy, (1993), Social Literacies (1995), and Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives (ed. Routledge, 2000). In 2000 he co-authored (with Dorothy Sheridan and David Bloome) Writing Ourselves: Mass-Observation and Literacy Practices (Hampton Press, Inc.).

He is currently involved in research projects on academic literacies (Student Writing in the University: Cultural and Epistemological Issues Benjamins 2000) and on home/ school literacy and numeracy practices (forthcoming Numeracy Practices at Home and at School, Kluwer).

His research interests include:

  • Literacies in cross-cultural perspective
  • Language in education
  • Development policy and literacy
  • Academic literacies
  • Representation

In 2003 he was invited to be co-editor of International Journal Studies in Written Language and Literacy. He was awarded the David S. Russell award for Distinguished Research in English by National Council for Teachers of English, in 1996.


Lily Wong Fillmore


“No Language left behind but English”
(April 29th, 2004)

Lily Wong Fillmore is a Professor of Education and Linguistics at The University of California, Berkley. Her research has focused on issues related to the education of language minority students in American schools. Her professional specializations are second language learning and teaching, the education of language minority students, and the socialization of children for learning across cultures.

Over the past thirty years, she has conducted studies of second language learners in school settings. Her most recent study is of the language resources of Alaskan Native children in several Yup’ik villages along the Yukon River. She is currently engaged in studies of the academic language demands of high stakes tests such as California’s High School Exit Examination and the SAT-9, and considerations of what kind of instructional support is needed by English language learners and speakers of English dialects (e.g., African-American English, Alaskan Village English, Chicano English, etc.) to deal successfully with such tests and other uses of academic language.

Another area of work that has engaged Fillmore in the past decade is the revitalization of indigenous languages in the Southwest. She has been working with leaders in several pueblos in New Mexico in support of language programs for the teaching of heritage languages to the children in those communities. She recently received an award from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in recognition of her work promoting the learning and use of Spanish by Spanish speaking children in the United States.

Her recent publications include What Teachers Need to Know About Language (2000); Language in Education (1986); and The Loss of Family Languages: Should Educators Be Concerned? (2000)


Walt Wolfram

“Dialect Awareness Programs in Schools and Communities”
(February 19th, 2004)

Dr. Walt Wolfram is an internationally recognized pioneer in sociolinguistics and dialect study. Dr. Wolfram’s work concerns social and ethnic dialects. His recent work has focused on historically isolated dialect communities in North Carolina and the Bahamas. Uniting his various projects is a commitment to applying academic research to understand and help solve social and educational problems. His public dissemination efforts include the production of several award-winning TV documentaries, museum exhibits, and dialect awareness curricula. Dr. Wolfram has also served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.

Over the past three decades, Professor Wolfram has pioneered research on a broad range of vernacular dialects, including African American English, Puerto Rican English, Appalachian English, Ozark English, Southern English, American Indian English, Vietnamese English, and currently, Outer Banks and Lumbee English. He published in 1969 the first descriptive linguistic book on African American Vernacular English and helped launch the national awareness about the role of vernacular dialects in American society and in education. Committed to the ideal that researchers should actively seek ways to serve the communities they research, he then committed two decades of his teaching career to developing programs for and teaching students at the University of the District of Columbia, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Wolfram has authored or co-authored books profiling the sociolinguistics of diverse communities, such as Dialects in Schools and Communities (1999) and Language Variation in the School and Community (1999).

A sample of his dialect curriculum for 8th graders is available on the website of his department under the Ocracoke research site at: http://www.ncsu.edu/linguistics/


John Baugh

“Teaching English Among Linguistically Diverse Students”
(January, 2004)

“If we ever hope to overcome linguistic ignorance and uninformed assumptions about race and language, then educators must participate in systemic reform that will ensure educational equity.”
– from Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice

Dr. Baugh is a Professor of Education and Linguistics at Stanford University. He is also a Consultant on an Office of Educational Research Instruction project that seeks to evaluate the relative effectiveness of experimentally controlled curriculum for African American students who lack Standard English proficiency. Dr. Baugh has written several books on the subject. His most recent ones include Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice (2000) and Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice (1999).


Carol Lee

“Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep: Understanding Teaching as a Cultural Practice”
(February, 2003)

Carol D. Lee’s research interests include urban education, cultural supports for literacy, classroom discourse, and instructional design. Professor Lee has developed a theory of cultural modeling that provides a framework for the design and enactment of curriculum that draws on forms of prior knowledge that traditionally underserved students bring to classrooms. She has recently completed a research project in a Chicago inner city high school that involves restructuring the English Language Arts curriculum, including assessment, in ways that build on social and cultural strengths that students bring from their home and community experiences.

In this presentation, Dr. Lee demonstrates the Cultural Modeling Framework, a conceptual model for the design of learning environments that makes explicit and generative connections between student’s intuitive everyday knowledge (often based on ethnicity, race, and language variation) and the demands of disciplinary learning in school subject matters. The Cultural Modeling Framework involves a re-examination of the structure of a domain and a systematic examination of the structure of students’ intuitive everyday knowledge. This work is illustrated through the domain of response to literature, using African American students as the target population. The presentation further explores the nature of teacher knowledge, i.e. pedagogical content knowledge, in this particular case in terms of response to literature. Dr. Lee examines the cultural foundations of pedagogical content knowledge, again in this case illustrated in respect to response to literature, and its consequences for students’ opportunities to learn.

Professor Lee has written the book Signifying as a Scaffold for Literary Interpretation: The Pedagogical Implications of an African American Discourse Genre and has co-edited with Peter Smagorinsky, Neo-Vygotskian Perspectives on Literacy Research. She has also published several articles. Her most recent ones are “Is October Brown Chinese? A cultural modeling activity system for underachieving students”, which is in press with American Educational Research Journal, “Literacy, Technology and Culture”, that is forthcoming, and an invited Paper by the American Educational Research Association, “The State of Research on Black Education” , which was published in 2002.


Bob Fecho

“And the First Thing I Noticed…”: Interrupting the Discourse of School in a Critical Inquiry Classroom
(October, 2002)

Bob Fecho is an assistant professor in reading education. He researches critical literacy, adolescent literacy, teacher research, and social aspects of literacy at the University of Georgia. He was a secondary English for twenty-four years for the School District of Philadelphia. He received his Ph.D. in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. He was an adjunct faculty member in the University of Delaware’s department of educational development in Newark, DE., before going to UGA.

His research centers around inquiry-based literacy, as well as sociocultural issues related to adolescent literacy. Fecho has had chapters published in books as well as articles in the Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Teacher Education, Educational Psychology, Harvard Educational Review, and Research in the Teaching of English. He has recently been recognized by Research in the Teaching of English as the recipient of the Alan C. Purvis Award for the article from the previous year’s volume.

His most recent publications include “Madaz Publications: Polyphonic Identity and Existential Literacy Transactions”, which was published in 2002 by Harvard Educational Review; “Why Are You Doing This?”: Acknowledging and Transcending Threat in a Critical Inquiry Classroom, published by Research in the Teaching of English in 2001; and a chapter in Reconceptualizing Adolescents Literacy, “Crossing Boundaries of Race in a Critical Literacy Classroom” that was published in 1998.


Anne Haas Dyson

(May, 2002)

A recipient of UC Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Anne Haas Dyson studies literacy development from a sociocultural perspective. Her research involves children as members of the child collective or social world and the way in which that social membership influences the development of literacy and, more generally, their participation in the official school world.

She is a specialist in early literacy development, and she joined Berkeley faculty in 1984. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin, and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Texas, Austin.Dr. Dyson began teaching in the early seventies, in Texas, teaching mainly Mexican American children. Then she taought young school-age children in a poor Catholic diocese in El Paso, adults in an English Academy, migrant preschoolers and then first graders in a bilingual program in the Austin public schools.

Her broad teaching goals and specific course objectives are informed by the differences in the two teaching contexts, and her sensibilities–her ways of orchestrating classes, knowing students, and responding to individual efforts–are informed by the similarities. “As a teacher and a researcher, I think intellectual, political, and moral issues of teaching and learning are best understood–and grappled with–when they are embodied in everyday human experiences of teachers and students, in and out of school; conversely, I think teachers immersed in the very human context of classroom life (which is not neat, not orderly, and not predictable) must also see the larger issues implicit in their daily decisions”.

Her scholarly writing has been broadly focused on curriculum and instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse children, particularly those speaking nonstandard varieties of English.

Her most recent books include: Contemporary Childhood, Popular Culture, and Classroom Literacy (1997); Social Worlds of Children Leraning to Write in an Urban Primary School (published in 1993 and winner of the David H. Russel Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English of the National Council of Teachers of English); and The Multiple Worlds of Child Writers: Friends Learning to Write (1989). She also edited with C. Genishi The Need for Story: Cultural Diversity in Classroom and Community (1994). In 1999 she received the Alan C. Purves Award for her article, “Coach Bombay’s Kids Learn to Write: Children’s Apprpriation of Media Material for School Literacy”, a prize for the article published that year in the journal Research in the Teaching of English that is “likely to have the greatest impact on classroom practice”.


Dr. Martha L. King

“Education is a dynamic enterprise that is highly personal, continuously evolving, and forever in a state of becoming”

Dr. Martha L. King, Professor Emeritus of The Ohio State University College of Education, received the College’s most prestigious award during a ceremony in Columbus on November 6th, 1992. Dr. King was inducted into the College of Education Hall of Fame, which is the highest award that the College can bestow. Award winners, alumni or faculty of the college, must have made significant contribution to education as “models” for all others in the field. Dr. King’s induction recognized her influence on the entire field of language and literacies education.

Dr. King’s career in education began in 1938 as an elementary classroom teacher in Athens and Perry County Public Schools (Ohio). She received her Ph.D. and B.S. from the Ohio State University, and her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also did post doctorate work at the University of California at Berkeley. When she joined the Elementary Education faculty at Ohio state in 1959, she already had over 20 years experience as a teacher and supervisor in the public schools. In her stellar career, Dr. King provided leadership at the university level, was a supervisor and curriculum consultant for Franklin County (Ohio) Schools, and was a supervising-critic teacher at Ohio University.

Dr. King is well known for her many scholarly publications. Informal education, those classrooms with their thoughtful weave of theory visible to the trained eye, held the interest of both the researcher and the teacher in King. It can be argued that some of her most compelling pieces of writting were her descriptions of informal classrooms.

She was recognized as a recipient of the highest award of the National Council for Research in the Teaching of English and was honored in 1992 as a recipient of the Hall of Fame award from the International Reading Association. The Martha L. King Center for Language and Literacies was so named upon Dr. King’s retirement from the University.

In the 1970’s, Dr. King and Dr. Charlotte Huck were responsible for initiation of an innovative teacher education program (Educational Programs in Informal Classrooms – EPIC), which was recognized as a model for excellence in teacher education and is still being used. Even in retirement, Dr. King continued to provide leadership in the in the College of Education.

Dr. King died on Friday, March 26, 2007, on her 89th birthday. Her inspiration continues through the work of the Martha King Center and her students.

Martha L. King: Language Arts Pioneer

by Evelyn B. Freeman

On arriving at my classroom the day after Labor Day, I found 24 children sitting in four rows, evenly divided among four grades, including six in the first grade. The children were there, but books, learning materials of any kind, were scarce or badly worn and dirty. There was a box of chalk sitting on a window ledge and I remembered Experience Charts and Stories that I had learned about at the university. After two years, I moved to a larger school where I had only the second and third grades in one room. Later, when I began teaching a seventh grade in Athens County, the principal came to my door on the first day with a full box of chalk in his hand and greeted me with, ‘Now here is a full box of chalk and a good teacher will empty it by Spring.’

Over tea in her living room, I listened to Martha King’s animated stories about her life and work, including this description of her first teaching job in a two-room school in rural Rehoboth, Ohio, in 1938. I quickly realized that the passing of 65 years has not diminished her zest for life, her enthusiasm for learning, or her belief in children and teachers.

Martha L. King is Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University where she was a faculty member for 25 years. This Profile introduces Language Artsreaders to a remarkable and inspirational woman whose contributions over more than four decades added immeasurably to our understandings of children’s oral language, critical reading, and writing.