Language & Literacy

Language & Literacy

News & Events


Ed CopenhagenJeanne Chall Collection, Gutman Library: Ed Copenhagen, Special Collections librarian, presented 18th, 19th, and 20th century reading materials to the students in Reading Instruction and Development. Ed provided an historical perspective on the role of reading materials from developing moral character in young readers to developing an interest in reading for knowledge and pleasure. Ed also introduced the students to the Jeanne Chall collection, professional books and instructional materials donated by Jeanne Chall from her personal library.

VisitorsTaiwanese scholars from the Education Research Division of the National Science Council met with the Language and Literacy faculty and post docs to share research and experiences in implementing best practices and in designing teacher professional development. During an afternoon of active exchange all agreed that we shared many similar challenges and successes in working with large scale instructional innovations.

Cecilia Minden-Cupp, former Language and Literacy program Cecilia Minden-Cuppdirector and current educational consultant, presented the process by which a supplementary phonics program, focused on Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, was designed. From developing the guiding principles and the scope and sequence to determining the key words for each alphabet letter, Cecilia shared the collaboration process between the literacy experts and the publisher's design experts. Cecilia encouraged the Master's students to seek out opportunities for designing and publishing instructional materials.

Molly Bang, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and Susan Brannen spoke to a captivated audience of Master's students and local librarians about their respective sources of inspiration, composing process, illustration design, and publication experiences. Each author had very different perspectives on writing and illustrating children's books, but they held their passion for providing quality literary experiences for young readers in common. Lolly Robinson, adjunct faculty member and Horn Book editor, arranged for this stellar panel.


Books for BingoBooks for Bingo is an annual event sponsored by Title 1 in Cambridge. The Harvard interns, along with other dedicated volunteers, gathered at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School on March 12, 2009 for this fun-filled evening. Parents and children from local schools answered trivia about Dr. Seuss and other popular children's literature as they worked towards that exciting moment when they could yell, "Bingo!" Winners chose their prize from a table overflowing with books. All of the children ended the evening with smiles and a handful of books to add to their home collections.
Carol Greenwald

The Language & Literacy Club welcomed Carol Greenwald, Executive Producer of Martha Speaks, and Ilona Holland, Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in February. Greenwald spoke about the process of creating a children's television program, focused on literacy and language-learning, from a book series. She described the research used to create the curriculum and various aspects of development and production involved in educational entertainment. Holland then spoke about conducting formative evaluation on Martha Speaks, to test the transfer of knowledge after watching the show. As Holland explained, the Martha Speaks model of identifying and repeating target words in each episode is working to engage children in developing richer vocabularies. A great success!

Literature ModuleOn Tuesday, December 9, 2008 Jack Gantos, Lois Lowry and Mitali Perkins gave colorful presentations and answered questions on their lives and work to an audience of students in the Adolescent Literature Module and guests. Here are some of our favorite facts from the evening: Lois Lowry is not just a writer, but a photographer, too. In fact some of her work appears on the covers of her books including The Giver and Number the Stars. Jack Gantos jokes about spending time in jail.  As a child, he pranked his sister by lowering a cockroach attached to a string into her open mouth while she was sleeping. Mitali Perkins was born in India and loved reading on a fire escape when she was was younger.  She blogged about the event on World Congress

22nd World Congress, International Reading Association: Pamela Mason, L&L Program Director and member of the Diversity Committee of the International Reading Association, attended the World Congress held in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was joined by three L&L alums, Elyssa Brand, Rebecca Brand, and Amanda Jones. Dr. Mason also visited local schools with the director of Amigos del Aprendizaje, a Costa Rican organization devoted to providing literacy oriented professional development for teachers.

On October 2, 2008, approximately 200 copies of the book Corduroy, were given out to members of the HGSE community in an effort to support the Jumpstart Organization's annual Read for the Record event. The event encourages adults around the world to read books to children. This year, over 425,000 people worldwide joined Read for the Record, breaking a new record for the event. Students from HGSE went all over Cambridge to read Corduroy to kindergartens, preschools and day care centers. One student remarked,

"I read for the record today and it was great! I went to the Radcliffe Child Center and read to a big bunch of preschoolers.  The best part was when they said, 'Read it again!', though some of the other reactions were fun too like 'I lost my blue sunglasses once!' or 'I've been up an 'esh-la-ka-tor' a million times!'"

The event was co-sponsored by the Dean's Office and the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab.