Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning

(Formerly the Department of Reading)

As we start our 66th year, the Department of Reading is pleased to announce a change to our name. Starting in July 2014, we will use the new title Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning. In the next few months, you will see a transition to the new name, with the website and university policy documents making the formal transition in July/August in preparation for a new academic year.

When the Department of Reading was created in 1948, the faculty prepared certified teachers as Reading Teachers in grades K-12, or extended the instructional reading knowledge of classroom teachers. These MS programs continued for over fifty years, designed to comply with New York regulations and research-based practices. In the last few decades, the field has shifted from a focus on reading to a broader view of literacy, with a more encompassing definition of what children and young adults need to know and do. These literacies include areas such as reading, writing, viewing, speaking, listening, and representing, all situated in new technologies and social contexts. While any one component of literacy is certainly important, as a whole, the term literacy better captures the broad view.

In 2000, changes in the New York State regulations shifted and we completely revised our MS in Reading programs to a new “MS in Literacy”, “MS in Early Childhood and Childhood Education”, and “MS in Literacy and Special Education”. The titles of our courses reflect what we were already doing at the time – focusing on literacy rather than only reading. In the field, the teacher certification and teaching positions shifted from Reading Teachers to Literacy Specialists and Literacy Coaches. Similarly, at the doctoral level, our domains focus on literacies related to acquisition, schooling, and society. Situated in a School of Education with programs leading to teacher certification, the additional terms teaching and learning provide a better context for the use of literacy/literacies.

We appreciate all of your efforts, both past and present, in creating the department we enjoy today!

Ginny Goatley, Department Chair


Dr. Virginia Goatley Honored with 2014 University at Albany Excellence Award

Dr. Virginia Goatley, professor and chair of the Department of Reading was selected the recipient of a 2014 University at Albany Excellence in Academic Service Award at a reception on March 25, 2014.

Dr. Goatley's primary research interest is preventing reading and writing difficulties for children. Her research focuses on teacher preparation and professional development that supports effective classroom practice, including the accreditation and assessment of teacher preparation. In collaboration with colleagues at the Child Research and Study Center, she is co-investigator for two recent federally funded grants through IES and FIPSE, focused on the literacy coursework in teacher preparation programs, with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of all learners. In her earlier project with National Research Center for English Learning and Achievement (CELA), she studied the integration of literacy and social studies across the elementary grades.

Dr. Goatley served as vice dean in the School of Education (2008-09). As associate dean for professional studies (2003-08), she led the effort toward successful accreditation of the UAlbany Teacher Education Program via the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). In addition, she coordinated the "Undergraduate Pathways" for all undergraduate students participating in the educational studies minor. She is a regular participant in national and state-wide efforts for teacher education. In 2011-12, she served as director of research for the International Reading Association.

Dr. Goatley is currently a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) IB Commission, the CAEP Standards Committee, and the International Reading Association's Literacy Reading Panel. Her publications have appeared in several journals including, Reading Research Quarterly, Reading and Writing Quarterly, Language Arts, Language and Literacy Spectrum, Reading Research and Instruction, and Journal of Educational Research. She is co-author of Engaging Elementary Students in Disciplinary Learning and Literacy (TC Press, in press) and co-editor of The Book Connection: Literacy Learning and Classroom Talk (TC Press/IRA, 1997).

Peter Johnston Honored with Inaugural Scholarly Influence Award

Dr. Peter Johnston received the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award from the Literacy Research Association for his 2004 book, Choice Words.

Dr. Johnston is the first recipient of the award which was established in 2012 and honors an author of a work that has a positive and lasting influence on literacy practices and policies.  He was presented with the award at the Literacy Research Association's 63rd Annual Conference in December.

This award is given in P. David Pearson's name to acknowledge the impact that he has had on the literacy field and to acknowledge other scholars whose research has had a similar effect.  Dr. Pearson is a professor in Language and Literacy and Human Development and former dean at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Cheryl Dozier Honored with Teacher Educator Award

Albany, NY (May 8, 2013) - Cheryl Dozier, associate professor in Reading, received the 2013 Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award from the International Reading Association (IRA).

This award honors an outstanding university instructor of reading methods or related courses. Dr. Dozier was presented with the award at the IRA’s annual convention in San Antonio, TX in April.

Donna Scanlon is recipient of the IRA Albert J. Harris Award

Congratulations to Dr. Donna Scanlon! Along with her colleagues in the Child Research and Study Center, she is a recipient of the IRA Albert J. Harris Award. The award is for the article, Effects of the Interactive Strategies Approach—Extended: A Response and Comprehensive Intervention for Intermediate-Grade Struggling Readers, published in The Elementary School Journal, 112(2), 280-306, December 2011.

 Dr. Scanlon is a professor in the Reading Department at the University at Albany. Her research has focused on children who experience difficulty in learning to read and on the roles of instruction and intervention in reducing such difficulties. In her most recent work, the focus has been on enhancing teachers’ ability to identify and address the needs of children who struggle with literacy learning. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Education Sciences at the United States Department of Education. She has published several chapters and articles on the characteristics of children who struggle with literacy acquisition and on intervention for children who struggle. Her recent book entitled Early Intervention for Reading Difficulties: The Interactive Strategies Approach describes the successful intervention approach utilized in her school-based studies. Dr. Scanlon currently serves on the International Reading Association’s Response to Intervention Task Force.

Peter Johnston is recipient of the SUNY Chancellors Award

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Johnston! He is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. This is quite a honor for his long-term research and scholarly contributions!