New Name Announcement

Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning

(Formerly the Reading Department) 

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