Oral Language Learning: A Stunning Intellectual Achievement and What It Reveals About Human Learning

 Brian Cambourne is presently a Principal Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He began teaching in 1956 at the age of 19 and spent nine years teaching in a mix of one-room schools and primary classrooms K–6 for the New South Wales Department of Education. 

In his tenth year of service for this department he entered the groves of Academe as a teacher educator at Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College. He completed his Ph.D. at James Cook University in North Queensland, and was subsequently a Fullbright Scholar and a Post Doctoral Fellow at Harvard. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Universities of Illinois and Arizona. Since completing his doctoral studies (1972), Brian has been researching how learning, especially literacy learning, occurs. He has conducted this research in the naturalistic mode he prefers by sitting and observing in classrooms for many hundreds of hours. His latest book Made for Learning: How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions, co-authored with Debra Crouch, captures Brian’s 60 years of research and theory building.

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The Power of Reader’s Choice and Identity

In her landmark book, Cultivating Genius, Gholdy Muhammad challenges us to reconsider the heart of teaching: “It is our job as educators to not just teach the skills, but also, to teach students to know, validate, and celebrate who they are (2020).” 

At the core of every reader is a sense of self-identity that encompasses the reader’s sociocultural background, language, values, perspectives, and developing knowledge of the world. Having the agency to choose your own books and craft a reading life that aligns with your identity is equity in action. Literacy as a civil right begins with defining yourself as a reader and choosing the books that will help you shape and expand your identity. As Julia Lopez-Robertson remarks, “All children deserve and have the right to see books representing their language, culture, traditions, and worlds in which they live” (2021). 

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The Flood with Jan Richardson. Early: Level G First Reading with Prompting

Dr. Richardson and her expert team of literacy consultants provide schools and school districts with customized professional development and demonstration lessons designed to equip teachers with practical and effective techniques for strengthening small-group reading instruction. The goal is for every student to become a better reader who just can’t wait to read another book!