Making the Good Reader and Citizen: The History of Literature Instruction in American Schools





July 12-23, 2021 (2 weeks)


Summer Program

Summer Program Type

Summer Program Audience




Our seminar will examine K-12 educators’ and school reformers’ changing conceptions of what constitutes a “good reader” across the twentieth century. To do so, we will trace two competing traditions in reading instruction: one emphasizes the role of literature in the student’s social, moral, and civic development; the other values skill-development and sees literature as a pathway to scientific, self-disciplined thinking that is also vital to the civic good. These tensions matter more today than ever. In developing a deeper understanding of this history, participating teachers will prepare to serve as stronger school leaders and more effective and creative practitioners.

Project Director(s)

Andrew Newman; Jonna Perrillo

Lecturers and Visiting Faculty

Nicole Wallack

Grantee Institution

Stony Brook University

Funded through the Division of Education Programs