Making the Good Reader and Citizen: Literature Instruction in American Schools
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.