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  • Research & Practice, Our Take

About the LRP

P. David Pearson
P. David Pearson
University of California, Berkeley
April 15, 2013

Welcome to the IRA Literacy Research Panel Blog! The Panel looks forward to using this blog, and its archives, to connect with IRA members around literacy research relevant to policy and practice. Please email us to submit questions to the Literacy Research Panel.

It seems fitting that in this first blog, we should make a case for attention to literacy research. We realize that some IRA members may be jaded about literacy research, noting that

  • some use research more to support an ideological position than to provide real insights about policy or practice,
  • publishers may be more interested in using research to sell a product than to illuminate real strengths and weaknesses of an approach,
  • single studies are sometimes overinterpreted or overused, or simply that
  • some research seems far removed from the real world of students and classrooms.

As a Panel, we hope to ally each of these concerns. Through our Scintillating Studies posts, we will draw attention to studies that offer practical insights for policy and practice. Through our Research Roundup, we will highlight reviews of research that consider the weight of the evidence, not just individual studies, to provide guidance for the field. In Ask a Researcher we take on questions you submit about what research has to say—or doesn’t say—about a particular question in policy and practice, underscoring that literacy research should be serving you, your colleagues, and your students.

As a panel, we also hope to increase your trust and interest in research. We believe that research can offer some insights that it is not practical for an individual literacy educator to glean on his or her own (Duke & Martin, 2011).

  • Research can allow us to learn about what happens to students over much longer periods of time under a broader range of conditions than we can typically observe.
  • Research enables us to see inside students’ home and community settings in ways that are not typically possible to gain insights that help us connect with students.
  • Research can allow us to look at larger numbers of students to see patterns that may not be otherwise evident, as well as to look more deeply at the experiences of any one student.
  • Research can help us see things—such as particular instructional moves that are particularly effective or specific gaps in instruction—that we may not have seen ourselves.

As ambassadors for literacy research, we hope to make these affordances of research more evident to IRA members and the larger literacy education community. We look forward to engaging with you in this effort.


The International Reading Association Literacy Research Panel

P. David Pearson (Chair)
Peter P. Afflerbach
Amy Correa
Nell Duke
Carrice Cummins (ex-officio)
Peter Freebody
Ginny Goatley
John Guthrie
Kris Gutierrez
Kenji Hakuta
Peter Johnston
Gloria Ladson-Billings
Nonie Lesaux
Richard Long (ex-officio)
Elizabeth Moje
Annemarie Palincsar
Linda Phillips
Catherine Snow
Karen Wixson
Timothy Shanahan
William Teale


Reader response is welcomed. Email your comments to LRP@reading.org

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