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Joanne Larson

Joanne Larson

Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education and Chair of the Teaching and Curriculum Program
Teaching & Curriculum

LeChase Hall 478
Office Phone: (585) 275-0900
Fax: 486-1159

UR Research Page


PhD, University of California - Los Angeles (curriculum)
BA, University of California - Los Angeles (fine arts)

Joanne Larson joined the Warner School faculty in 1995 and currently serves as chair of teaching and curriculum and teaches master’s level literacy courses, as well as doctoral level courses on curriculum, teaching and change, and introductory and advanced qualitative research methods.
Larson serves as the director of the Genesee Valley Writing Project where she leads the Annual Summer Institute, a Young Writers Summer Camp, and all follow-up school year programs focused on improving the quality of student writing and learning in urban, suburban, and rural PK-16 schools across Monroe County and surrounding counties. She serves on the editorial board of several peer-review journals, including Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, and Reading Research Quarterly. She was appointed by Kris Gutierrez to serve as AERA program chair for the 2011 conference in New Orleans.
 She is chair of the UR/East High School Collaboration’s Family and Community Partnership Committee, which is part of the University’s effort to help transform East High School.
Larson’s ethnographic research examines how language and literacy practices mediate social and power relations in literacy events in schools and communities. She is currently collaborating with Rochester community residents on a participatory action research project examining changes associated with transforming a local corner store into a cornerstone of healthy living. Her book, Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling (Routledge, 2014), chronicles how the United States has reached a crisis point in public education and offers suggestions for a complete reboot of the current K-12 educational system. She is the editor of Literacy as Snake Oil: Beyond the Quick Fix, Second Edition (Lang, 2007) and co-editor of Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy, Second Edition (Sage, 2014). Her book, Making Literacy Real: Theories and Practices in Learning and Teaching, Second Edition (2015), co-authored with Jackie Marsh, explores the breadth of the complex and important field of literacy studies, orientating literacy as a social practice grounded in social, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Larson's journal publications include research articles in Research in the Teaching of English; Written Communication: Linguistics and Education; Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, and Discourse and Society. 

Larson has branched out from traditional publication venues to collaboratively produce documentary films with filmmaker David Smith. The first was a professional development film that focused on teaching literacy in the current reductionist pedagogical context. The second, entitled A Life Outside, was a film documenting the teaching life of Lynn Astarita Gatto, 2004 New York State Teacher of the Year. They are currently documenting the corner store transformation project. 

In the News

11/04/2015 Joanne Larson Comments on Recent Racial Incidents on 13WHAM-TV
9/21/2015 Joanne Larson's Study of Partnership with East Featured in Rochester Business Journal
9/21/2015 Professor Receives National Grant to Study the University of Rochester’s EPO Partnership with East
8/03/2015 Young Writers Summer Camp
7/06/2015 Genesee Valley Writing Project Modified Invitational Summer Institute
6/15/2015 Warner School to Host Summer Camp for Young Writers, Grades 6-12
4/01/2015 Genesee Valley Writing Project Seeks Teachers for 2015 Summer Institute
2/26/2015 Joanne Larson Tackles the WHY TEACH? Question on WXXI Connections
2/20/2015 Larson Coauthors Second Edition of Book on Literacy Theory and Classroom Practice
10/07/2014 Video Chronicles the Genesee Valley Writing Project
8/04/2014 Summer Camp Inspires Creativity Among Young Writers
7/07/2014 Teachers Across Greater Rochester Connect in Summer Learning Opportunities—Focus on Improving Student Writing in the Common Core Era
6/08/2014 Teaching and Curriculum Chair on Early Learning in Democrat & Chronicle
4/29/2014 Choice Media's Reform School Show Features Guest Joanne Larson
4/16/2014 Larson Essay on the First Step to Fixing Our Education System Featured on Pacific Standard
4/15/2014 Joanne Larson on Equitable Access to Pre-K on WHEC-TV
3/31/2014 Conversation & Book Signing with Joanne Larson, Educator and Author of Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling
3/29/2014 Freedom Market Transformation Project Featured in Democrat & Chronicle
3/11/2014 Warner Professor Appointed Co-Chair of Mayor’s New Early Learning Council
3/09/2014 Warner Professor on an Overhaul in K-12 Education in Democrat & Chronicle
2/27/2014 Joanne Larson on Student Achievement in Democrat & Chronicle
2/26/2014 Wednesday Lunch Talk — Radical Equality in Education: Starting Over in U.S. Schooling
2/17/2014 Joanne Larson on Rebooting U.S. Education on WROC-TV
2/10/2014 Starting Over in U.S. Education: Author of New Book Aims to Flip a Broken K-12 School System
1/29/2014 Larson and Duckles Appointed to RCSD Advisory Committees
9/12/2013 Partners in Transforming an Urban Community
8/07/2013 Genesee Valley Writing Project Young Writers Summer Camp Featured on YNN
8/05/2013 Local Youth Use Summer Camp to Hone Writing Skills
5/04/2013 Genesee Valley Writing Project Spring Workshop - How to Survive the Common Core: Getting a Game Plan
4/24/2013 Larson, Hursh on the Teaching Profession in City Newspaper
2/28/2013 Joanne Larson on Substitute Teaching as a Career in U.S. News & World Report
11/30/2012 Larson Edits New Edition of Sage Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy
10/20/2012 CANCELED - Genesee Valley Writing Project Fall Workshop
8/10/2012 Local Students Showcase Talent at New Youth Writing Camp
7/17/2012 Genesee Valley Writing Project Summer Institute Featured on YNN
7/09/2012 Local Teachers Learn Writing Strategies at Summer Institute
4/09/2012 New Youth Writing Camp Open to Local Students
2/11/2012 Writing Workshop for Educators
10/15/2011 Writing Workshop for Educators - Conformity vs Risk-Taking: Where Does Excellent Writing Come From?
9/23/2011 Warner School Hosts Writing Workshop for Teachers
9/01/2011 Social Justice in Action
7/07/2011 Teachers Are Not the Only Ones Benefiting from Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute
6/22/2011 Literacy Class Project Featured in Brighton-Pittsford Post
2/03/2011 Genesee Valley Writing Project Gears Up for 2011 Summer Institute
1/23/2011 Information Session: Genesee Valley Writing Project 2011 Summer Institute
1/06/2011 Warner to Host Genesee Valley Writing Project 2011 Summer Institute Info Session for Area Teachers
7/22/2010 Genesee Valley Writing Project Featured on YNN Rochester
7/02/2010 Institute Offers Outlet for Local Teachers to Polish Writing Instruction over Summer Vacation
2/11/2010 Professor Named Program Chair of the American Educational Research Association
1/25/2010 Professor, Students Collaborate on New Book Examining the Rich Resources Marginalized Youth Bring to the Classroom
1/11/2010 Genesee Valley Writing Project Sets 2010 Summer Institute Deadline for March 1
1/19/2009 Larson Authors Chapter on Classroom Literacy Practices in Warner Alumna's Book
9/01/2007 Larson Appointed to Chair of NCTE Standing Committee on Research
8/01/2007 Larson Edits Second Edition of Book on Literacy Education
3/16/2007 Installations of Endowed Professorships
1/01/2007 Larson Appointed to Endowed Professorship Honoring Michael W. Scandling
12/01/2006 NCTE Awards Grant to Warner
12/01/2006 Warner Faculty Members Participate in Mayor's Summit on Literacy
10/01/2006 Larson and French Promoted to Full Professor
8/01/2006 Warner Faculty Awarded More than $40,000 in Grants
6/22/2006 A Life Outside Screening
10/01/2005 Larson Authors New Book on Literacy
1/01/2004 Fonzi, Larson Awarded $1.2 Million for Math and Literacy Outreach
10/01/2003 Larson Edits Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy


EDU427 Theory and Practice in Teaching and Learning Literacy in Elementary School
EDU442 Race, Class, Gender, and Disability in American Education
EDU498 Literacy Learning as Social Practice
ED507 Qualitative Research Methods
EDU526 Theory and Research in Curriculum and Change
ED527 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
ED581 Discourse Analysis in Education Research
ED582 Critical Literacy


Analyzing participation frameworks in kindergarten writing activity: The role of overhearer in learning to write.
Challenging autonomous models of literacy: Street’s call to action.
Challenging dominant discourses across geographies in early childhood.
Co-authoring classroom texts: Shifting participant roles in writing activity.
Community co-authoring: Whose voice remains?
Connecting language and literacy learning: First graders learning to write in a whole language classroom.
Cultural tensions in the scripted classroom: The value of the subjugated perspective.
Discussing expanded spaces for learning.
Editors for special issue.
Indexing instruction: The social construction of the participation framework in Kindergarten journal writing activity.
Introduction to the special issue: Power and positioning in purposeful community change.
Language borders: Recitation as hegemonic discourse.
Multiple Literacies, Curriculum, and Instruction in Early Childhood and Elementary School.
Narrating Identities: Schools as touchstones of endemic marginalization.
Packaging process: Consequences of commodified pedagogy on students’ participation in literacy events.
Script, counterscript and underlife in the classroom: James Brown versus Brown v. The Board of Education.
Speaking truth to policy.
Tactical underlife: Understanding students’ perspectives.
Taking a closer look: The challenge of microanalysis.
Talk matters: The role of pivot in the distribution of literacy knowledge among novice writers.
The participation framework as a mediating tool in kindergarten journal writing activity.
“We call him Dr. King”: Reciprocal distancing in urban classrooms.

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