Larson Edits Second Edition of Book on Literacy Education

Larson Edits Second Edition of Book on Literacy Education

Joanne Larson, Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education and chair of the teaching and curriculum program, edited the recently published revised edition of Literacy as Snake Oil: Beyond the Quick Fix (Lang, 2007) that further investigates and critiques the commodification of literacy and education.

The original purpose of the first edition of Literacy as Snake Oil: Beyond the Quick Fix (Lang, 2001), was to critically examine quick-fix literacy programs peddled by corporate publishers and governments seeking to solve what they are calling the current reading crisis. Since the publication of the first edition, schools in the U.S. have been targeted even more as a market for private companies seeking to profit from the surveillance of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The revised edition helps researchers, teacher educators, classroom teachers, and school administrators to advocate for what we know about authentic literacy learning in the context of standardization and accountability and to understand the consequences of commercially produced literacy packages on the teaching and learning of literacy.

Literacy scholars in the U.S. and U.K., who are researching and writing about these issues, come together in this second edition to offer analyses of the problem of commodified literacies and the consequence of these packages on practices of educational communities. Three new chapters have been added—one that deals with the reproduction of racialized spaces during a textbook adoption, an analysis of America’s Choice by a classroom teacher, and an analysis of the U.K.’s literacy strategy. The book also includes chapters from Nancy Ares, an associate professor in teaching and curriculum at the Warner School, and Dan Osborn, a Warner doctoral student.

Allan Luke, professor of education at Queensland University of Technology, gave the first edition of Larson’s book a positive review, stating that it is a “cogent reminder of what we’ve known for the past eighty years but somehow keep managing to forget: that despite all the cyclical rhetoric about the one true method—science, pseudo-science, and evidence-based policy—literacy education is big business, with overt and obvious vested economic and corporate interests.”

Tags: book, Joanne Larson, literacy, literacy education, Nancy Ares, No Child Left Behind