Professor Pat Edwards wins LRA book award, writes NBC blog

December 2, 2011

Throughout her professional career, MSU teacher education Professor Patricia Edwards has addressed one big question: How does the world read?

Edwards provided answers for the African American community¬†by co-writing a 202-page book entitled,¬†“Change is Gonna Come: Transforming Literacy Education for African American Students.”

Today Edwards will receive the prestigious¬†Edward B. Fry Book Award from the Literacy Research Association¬†(LRA) during the association’s conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

The book features four main debates: the fight for access to literacy; supports and roadblocks to success; best practices, theories, and perspectives on teaching African American students; and the role of African American families in the literacy lives of their children.

In previous years, MSU professors Susan Florio-Ruane (2001), Guofang Li (2004) and Mary M. Juzwik (2010) were also honored with the Edward B. Fry Book Award.

To further promote¬†public¬†awareness about¬†reading achievement gaps, ¬†Edwards also¬†recently co-wrote a blog post for NBC News’¬†Education Nation with Western Michigan University professor Susan Piazza. In the article, the two scholars acknowledged¬†how powerful an effective teacher can be, but warned that teachers alone cannot fix the problem; they need the support of families, communities and government. When it comes to equality among schools, they said that¬†children with more benefit more, and those with less do not gain the same level of benefits.

They then provided a realistic commentary about the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading scores:

“They represent much more than the effectiveness of U.S. curriculum and instruction,”¬†Edwards and Piazza¬†wrote.¬†“They represent trends in life experiences that our youth encounter in access to opportunities and a good education. NAEP scores can be used to thoughtfully analyze social factors that go beyond percentages, demographics and quick fixes.”

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