Cárdenas Curiel receives Arthur Applebee Award

December 16, 2022

Department of Teacher Education Assistant Professor Lucia Cárdenas Curiel and her colleague, University of Arizona Associate Professor Leah Durán, are recipients of the Literacy Research Association’s Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy.

Their article, “A Historical Inquiry into Bilingual Reading Textbooks: Coloniality and Biliteracy at the Turn of the 20th Century” was recognized at the 2022 Annual Literacy Research Association (LRA) Conference on Dec. 1.

Assistant Professor Lucia Cárdenas Curiel


The article, published in July 2020 by the International Literacy Association, examines the learning opportunities of bilingual reading textbooks distributed in the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico during the aftermath of the Spanish-American War (April-Dec. 1898).

Through analyzing the content, structure and socio-historical context of these books, Cárdenas Curiel believes that its influence has affected equitable practices for multilingual learners today.
One example Cárdenas cites is the translation methods used in reading textbooks during the turn of the 20th century.

“Translation of books were literal, which changed the context,” she continued, “And not just the phonological methods used, but there were ideological assumptions made in the book on how children learn to read.”


The award’s namesake, the late Arthur Applebee, was a State University of New York (SUNY) Distinguished Professor at the University at Albany and a renowned literacy and language scholar. Now in its fifth year, the award honors an influential article in the field of literacy research that has been published in a referred journal.

“It’s my responsibility to multilingual learners to continue that work to build on equitable practices in the classroom for the teaching and learning of reading and writing,” she said.

From an early age, Cárdenas recognized the importance of history through her grandfather as he collected mathematical historical artifacts with the goal of understanding how they evolve and shape the future of accounting.

“I believe that to be able to envision education that is equitable, we need to be able to look at history and reconceptualize current political events that marginalize linguistically and culturally diverse children in schooling,” she added.

Moving forward, Cárdenas and Durán hope current and future educators can utilize their article as a resource when teaching multilingual learners.

“As teacher educators, we hope it invites teachers and future teachers to consider bilingual reading textbooks and bilingual/biliterate reading methods in their pedagogy and invite them to reflect critically about the role of reading textbooks in the classroom,” she said.

Related news: Distinguished Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education Patricia Edwards was awarded the Oscar S. Causey Award in 2021, and previously served as president of the LRA.