College of Education Sitemap
Skip to Main Content


Patricia Edwards

Faculty/Staff image


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

304 Erickson


Patricia A. Edwards, a member of the Reading Hall of Fame and a NCRLL (National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy Distinguished Scholar, is a Professor of Language and Literacy in the Teacher Education Department at Michigan State University. She is the immediate Past Chair of the American Educational Research Association's Family, School, Community Partnerships Special Interest Group. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in parent involvement, home, school, community partnerships, multicultural literacy, early literacy, and family/intergenerational literacy, especially among poor and minority children. Edwards is also an executive member-at-large of the American Educational Research Association's special interest group committee (2022-25) and is a member of the 2023 AERA presidential program committee.

She served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001 of the International Literacy Association (formally the International Reading Association), from 2006 to 2007 as the first African American President of the Literacy Research Association, and as the 2010-11 President of the International Literacy Association.

She has published articles in highly refereed journals and authored two nationally acclaimed family literacy programs: Parents as Partners in Reading: A Family Literacy Training Program (1993, 1990) and Talking Your Way to Literacy: A Program to Help Nonreading Parents Prepare Their Children for Reading (1990). She is the co-author of A Path to Follow: Learning to Listen to Parents, Bridging Literacy and Equity: The Essential Guide to Social Equity Teaching (2012), and Change is Gonne Come: Transforming Literacy for African American Students (2010), winner of the 2011 Literacy Research Association's Edward B. Fry Book Award.

Edwards is also the author of Tapping the Potential of Parents: A Strategic Guide to Boosting Student Achievement Through Family Involvement (2009), Children's Literacy Development: Making It Happen Through School, Family, and Community Involvement (2004), and New Ways to Engage Parents: Strategies and Tools for Teachers and Leaders (2016), winner of the 2017 Delta Kappa Gamma Educators Book Award. A 2019 Teachers College Press book, Partnering with Families for Student Success: 24 Scenarios for Problem Solving with Parents recommended for the 2021 AACTE Outstanding Book Award, helps teachers gain confidence and build sensitivity when interacting with caregivers and families who speak diverse languages and may come from different cultural, racial, and social backgrounds.

Notable recent interviews include a feature in The HistoryMakers, a non-profit and educational institution that documents and preserves "untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans." The collection of interviews is housed at the Library of Congress and features interviews and memoirs of influential leaders, business executives, civil rights icons, authors and poets and more. Edwards was interviewed in March 2022. Also in March 2022, Edwards was interviewed for "Legacy Voices" with the Illinois Reading Council Journal. The column features interviews with respected partitioners and scholars in the field of literacy.

Edwards is a member of the Michigan Department of Education's Family Engagement Stakeholders' Taskforce. She is the recipient of the Literacy Research Association's 2012 Albert J. Kingston Service Award, the 2014 International Literacy Association Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award, and the 2015 Michigan Reading Association's Outstanding Teacher Educator Award. Edwards was named as the 2017-2018 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2019, she received the AERA Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award (senior level). She was recently awarded the 2020 Oscar S. Causey Award from the Literacy Research Association (LRA) for her outstanding contributions to reading research. She is the first African American in the history of the organization to receive this award. She was also the first African American President of LRA some years back.