Research News

Ladson-Billings receives lifetime achievement honor from Literacy Research Association

December 04, 2015

UW-Madison’s Gloria Ladson-Billings was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award at the Literacy Research Association’s 65th annual conference this week in Carlsbad, Calif.

The theme for this year’s LRA conference was, "Literacy, Equity and Imagination."

Ladson-Billings delivered a Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Presentation on Thursday, Dec. 3, titled, “#LiterateLivesMatter: Black Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening in the 21st Century.”

Gloria Ladson-Billings
A preview of Ladson-Billings’ talk noted: “Literacy for African Americans has never been merely about skill development and text comprehension. Its primary purposes and foci have been liberation, empowerment, and self-determination. From slave narratives to contemporary liberation movements assisted by social media, African Americans have deployed literacy strategically as Paulo Freire says, ‘to read the word and the world.’ This lecture draws on the author’s family and personal history, along with her research career to illustrate that ‘literate lives matter!’ ”

Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education and a professor with the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She is an award-winning scholar whose work centers on examining the practices of teachers who are successful with African American students.

Ladson-Billings is perhaps best known for her book, “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children,” which was first published in 1994 and continues to be used in teacher education programs around the country. In that work she advocates for what she calls “culturally relevant teaching.”

The Literacy Research Association, a non-profit professional organization, is composed of individuals who share an interest in advancing literacy research and practice. LRA sponsors a conference each year. The program consists of paper sessions, plenary addresses, roundtable discussions, sessions with alternative formats, and symposia.