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June 15, 2023 39 mins

Hear ye, hear ye! In this episode, we travel all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries to examine the Enlightenment-era roots of reading instruction as we know it. We will introduce several major players in the early days of literacy education, and examine the ways in which their actions have influenced today’s conversations surrounding literacy. Plus, hear from Natalie Wexler (Twitter: @natwexler), author of The Knowledge Gap, and Kate Will of the Iowa Reading Research Center.

Learn More:

In addition to the philosophical and pedagogical changes discussed in this episode, the concept of literacy education was also a subject of political discourse during these years. These resources provide more information on this angle of American literacy learning not covered in the episode and are excellent starting points to learn more.

Confronting Anti-Black Racism: Education, Harvard Library 

How literacy became a powerful weapon in the fight to end slavery, Colette Colman, HISTORY

Episode transcript and sources

A Novel Idea website:

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