Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium - UW-Madison

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Porco Design Final - Literacy 3

36th Annual Wisconsin ​Literacy Research Symposium

"The New Literacy Studies 21 Years Later:
Education as the Design of Social Futures"

Lowell Center
610 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53703 (map)

June 22-23, 2017
8:45 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Twenty-one years ago, in their seminal work, A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies, the New London Group (1996) advanced the concept of “pedagogy as design,” proposing that “curriculum is a design for social futures” (p. 73, italics in original).  Today, however, standards, assessment, and achievement gaps drive literacy education very hard from the outside, while Wisconsin schools grapple with some very hard realities that our students face (e.g., gang violence, homelessness, fading opportunities). The 2017 Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium will take a step back and (re)consider what kinds of social futures we imagine for ourselves and our students, and how we can (re)design literacy curriculum with multiliteracies and social futures in mind.  

Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium 2017 Program

                                              Adobe PDF logo  Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium 2017 program

Keynote Speakers

Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings
Curriculum & Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dean Diana Hess
School of Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor Frank Serafini
Literacy Education & Children's Literature
Arizona State University

Professor Christiane Wood
Professor, Literacy Education
California State University - San Marcos

Workshops, Excursions, and Roundtables

Each day of the symposium from 11:00-12:30, you will be able to choose among a variety of innovative workshops, excursions, and roundtables, encompassing the multiple forms of literacy that we need as educators today.

Workshops will include topics such as:

  • Crafting Digital Texts from Literature
  • Improvisation Comedy & Theater for Problem-Solving
  • Using Picturebooks to Teach Comprehension
  • Literacy & The Design-Thinking Process, K-3

Excursions will include walking tours and visits such as:

  • The Campus Landscape as a Classroom: The First Nations of the Western Great Lakes
  • So You Think You Know What A Books Is? Exploring Books in the Memorial Library Special Collections and/or the Kohler Art Library
  • A Visit to the School of Education’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)

 Roundtables will be held in one room at the same time for you to visit and discuss topics such as:

  • Families’ Experiences & Understandings of High-Stakes Assessments
  • The Population without a Picture Book: Addressing Anxiety in the Classroom
  • Explicit & Implicit Action Language in Mathematic Word Problems

Adobe PDF logo Click here to access complete 2017 WLRS list of excursions and roundtables

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a roundtable or poster session, please contact Mary Zuidema or Dawnene Hassett for more information.


Click the red "Register Now!" button below to register for the symposium and fill out the online form.


Regular Registration: $239.00
Student Registration: $99.00

These fees include registration for the 2-day event in June and lunch for both days.

Summer Courses Associated With The Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium

Dr. Janice Strop
Cardinal Stritch Univ.
(414) 410-4487

Dr. Yun Ting Hung
UW Eau Claire
(715) 836-5831

Dr. Yuko Iwai
UW La Crosse
(608) 785-5407 

Dr. Dawnene Hassett
UW Madison
(608) 263-4666

Dr. Leeanne Evans
UW Milwaukee
(414) 229-7324

Dr. Cathy Toll
UW Oshkosh
(920) 424-4444

Dr. Cindy Cate
UW Stevens Point
(715) 346-3638

Dr. John Zbikowski
UW Whitewater
(262) 472-4860

​More about the symposium in general...

The Wisconsin Literacy Research Symposium (formerly known as the Wisconsin Reading Research Symposium) is one of the strongest regional forums for nationally recognized researchers to share their cutting edge work in the field of literacy education.  In line with the Wisconsin Idea, first attributed to UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, the symposium is designed to benefit literacy educators from across the state.  Typically attended by PreK-12 teachers and administrators, as well as students and professors in summer literacy classes, the symposium provides a powerful professional development opportunity for those involved in the literacy education of Wisconsin’s youth. Always co-sponsored by the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA), the symposium continues the tradition of influencing and improving the work of educators beyond the university classroom.

Who should register for the symposium?

PreK-12 educators, graduate students, and teacher educators who are involved in literacy and reading programs or who want to find out more about (re)designing literacy and language curriculum to promote empowerment, global citizenship, and social agency.


Participants outside of the Madison area are invited to lodge at The Lowell Center, the hotel in which this symposium will take place.

Use the following link to reserve a room online: Lowell Center Online Reservations

Rooms can also be reserved by calling the Lowell Center at (608) 256-2621 and providing the group code: READING

Check-In time is 3:00pm. Parking is available to overnight guests in the Lowell Center ramp for $10 per day, but complimentary parking is also available at a nearby parking facility. 

Lodging is also available at the Hampton Inn

Use the following link to reserve a room online. Hampton Inn Reservations

Rooms can also be reserved by calling the Hampton Inn at (608) 255-0360 and providing the group code: ​LRS

State rate rooms may be available at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (located approximately 20 minutes away from campus). Please call (608) 244-4703 for availability. ​No group code necessary.

​Day Parking

Daily parking is available at the State Street Campus Garage located at 415 N. Lake St. for $12 per day. ​


Please contact Professor Dawnene Hassett (ddhassett@wisc.edu) or Mary Zuidema (mzuidema@wisc.edu) with any questions you may have.

Keynote Speakers and Readings

Gloria Ladson-Billings, Ph.D.

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education and a professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is perhaps best known for her work on the areas of Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, but has also focused on the educational debt / deficiency model for students of color. Her work includes: The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children(1997), Crossing over to Canaan: The journey of new teachers in diverse classrooms (2001), Beyond the big house: African American educators on teacher education (2005), and Education research in the public interest: Social justice, action, and policy (2006). 



Diana Hess, Ph.D.

Diana Hess is the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also holds the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education. Formerly, Hess was the Senior Vice President of the Spencer Foundation, where she spearheaded the development of the Disciplined Dialogues Project, an innovative and rigorous process of deliberation and communication that seeks to improve education by informing research, practice, and policy about highly controversial educational topics – such as charter schools and teaching quality. Before this, Hess was a high school teacher, teachers’ union president, and the associate executive director of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago. She also leads the New Civics Project that is funding the development of measures of the quality of youth civic and political engagement. Her work includes: Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion, which won the National Council for the Social Studies Exemplary Research Award in 2009, and her most recent book co-authored with Paula McAvoy, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, which won the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award in 2016.

Hess Readings
To be announced


Frank Serafini, Ph.D.

Frank Serafini is an author, illustrator, photographer, educator, musician, and professor of Literacy Education and Children's Literature at Arizona State University. In addition, Frank was an elementary school teacher for nine years in Phoenix, AZ, and spent three years as a literacy specialist in K-6 classrooms. Frank spends a great deal of time providing staff development workshops and conducting research focusing on reading instruction and the role of children's literature in the reading curriculum. He has published eight professional development books for elementary educators with Scholastic and Heinemann Publishers, including his most recent edited book, Re-imagining Multiliteracies: Looking Back, Moving Forward. Frank is currently working on a research project focusing on Visual Literacies. Frank is currently working on a research project focusing on Visual Literacies.


Christiane Wood, Ph.D.

Christiane Wood is an Assistant Professor in Literacy Education at California State University - San Marcos. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Prior to this experience, she taught kindergarten, early elementary grades, and middle school and was a reading specialist (PK-12) in Wisconsin. Christiane received her Elementary Education and French B.A. and M.A. in Educational Policy & Leadership and Literacy Studies from Marquette University. Her scholarly interests include early childhood literacy, multiliteracies, play/tinkering, educational technology, social justice, and educational leadership for change. Her work includes Imagination and the Semiotic Processes of Creativity and Design.


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