Fall Speaker Series - Michael E. Everson, 10/08
Michael E. Everson, University of Iowa
The Importance of Reading in the World Language Curriculum
As programs emphasize the need for students to acquire both cultural and content knowledge through the world language and literature curriculum, the importance of teaching our students to read in the target language has never been more important. Yet, educators are often unaware that there are theoretical foundations and pedagogical principles that must be considered and woven into the design of the curriculum if students are to improve their reading comprehension and reading fluency. This presentation will examine some of these areas, and explore how principles of reading theory, the impact of standards-based learning, as well as the use of performance assessment, can all serve to make student learning more meaningful and effective. As well, the presentation will highlight some of the challenges faced when students learn to read in languages that do not employ alphabetic systems.
Michael E. Everson is Emeritus Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education at the University of Iowa and Independent Consultant for a number of national Chinese language learning initiatives. Having spent 10 years teaching Chinese at the United States Air Force Academy before his 18-year tenure at Iowa, his research interests include how American students learn to read in Chinese, as well as issues surrounding Chinese language learning in the United States. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of journals and book collections, with his most recently co-edited publications being Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: Theories and Applications (with Xiao Yun) and Research among Learners of Chinese as a Foreign Language (with Helen Shen). He was also one of the lead designers of Read Chinese! an online reading project designed for high school learners of Chinese through the National Foreign Language Center in College Park, MD, and has most recently been involved with Chinese language development projects with The College Board, Asia Society, and the Chinese Early Language Immersion Network (CELIN). He served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, and was on the executive board of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) where he served as its president.