Graduate School of Education
Improving writing and other literacy skills (such as reading) in secondary schools; teaching, learning and assessing writing and literacy; exploring how teachers and students look at a piece of writing, how they make sense of it and how students use classroom experiences to develop skills in writing.
I’ve been most interested in researching classes where excellent teachers care about teaching their students to write well. My research has focused on high school largely because, when I began my career, it was a neglected area of literacy research. High school is the important academic light toward which elementary and middle school students reach as they mature as thinkers and learners, and it’s the gatekeeper to higher education. High school sits at the center of the whole education system.
A driving force in my professional life has been the recognition that literacy is at the center of educational activity.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Education, University of California, Berkeley, 1988
- Master of Arts, English, San Francisco State University, 1975 (with honors)
- Bachelor of Arts, English, San Francisco State University, 1973 (cum laude)
Melanie Sperling is Professor of Education and Chair of the UCR Graduate School of Education faculty. Her PhD is from the University of California, Berkeley. She combines interests in language and literacy, English education, and classroom practice to study issues of literacy and its development in and outside of schools. Related to these research interests, she teaches courses at the PhD and masters level in the Education, Society, and Culture program of the Graduate School of Education. She works with teachers across the country to improve the teaching and evaluation of reading and writing in classrooms. She has sat on and headed a number of boards in her field, has served as editor of a national journal on research in the teaching of English, and has won numerous awards for her work.
- Sperling, M., & Appleman, D. (2011). Voice in the context of literacy studies. Reading Research Quarterly, 46(1).
- Calfee, R., & Sperling, M. (2010). On Mixed Methods: Approaches to Research in Language and Literacy. New York: Teachers College Press.
- Sperling, M. (2009). Writing. For R.A. Schweder (Ed.). The Chicago companion to the child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Sperling, M., & DiPardo, A. (2008). English education research and classroom practice: New directions for new times. Review of Research in Education, 32, 62-108.
- Sperling, M. (2004). Is contradiction contrary? In Ball, A., & S.W. Freedman (Eds.), Bakhtinian perspectives on language, literacy, and learning (pp. 232-251). Cambridge University Press.
- Sperling, M. (2003). Tenth grade literacy and the mediation of culture, race, and class. Greene, S., & Abt-Perkins, D. (Eds.), Making race visible: Literacy research for cultural understanding (pp. 131-148). New York: Teachers College Press.
- Sperling, M., & Freedman, S.W. (2001). Research on writing. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching, 4th edition. (pp. 370-389). American Educational Research Association.
- Sperling, M. (1996). Revisiting the writing-speaking connection: Challenges for research on writing and writing instruction. Review of Educational Research, 66 (1), 53-86.
- Sperling, M. (1994). Moments remembered, moments displayed: Narratization, metaphor, and the experience of teaching. English Education, 26 (3), 142-156.