College of Education

About Us Admissions & Academics Research & Engagement Departments & Faculty Current Students

Arlette Willis

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Awards, Honors, Associations

Oscar S. Causey Award, Literacy Research Association, 2021

Reading Hall of Fame Inductee, Literacy Research Association, 2020

John J. Gumperz Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarship , American Educational Research Association/Language and Social Processes Special Interest Group, 2019

J. William Fulbright Award, 2014

Fulbright Scholar Award, United States Department of State, 2013

College of Education, Distinguished Teaching Career Award, 2010

Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society, 2004

University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, 2002

University Scholar Award, 2002

Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, 2001

College of Education, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2000

College of Education's Distinguished Scholar Award, 1999

College of Education, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1998

Publications

Willis, A. I. (2023). Anti-Black Literacy Laws and Policies. Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2023). Critical literacies: Ever-evolving. Literacy, 57(2), 198-205.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2023). Revolutionizing Literacy: The Life of Omar ibn Said, Written by Himself. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, Article 238133772311685. Advance online publication.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2022). Literacy access, the law, and racism in the United States: a critique. In International Encyclopedia of Education: Fourth Edition (pp. 268-278). Elsevier.  link >

Nalubega-Booker, K., & Willis, A. (2020). Applying critical race theory as a tool for examining the literacies of black immigrant youth. Teachers College Record, 122(13), Article 130309.

Smagorinsky, P., Guay, M., Ellison, T. L., & Willis, A. I. (2020). A Sociocultural Perspective on Readers, Reading, Reading Instruction and Assessment, Reading Policy, and Reading Research. In E. B. Moje, P. P. Afflerbach, P. Enciso, & N. K. Lesaux (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Volume V (pp. 57-75). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2019). Race, Response to Intervention, and Reading Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 51(4), 394-419.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2019). Response to Intervention: An Illusion of Equity. Language Arts, 97(2), 83-96.

Brown, A. F., Bloome, D., Morris, J. E., Power-Carter, S., & Willis, A. I. (2017). Classroom Conversations in the Study of Race and the Disruption of Social and Educational Inequalities: A Review of Research. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 453-476.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Interrupting and disrupting literacy research. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(1), 6-9.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Literacy research and the radical imagination. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(3), 319-320.  link >

Sailors, M., Martinez, M., Davis, D., Goatley, V., & Willis, A. (2017). Literacy research in uncertain times. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(2), 155-156.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2017). Re-Positioning Race in English Language Arts Research. In D. Lapp, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (4 ed., pp. 453-476). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2016). Critical Race Theory. In B. V. Street, & S. May (Eds.), Literacies and Language Education (pp. 1-13). (Encyclopedia of Language and Education). Springer.  link >

García, G. E., & Willis, A. I. (2015). Frameworks for Promoting Multicultural Literacies: Moving Toward Educational Justice. In P. R. Schmidt, & A. Lazar (Eds.), Reconceptualizing Literacy in the New Age of Multiculturalism and Pluralism (2 ed.). (Literacy, Language and Learning). Information Age Publishing Inc..

Willis, A. I. (2015). Literacy and Race: Access, Equity, and Freedom. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 64(1), 23-55.  link >

Jiang, Y. L. B., García, G. E., & Willis, A. I. (2014). Code-Mixing as a Bilingual Instructional Strategy. Bilingual Research Journal, 37(3), 311-326.  link >

Bloome, D., & Willis, A. I. (2013). Conversation Currents: On Discourse and Language Learning. Language Arts, 91(1), 61-68.

Willis, A. I. (2013). Cultivating Understandings Through Reader Response: Dawn’s Responses to The Things They Carried and When Heaven and Earth Changed Places. In Reader Response in Secondary and College Classrooms: Second Edition (pp. 269-286). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2011). Editorial statement. American Educational Research Journal, 48(4), 936-937.  link >

Willis, A. (2010). Critical Approaches to Research in English Language Arts. In D. Lapp, & D. Fisher (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (3 ed.). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2009). EduPolitical research: Reading between the lines. Educational Researcher, 38(7), 528-536.  link >

Connor, J. J., & Willis, A. I. (2008). “Educational, Controversial, Provocative, and Personal”: Three African American Adolescent Males Reflect on Critically Framing a Lesson Before Dying. In L. A. Spears-Bunton, & R. Powell (Eds.), Toward a Literacy of Promise: Joining the African American Struggle (pp. 81-104). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2008). Critical Race Theory. In N. H. Hornberger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education (pp. 432-445). Springer.  link >

Willis, A. I., Montavon, M., Hunter, C., Hall, H., Burke, L., & Herrera, A. (2008). On Critically Conscious Research: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research. Teachers College Press.

Willis, A. I. (2008). Reading Comprehension Research and Testing in the U.S. Undercurrents of Race, Class, and Power in the Struggle for Meaning. Taylor and Francis.  link >

Isenbarger, L., & Willis, A. I. (2006). An Intersection of Theory and Practice: Accepting the Language a Child Brings into the Classroom. Language Arts, 84(2), 125-135.

Willis, A. I., & Har, V. J. (2004). Preparing preservice teachers to teach multicultural literature. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, & S. B. Heath (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts (pp. 460-469). Taylor and Francis.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2003). Afterword. In A. I. Willis, G. E. Garcia, R. B. Barrera, & V. J. Harris (Eds.), Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice (pp. 289-293). Taylor and Francis.

Willis, A. I., Garcia, G. E., Barrera, R. B., & Harris, V. J. (Eds.) (2003). Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice. Erlbaum.  link >

Harris, V., & Willis, A. I. (2002). WILLIAM EDWARD BURGHARDT DU BOIS 1868–1963. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 212-219). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. (2002). ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER 1858–1964. In J. Palmer, L. Bresler, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Fifty Major Thinkers on Education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 169-177). Routledge.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2002). Dissin' and disremembering: Motivation and culturally and linguistically diverse students' literacy learning. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 18(4), 293-319.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2002). Literacy at Calhoun Colored School 1892-1945. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(1), 8-44.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2001). Rocks in the Brook: A Teacher Educator’s Reflections. In P. R. Schmidt, & P. B. Mosenthal (Eds.), Reconceptualizing Literacy in the New Age of Multiculturalism and Pluralism (Literacy, Language and Learning). Information Age Publishing Inc..

Merchant, B., & Willis, A. I. (Eds.) (2000). Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research. Psychology Press.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2000). An African American Female Researcher's Journey: Epistemological, Conceptual, and Methodological Concerns. In B. Merchant, & A. I. Willis (Eds.), Multiple and Intersecting Identities in Qualitative Research (pp. 43-60). Psychology Press.  link >

Willis, A. I. (2000). Keeping It Real: Teaching and Learning about Culture, Literacy, and Respect. English Education, 32(4), 267-277.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (2000). Political acts: Literacy learning and teaching. Reading Research Quarterly, 35(1), 72-88.  link >

Willis, A. I., & Lewis, K. C. (1999). Our known everydayness: Beyond a response to white privilege. Urban Education, 34(2), 245-262.  link >

García, G. E., Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1998). Introduction: Appropriating and Creating Space for Difference in Literacy Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 30(2), 181-186.  link >

Willis, A. I., Lewis, K. C., & Ladson-Billings, G. (1998). Focus on Research: A Conversation with Gloria Ladson-Billings. Language Arts, 75(1), 61-70.

Willis, A. I. (1998). In Their Own Words: Stories of the Interconnectedness of Life, Teaching, and Research. Reading Research Quarterly, 33(4), 487-496.  link >

Willis, A. I. (1998). Teaching multicultural literature in grades 9-12: moving beyond the canon. Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

Willis, A. I., & Harris, V. J. (1997). Expanding the boundaries: A reaction to the First-Grade Studies. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(4), 439-445.  link >

Willis, A. I. (1997). Focus on Research: Historical Considerations. Language Arts, 74(5), 387-397.

Willis, A. I. (1995). Reading the World of School Literacy: Contextualizing the Experience of a Young African American Male. Harvard Educational Review, (Spring).

Willis, A. I. (1995). School Literacy Experiences: How Culturally Narrow are they? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 16(2), 219-235.  link >

Courses

CI 403: Teaching a Diverse High School Student Population (CI 403) Examines the curriculum and philosophy of teaching students in high school grades. Students will focus on a number of related topics including teaching a diverse student population, including all students in instruction, using technology for teaching high school English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies and alternative means of assessing students' learning. Seminar content will be integrated with coursework in instructional technology, assessment, and special education with high school students. Coursework is integrated with a high school field experience.

CI 472: Teaching Reading in Grades 4-12 (CI 472) Examines current literacy practices beyond the primary grades including factors related to reading comprehension, vocabulary development, fluency, and motivation. Includes issues related to diversity and ESL related to teaching reading.

CI 502: Introduction to Reading (CI 502) Provides an overview of reading in the US. Topics covered include the definition of reading and its importance, theoretical models and philosophies of reading and reading instruction, the history of reading instruction, the development of reading skill, current research-based reading instruction, Federal legislation affecting reading instruction, and professional and state standards related to reading instruction.

CI 507: Problems & Trends in Special Fields (CI 507) Intensive examination of problems and trends in the subject fields.

CI 582: Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum (CI 582) Designed for elementary and middle school educators, this course focuses on theory and practice related to both intradisciplinary integration (across the language arts) and interdisciplinary integration (across the content areas). Specific methods and strategies for fostering effective integrated literacy instruction are explored.

CI 590: Seminar for Advanced Study of Education (CI 590) Seminar for graduate students on specific topics.

EPOL 590: Advanced Graduate Seminar (EPOL 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education.

EPS 590: Advanced Graduate Seminar (EPS 590) Seminar in educational policy studies; sections offered in the following fields: (a) history of education; (b) philosophy of education; (c) comparative education; (d) social foundations of education; (e) philosophy of educational research; and (f) historical methods in education.