Timothy Shanahan

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction


Timothy Shanahan (Photo: Jenny Fontaine/UIC)

American literacy levels have never been higher, yet high-school graduation rates lag those of Asian nations, Timothy Shanahan notes. His studies of early literacy found that phonics and first-language teaching are not panaceas and that the greatest advantage is English.

Shanahan, former director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools, chaired two federal panels that drove many states’ educational policies: the National Literacy Panel for English Minority Children and Youth, and the National Early Literacy Panel.

He served on the National Reading Panel, convened at the request of Congress to evaluate research on teaching methods. He is past president of the International Reading Association and served on the advisory boards of the National Institute for Literacy and the National Center for Family Literacy.

In 1991 Shanahan founded UIC’s Reading Clinic, whose employees work with many government agencies. His Project FLAME, a Latino family literacy program at UIC, received an Academic Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

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