Literacy, Culture & Language Education

Teachers of language and literacy must not only have a deep understanding of the content they teach, but also of the social and cultural issues that impact teaching and learning. The Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education provides courses and licensing for undergraduate students as well as degree programs for graduate students. Our areas of focus for teaching and research are:

  • Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • Early literacy education
  • Elementary literacy education
  • English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or Second Language (ESL)
  • English education
  • Secondary literacy education
  • Foreign/World Language education
Undergraduate Programs

Through our courses, undergraduate pre-service students engage in learning and teaching English/language arts, literacy, world languages, English as a second language, and content literacy for students in pre-school through high school. Teachers must know how to teach linguistically and culturally diverse students, and they must be able to communicate effectively with students in culturally sensitive ways. Our programs aim to prepare teachers to cultivate instructional practices based on the Common Core standards and standards of national professional organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Undergraduates can earn licenses to teach reading, English/language arts, literacy, or English as a foreign language in early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary settings in the state of Indiana, and/or to acquire specialized training through license additions in reading/literacy or English as a second language. Our programs align with standards associated with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and with professional organizations in language and literacies. Our outstanding faculty members are recognized nationally and internationally for their expertise, and our students participate in a number of valuable field experiences at schools and community sites, learning from some of the best teachers in the state.

Graduate Programs

At the graduate level, students come to IU from all over the world to learn, to teach, and to conduct research in English as a Second Language, English as a Foreign Language, English/language arts, reading, and content literacy. Faculty members are engaged in international research projects that improve understanding of literacy and language education.

Examples of current faculty projects include:

  • teaching English as a second language in Afghanistan
  • studying literacy in Rwanda
  • preserving and revitalizing indigenous languages in the Americas
  • training teachers in Puerto Rico and China
  • observing how children in Singapore develop critical reading skills on the Web
  • critiquing children’s and young adult literatures from around the world

Others concentrate on issues of linguistic and cultural diversity issues in the United States, supporting teachers who want to narrow the achievement gap, and supporting students whose literacy skills and cultural resources do not mirror those expected in schools. Our studies recognize rapidly dynamic literacies with expanding technologies that enable digital storytelling and networked connectivity through mobile apps, video games, and social media.

Academic Degrees

Our academic programs prepare teachers of language education for positions in PK-16 schools, colleges, and universities. Many of our graduates hold leadership positions in which they are responsible for developing improved instructional procedures and curricula for language instruction. Others work as specialists in creating programs and instructional materials for learners at all levels. Another option for graduates of our degree programs is to pursue positions as researchers in reading, literacy, and language education.

We offer degrees in the following areas: 

IU is one of the world’s leading universities for language study. It offers study in more than 70 languages. The School of Education’s STARTALK program includes teacher training for strategically important languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Turkish, and Swahili.

Research and Service

Faculty and students conduct research in the areas of literacy, culture, and language education in communities near and far. Through these projects, students in our department get an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of current cultural issues that affect language education and literacy.

Contact Us

We are located on the third floor of the W.W. Wright Education Building.

Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education
Indiana University School of Education
Room 3044
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006

Phone: (812) 856-8270
Fax: (812) 856-8287