Mitzi A Lewison
Professor of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education
W.W. Wright Education Building Room EDUCATION 3024
Phone : (812) 856-8269
Send me an e-mail
Department:  Literacy, Culture, & Language Education
Affiliations:  Center for International Education, Development and Research, Elementary Education


I teach literacy methods courses in the elementary teacher education program, master’s level literacy and children’s literature courses, and have taught the doctoral seminar “Issues in Language Education” and a “Seminar on Critical Literacy.” My main areas of interest include: critical literacy, critical discourse analysis, teaching language arts in culturally diverse settings, and exploring non-traditional, more empowering forms of professional development. My current research focuses on investigating the problems and potential of using critical literacy practices in elementary and middle school classrooms, the multiple and often contradictory identities that teachers and students take on during literacy and math activities, and the issues surrounding the use of controversial children’s literature and topics in elementary classrooms.

I also was the IU English Director for two USAID projects in Afghanistan that ran through the Center for Social Studies and International Education. One focused on the English component of a grant designed to help rebuild teacher education programs at 16 Afghan Universities. This project included bringing twelve Afghans to IU who received master's degrees. The second project focused on English programs for students and faculty at the Kabul Medical University and regional medical schools around the country.


  • &bull
  • Ph.D. University of Southern California, 1994,
    Curriculum and Teaching--Language, Literacy, and Learning

  • M. A. California State University, Los Angeles, 1984,
    Educational Administration

  • M. S. University of Southern California, 1975, Counselor Education

  • B. A. University of Southern California, 1970, Urban Studies


  • Burton Gorman Teaching Award


  • Lewison, M. Heffernan, L. (2008). Rewriting writers workshop: Creating safe spaces for disruptive stories. Research in the Teaching of English, 42(4), 435-465.
  • Laman, T. T. Lewison, M. (2010). The discursive production of homelessness: Teachers constructions, deconstructions, and reconstructions. In L.B. Jennings, P.C. Jewett, T. T. Laman, M. Souto-Manning, J.L. Wilson (Eds),Sites of possibilities: Critical dialogue across educational contexts. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 97-119.
  • Heffernan, L. Lewison, M. (2009). Keep your eyes on the prize: Critical stance in the middle school classroom, Voices from the Middle (17), 19-27.
  • Lewison, M., Leland, C. Harste, J. C. (2015). Creating critical classrooms: Reading and writing with an edge (Second Edition). NY: Routledge. (One of Routledge Publishers six best-selling book at the National Council of Teachers Conference, 2014 the Literacy Research AssociationConference, 2014).
  • Leland, C., Lewison, M., Harste, J. C. (2013). Teaching childrens literature: Its critical! NY: Routledge
  • Lewison, M., Leland, C. Harste, J. C. (relased October 2007, but has a 2008 copyright). Creating critical classrooms: K-8 reading and writing with an edge. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
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