Althier Lazar, Ph.D.

Office: Merion Hall 229
Phone: (610) 660-3078

Within the field of literacy studies, Althier Lazar is an established scholar with expertise in the area of preparing teachers to serve the literacy needs of children in culturally nondominant communities. Her books include Learning to Be Literacy Teachers in Urban Schools: Stories of Growth and Change (International Reading Association, 2004), Practicing What We Teach: How Culturally Responsive Literacy Classrooms Make a Difference (Teachers College Press, 2011), and Bridging Literacy and Equity: The Essential Guide to Social Equity Teaching (Teachers College Press, 2012).  Dr. Lazar has published in several scholarly journals, including the Journal of Literacy Research, The Reading Teacher, The Journal of Reading Education, The Reading Professor, The National Reading Conference Yearbook, Action in Teacher Education, and College Teaching.


  • Emerson College, B.S. 1981
  • Simmons College, M.A.T. 1985
  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. 1993

Professional Experience

University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. 1993Professional ExperienceProfessor (Tenured), Department of Teacher Education, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA.  Fall 2002-present.  Department Chair, 2009 – 2012.

Courses:  Sociocultural Aspects of Literacy; Language and Culture; Language, Literacy & Culture, Writing in the Classroom.

Associate Professor (Tenured), Department of Literacy, West Chester University, West Chester, PA.  Assistant Professor, 1994-1999; Associate Professor, 1999-2002.

Courses:  Introduction to Reading; Reading Practicum; Language Arts.

Adjunct Professor and Director of Academic Support Programs, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA.  Courses:  Reading Practicum; Problems in Literacy Acquisition and Development; Developmental Reading. l992-l994.

Adjunct Professor/Assistant Director, Department of Reading, Writing and Literacy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.  Courses:  Assessment in Reading/Writing; Reading, Writing and Literacy for Diverse Learners.  Fall l989-Spring l993 Grants and AwardsArticle of the Year Award,  Journal of Reading Education, 2012.

Courses Taught

Sociocultural Aspects of Literacy; Language and Culture; Language, Literacy & Culture, Writing in the Classroom  


Books: Lazar, A. and Reich, L.  Dispositions that matter:  New teachers making a difference in underserved schools.  Charlotte, NC.:  Information Age Publishers (in press). Finkbeiner, C. and Lazar, A.  Getting to know ourselves and others: A journey toward intercultural understanding.  Charlotte, N.C.:  Information Age Publishers (in press). Lazar, A., Edwards, P., McMillon, G.  (2012).  Bridging Literacy and Equity:  The essential guide to social equity teaching.  New York:  Teachers College Press.  Ruggiano-Schmidt, P, & Lazar, A.  (2011).  Practicing what we teach:  How culturally responsive literacy classrooms make a difference.  New York:  Teachers College Press. Lazar, A.  (2004). Learning to be literacy teachers in urban classrooms:  Stories of growth and change  Newark, DE:  International Reading Association. Scholarly Articles: Lazar, A. (2013).  Degrees toward social justice teaching:  Examining the narratives of three urban teachers.  Urban Review (in press). Lazar, A., & Rachko, C.  (2012) Addressing structural racism in picture books:                                 Advancing teacher development through critical literacy.  The Journal of Reading Education, 38(1), 10-17. Lazar, A., Edwards, P., McMilon, G. (2012).  Literacy Beyond the Mainstream: Bridging Pedagogy and Social Equity.  Reading Today, 30(1). 22-23. Lazar, A. (2012).  The possibilities and challenges of developing teachers’ social justice beliefs.  2012 Yearbook of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 33-40. Lazar, A. and Offenberg, R.  (2011). Activists, allies, and racists:  How teachers approach racism when using picture books that reflect African American heritage.  Journal of Literacy Research, 43(3), 275-313.  Lazar, A., Vann Lynch, R.  (2008). Teaching about the African American experience through picture books. The Dragon Lode, 26(2) 7-14. Lazar, A. and Vann Lynch, R.  (2008).  African American history through picture books:  Reconstruction and the early twentieth Century.  The Journal of Reading Education, 31(1) 42-45. Lazar, A.  (2007)  Investigating African American Language in literacy education courses.  In D.W. Rowe, R.T. Jimenez, D.L. Compton, D.K. Dickinson, Y. Kim, K.M. Leander, V.J. Risko (Eds.).  Fifty-Sixth National Reading Conference Yearbook, 319-331. Chicago, Il:  National Reading Conference. Lazar, A.  (2007).  It’s not just about teaching kids to read:  Helping preservice teachers acquire a mindset for teaching children in urban communities.  Journal of Literacy Research, 39, 411-443.  Lazar, A.  (2006).  Literacy teachers making a difference in urban schools:  A context-specific look at effective teaching.  Journal of Reading Education.   

Grants and Awards

Article of the Year Award,  Journal of Reading Education, 2007. Ethel Carruth Sustained Leadership in Education Award, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 2007. Merit Award for Research, Saint Joseph’s University, 2006 Publications

Faculty Expert Profile