Notice from Tom Sticht on Ken Goodman's Passing

Colleagues: The International Literacy Association posted the following tweet from the University of Arizona on March 12, 2020:

“The College of Education is very sad to announce that Language, Reading, and Culture Professor Emeritus Ken Goodman passed away early this morning. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones. We will provide more information as we receive it.”

Many in the field of reading research and teaching will know Ken as the “Father of Whole Language” and a key figure in the so-called “reading wars” of the latter half of the 1900s. Ken served as President of the International Reading Association in the early 1980s when I had the honor of working with him in my position as the IRA’s representative for UNESCO’s International Reading Association Literacy Prize. Ken’s influence on literacy education was, and is still, felt around the world.

My work on adult literacy was influenced by Ken early on when we met in April of 1971 at a workshop on Language Comprehension and the Acquisition of Knowledge at the Quail Roost Conference Center of the University of North Carolina. In his commenting on my presentation at the workshop Ken introduced the concepts of “reading to do” versus “reading to learn” which I subsequently incorporated into my work on adult workplace literacy education.

Ken’s was an extraordinary intellect and indefatigable advocate for literacy education for both adults and their children. Though he is gone, his work for and contributions to the cause of literacy continue to help the earth’s peoples enjoy better living through literacy. May he

Requiescat In Pace.

Tom Sticht


Thanks for the notice Leecy.  I am saddened to hear this news.  


Steve Schmidt

Moderator, LINCS Reading and Writing CoP