“Reading in the Writing Center” CFP: Special Issue of WLN

carillo_e-150x150Guest editor Ellen C. Carillo is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and the Writing Program Coordinator at its Waterbury Campus. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in composition and literature, and is the author of Securing a Place for Reading in Composition: The Importance of Teaching for Transfer (Utah State UP, 2015). Her scholarship has been published in WLN; Rhetoric Review; Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture; Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy; Feminist Teacher; Currents in Teaching and Learning; and in several edited collections. Ellen is co-founder of the Role of Reading in Composition Studies Special Interest Group of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and has presented her scholarship at many conferences including IWCA, CCCC, and MLA. She was recently awarded a research grant from CWPA for a project on transfer in writing centers.

Prior to a 2012 change in the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s (CCCC) call for proposals, Mariolina Salvatori and Patricia Donahue found that it had been almost two decades since composition’s professional organization encouraged panels and presentations on reading at their annual convention. Despite the long silence surrounding reading in composition, in the last five years or so many compositionists have returned to crucial questions related to reading, writing’s counterpart in the construction of meaning. For example, compositionists have been conducting studies that explore how instructors attend to reading in first-year writing courses (Bunn) and how focusing on reading early in students’ academic careers can affect their success in their majors (Lockhart and Soliday). Others seek to expose the false print-digital binary that overemphasizes the differences between print-based and digital reading (Horning; Morris).

Because writing centers are rich interdisciplinary sites that challenge both physical and conceptual boundaries among disciplines and between novices and experts, writing center studies is positioned to expand current discussions about reading. Writing center professionals’ perspectives have the potential to enrich these theoretical discussions, and their work on the ground has the potential to support more comprehensive literacy tutoring. Still, writing center studies has yet to join the conversation.

Despite the fact that most writing assignments at the college level are accompanied by or draw on some type of reading, there has been little research and scholarship on how writing center tutors can support tutees’ reading. As Alice Horning, among others, has pointed out, writing problems are often linked to students’ difficulties with critical reading. As such, focusing on reading-writing connections as opposed to simply writing instruction can position writing centers to play an important role in helping students become better writers and readers.

For this special issue on “Reading in the Writing Center,” we invite proposals of 300-500 words for articles up to 3000 words (including works cited). We also invite proposals for a “Tutors’ Column” that will feature a 1500-word contribution from writing tutors. We are interested in pieces that explore the value of addressing reading in the writing center and the strategies and tools that tutors and writing centers, more broadly, might need to shift from writing-centered spaces to reading- and writing-centered spaces.

Possible topics to consider:

  • What might we draw on within writing center studies to help reshape writing centers in ways that foreground reading?
  • What do writing centers gain by attending to reading and writing?
  • How can sound reading pedagogies be incorporated into writing center philosophies, practices, and training?
  • What are the best ways to address reading in online writing center sessions?
  • How might tutor education courses, writing center programming, and marketing efforts evolve to incorporate attention to reading as connected to writing?
  • What challenges and obstacles might writing centers face as they expand their focus to include reading?
  • What role does/should reading as writing’s counterpart in the construction of meaning play in learning commons and other interdisciplinary tutoring centers?


  • Send article proposals (300-500 words) to Ellen Carillo at ellen.carillo@uconn.edu by March 1, 2016.
  • Invitations to submit full articles will be issued April 15, 2016.
  • Manuscripts (3000 words or 1500 words for tutors’ column, including works cited) will be due September 15, 2016.

Works Cited

  • Bunn, Michael. “Motivation and Connection: Teaching Reading (and Writing) in the
    Composition Classroom.” College Composition and Communication 64 (2013): 496-516. Print.
  • Horning, Alice. “It’s NOT New; It’s NOT Different: The Psycholinguistics of Digital Literacy,” Web. The Reading Matrix 14.1 (2014). 20 Dec. 2015.
  • —. “The Trouble with Reading is the Trouble with Writing.” Journal of Basic Writing 6.1
    (1987): 36-47. Print.
  • Lockhart, Tara and Mary Soliday. “The Critical Place of Reading in Writing Transfer (and
    Beyond): A Report of Students’ Experiences.” Pedagogy 16.1 (2016): 23-37. Print.
  • Morris, Janine. “A Genre-Based Approach to Digital Reading.” Pedagogy 16.1 (2016): 125-136. Print.
  • Salvatori, Mariolina and Patricia Donahue. “Stories About Reading: Appearance, Disappearance, Morphing, and Revival.” College English 75.2 (2012): 199-217. Print.

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