Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking

CELT, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit educational corporation, international in scope, whose members believe in the principles of education for democracy with a focus on natural language learning and inquiry.  These principles are supported by beliefs in learners and learning, teachers and teaching, and language and curriculum.  The members of CELT are dedicated to the improvement of education through a greater understanding of the relationship between language, thought, and learning.

  CELT includes a rich diversity of people who share similar beliefs about language and learning but have widely varied background experiences.  CELT members are university educators, independent consultants, school administrators, and teachers.


We are at a pivotal time in CELT’s history—as an organization and as a contributor to the status of literacy education research and practice in the US and elsewhere in the world. Brian Cambourne is convinced that unless we learn how to use framing theory with the same skill as our adversaries we’ll never reclaim the ground we once held.


This REJUV, we will work to

Reclaim our rich history and to

Reframe our future.


Our time together will be spent documenting the stories that bind us as a professional thought collective and family, and beginning a two-stage reframing conversation that will continue at LRA in December, 2016. Brian and others will guide our way.  All members will contribute to the program.

Kathy Whitmore & Alan Flurkey

NCTE - Boston

CELT members, are you attending NCTE in Boston this year?  Be watching for announcements about the location and content for the CELT general session on Saturday evening. 

Also in the news, CELT elections of a slate of officers and board members will be in the next few weeks, with a new term beginning at the NCTE board meeting. Stay tuned! 

Kathy Whitmore


A letter to members

August 26, 2013

Dear CELT members:

                  As the new academic year begins, I’d like to take a moment to update you about recent developments in CELT, particularly as related to the board meeting at the Rejuvenation Conference in July.  As these are mostly announcements, I’ll bullet the list to keep your reading time to a minimum.  However, please read carefully as there is important content here.

NEW MEMBERS We welcome 7 new members to CELT! Thank you to the membership committee for their work.  All individuals recommended by the committee were voted into membership.  The following lists the new member, his or her institution, and the CELT member who will serve as the new member’s mentor. 

Amy Barnhill, University of Houston-Victoria - Steve Trowbridge

Keri-Ann Croce, Towson University - Bess Altwerger

Deborah MacPhee, Illinois State University - Prisca Martens

Sue Seay, University of Alabama at Birmingham - Maryann Manning

Scott Ritchie, Kennesaw State University - Paul Crowley

Sarah Vander Zanden, University of Northern Iowa - Vivian Vasquez

Guofang Wan, Virginia Commonwealth University - Michael Shaw

ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP Given that we are welcoming new members, I want to take time to remind existing members of our commitment when we accepted the invitation to join CELT. Here are the commitments we made – what will you put on your fall “to do” list to meet them?

Once an individual has accepted membership in CELT, the member is expected to remain an active member of the organization. Our by-laws do not provide for members who wish to belong, but not to be active. Activities that meet the criteria for active membership include the following:

1. Attendance at CELT meetings as often as possible.

2. Participation in CELT workshops, writing projects, research, and other group sponsored activities.

3. Development of activities, conferences, and proposals that involve CELT or CELT members.

4. At least occasionally, when working with non-CELT members or by oneself, identify CELT as the organization to which fees should be paid.  These funds support each member’s research and conference activities. Ten percent supports CELT general expenses.

5. Identify oneself as an active member of CELT where appropriate.

6. Payment of annual dues. These dues were initiated to help share the cost of CELT overhead expenses.  Such dues may be paid from the fees that have

been paid to CELT on the member’s behalf (#4).

COMMUNICATION – Significant recent accomplishments to improve membership communication have included moving the listserv to the University of Louisville where it is working well, Alan Flurkey’s development of the CELT website, which is run through Square Space, and increased activity on the Facebook page.  Vivian Vasquez, Lori Norton-Meier, and Kathy Whitmore have administrative access to the Facebook page, but anyone may post to the page.  Please check out the website for recent additions and remember you can update your own personal information on the website, which was one of our major goals. And please “like” our Facebook page and contribute to it to keep it active.

DUES – At the last board meeting we voted unanimously to increase the annual dues to $75.00 (a $25.00 increase).  As with other organizations, our costs continue to increase and yet our dues have not increased for years.  This means if you have an individual lifetime membership (previously $500.00 in your account), you need to increase your individual balance to $750.00.  In addition, the board agreed to create a “hardship fund” that will be designated for members who are facing short term or longer difficulties keeping up with dues.  If you would like to make an additional $5.00 contribution to the hardship fund, please include it with your dues when Jerry Harste requests them.  Members will be notified that if they are in hardship they should inform the treasurer who will access those funds to help.

Related to active membership, one way we generate funds in CELT is to indicate that CELT (rather than an individual CELT member) is the recipient of a grant, consulting pay, or other contracts.  The overhead from these contracts increases our organizational account, saves the member income taxes, and can cover lifetime membership dues.

BY-LAWS – Thanks to the legal expertise and great attention to detail of Ann Alexander, the board discussed important updates to the CELT by-laws. Ann will bring the changes to the next board meeting for approval at NCTE, at which time they will be posted on the website for members’ reading.  The changes will bring the by-laws into alignment with our current practices.

CELEBRATIONS – There are many reasons to celebrate the successes of individuals and all of CELT as a collective.  Many individuals will be honored and many others will take on significant responsibilities as officers and leaders at the next NCTE Conference in Boston in November.  The next collaboratively authored CELT book will be available at NCTE (Reclaiming Writing: Composing Spaces for Identities, Relationships and Actions, Routledge, 2014), which includes numerous members as authors.

When I began this term as President of CELT 3 years ago, I encouraged us to look to our work and to each other with a sense of JOY.  I have a little sign under my desktop monitor (a gift from Nita Schmidt) that reminds me every day in my office of the joy that I feel when I recognize the privilege that I have as a faculty member.  Yes, the meetings are endless, the changes and limits imposed on us are infuriating, and the national (and international) momentum is not pointed in the direction we would like…and yet, especially this week as we remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and the spirit of his and others’ fight for equal rights, there is positive energy to be found and hope to keep alive. 

As you begin this new academic year, I wish for you the time and opportunity to listen for and recognize the joy in the learning that you witness and the relationships you build with children and adults.

See you in Boston!

Kathy Whitmore

President, CELT



It is with great excitement that I welcome you to the beginnings of our new CELT website.  I begin my welcome with enormous gratitude to Alan Flurkey and Ann Alexander who made decisions about design, created content (and sometimes re-created from our old site), and kept the process moving. 

My hope is that our new site will afford us the means to stay connected, share information more easily and quickly when we need it, and develop a repository of seminal documents and resources that we all value.

When I became CELT president three years ago, I stated my intention to help us "RECLAIM JOY" - to remember the joy that is our shared story.  We are joyful when we sit beside a child whose eyes widen as they discover something new about language, even if we've observed the same learning time and time again.  We are joyful when a novice teacher bursts into our offices talking a mile a minute about how what she read for class "came to life" right before her eyes. We are joyful when we hood our doctoral students - and see their names in print on their first publications. And we are exuberant when our collective voices are heard by families and policy makers and we participate in change.

In Reclaiming Reading (authored by CELT members), Rick Meyer and I called for cultivating a kind of joy that is nuanced by a broad spectrum of emotions and rooted in real-life issues and understanding.  We suggested that "acting upon our worlds in almost any way that seeks constructive and just ends is joyous work." 

Please browse through these initial pages and value the contributions of Jerry Harste's beautiful paintings, the FACT sheets authored by CELT members, and beginnings of a workable and useful website.  Be sure also to look at the Rejuvenation Conference materials and register!

We will let you know as our efforts continue to develop.


Kathy Whitmore, President

CELT home page watercolor by Jerry Harste