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.

Celebrating and Remembering Members of the CELT Family

A tribute from Ruthi Davenport

When an individual chooses to pursue a doctorate degree, a thousand questions and doubts can arise along the way. The path can be fraught with professional challenges and personal vulnerabilities. When I took on this endeavor, there were several individuals who made the journey not only smoother, but intellectually challenging and indeed, enjoyable.

          I was most fortunate to know Dr. Peter Hasselriis as a companion on this voyage. Dr. Hasselriis was a man of rare grace; he was kindness incarnate. When he agreed to be a member of my committee, I knew I was in good hands. Whenever the doubts would emerge, or confusion stymied my movement forward, I could turn to Peter, and in his gentle, well-informed way, he would help me sort things out and continue on my way. His counsel in helping me navigate the dissertation process was a gift, and I was also privileged to have him as an instructor in Semiotics. It was in this course that I truly knew this pursuit was the right choice.

         Most often on our educational excursions, we have the benefit of one’s tutelage, which usually ends as we complete our degree and move on in our career. The relationship I had with Peter and his dear wife Marilyn was delightfully more than that. After I left Columbia, Missouri to move to La Grande, Oregon, we stayed in touch. For many years, when returning to Missouri to visit friends and relatives, I made a point to contact them and they always found time for an enjoyable visit. The constancy of their friendship was a treasure.

          Peter’s vibrancy as a scholar, his dedication to literacy education, his devotion to Marilyn, and his commitment to this one grateful student will never be forgotten. How blessed am I to have known him. Peter Hasselriis died December 28, 2014.


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A tribute from Ken Goodman

Maryann Manning died on September 8, 2013 after participating in the Asian Literacy Conference in Bali, Indonesia.  Those who knew Maryann well were not surprised that she died in Bali. She was always seeking new horizons, new places, and new ideas and incorporating her new insights into her teaching.

              It seems like I’ve known Maryann all of my professional life. Shortly after Yetta and I moved to the University of Arizona in 1976 we began to offer Winter Workshops in Psycholinguistics and Miscue Analysis. These went on over a twenty-year period. I don’t think Maryann missed one. And she didn’t come alone. She brought colleagues and graduate students (often at her own expense). She was an educator who never stopped considering herself a learner.

              Maryann’s own summer conferences at the University of Alabama-Birmingham developed a large following across the Southeast, and brought enlightened views of literacy education to Bible belt educators. She brought us and many other prominent educators to her conferences and she also brought outstanding teachers, among them my daughter Wendy Goodman.

               Her writing was largely aimed at bringing ideas to teachers, particularly her regular contributions in teacher magazines. In her very personal, and at times self-deprecating way, she reached a wide range of teachers who adored her. She was a staunch advocate for her graduate students.

                Retirement for Maryann was just a new opportunity for more travel and more conferences. She was taking on even more commitments as IRA board member and visiting many IRA affiliates around the world. She took her election as Vice President elect for IRA very seriously and was planning for the year she would be President. She so looked forward to the office and spoke often to me about her goals as President.

                Maryann contributed so much to teachers, to reading education and to her colleagues and professional friends. She cared so much for public education and for the young people it served. She had strong beliefs about the value of teachers, about sensible research, and about valuing all learners. We owe it to Maryann to renew our own commitment to carry on where she has left off. The best tribute we can give her is to try to fill the void she has left with our own hard work.


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Marge Knox died the evening of July 15, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was 85 years old. 

Most recently, Marge was an instructor and adjunct assistant professor in the department of Language, Reading and Culture at the University of Arizona from 2000 to 2009. Her favorite course to teach was Literacy Tutoring, especially in the summers when she interacted and became good friends with a number of UA athletes. She was also a member of the Advisory Board for the World of Words Collection in the College of Education up until her death. 

Marge received her BA at the University of Colorado in 1962 and her MA at California State University-Stanislaus in 1976. In 2003, in her 70s, Marge received her PhD in Language and Literacy under the guidance of Yetta Goodman.  She loved learning, music, studying, and writing.  She loved being a member of CELT.  She is dearly missed by her academic family.


Dorothy Menosky is one of the original members of CELT and is considered one of the founding mothers of whole language.  She worked in the early miscue analysis research at Wayne State University where she earned an Ed.D with Ken Goodman in 1971.

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After a long career as a professor at New Jersey City University, Dorothy joined her colleagues at Indiana University where she taught courses in reading methods and miscue analysis.  Dorothy’s friend Jerry Harste says, “Dorothy could make a reader’s miscue, including her own, sound like the greatest adventure in the world. Undergraduates and graduate students loved her. Her classes were always the first ones filled.”

Dorothy loved books, socializing, making pins to hand out at conferences, and art (especially photography). She was a member of the Bloomington Photography Society and showed her work at their annual shows.  

Dorothy’s influences and legacy in CELT will live on in the images we use to make our website more beautiful, in the history of the organization that she kept track of in words and photos, and in the generations of CELT academics who follow her as her descendants.

CELT home page watercolor by Jerry Harste