Larry Swartz

Larry, a native of Toronto, holds degrees from York University and the University of Toronto, where he earned his master and doctor of education degrees. He has been a classroom teacher, literacy consultant, and drama consultant for twenty-five years in the Peel District School Board, Mississauga, Ontario.

He is currently an instructor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and principal of continuing education courses and dramatic arts at OISE.

"Following a degree in art history, I chose to enter the teaching profession and began my career as a visual arts and language arts teacher. I continued my studies and received specialist qualifications in reading as well as dramatic arts. My doctoral research in the world of written and oral response has framed my values about  personal responses to literature as well as the need to build active and interactive literacy communities.

"As a classroom teacher I have worked in all grades at the elementary level and in particular had a strong literature-based program where a wide range of picture books, novels, and poetry anthologies filled my classroom. Over the years I have enjoyed sharing my interest in literacy programming in courses and in professional development sessions throughout Canada; the United States; Beijing, China; New Zealand; and Austria.

"I have been fortunate to enrich my practice by being surrounded with a community of experts who have like-minded goals.  I have been mentored through courses with David Booth and Gordon Wells, through rich conversations with colleagues such as Shelley Peterson, Franki Sibberson, and Jennifer Rowsell; and by the words and stories shared by authors such as Lucy Calkins, Shelley Harwayne, Chris Tovani, and Debbie Miller.

"Professional development arises out of a need to question our practice and pay attention to events and data that can inform and change that practice.

"As for authoring a book, I would say that the best approach is to start with a strong table of contents; to revisit, reshape, and revise the outline many times; and then just get down and write.  I do keep the classroom teacher in mind at all times when I am writing, hoping that the strategies I suggest and stories I tell can inspire them to reflect on their own practice and to consider alternative strategies for  engaging all learners in literacy development."