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Idaho State University literacy education professor Squires is visiting scholar at Japanese university

Posted November 6, 2009

Idaho State University Associate Professor of literacy education David Squires has been selected as visiting scholar at Osaka Kyoiku University in Kashiwara, Osaka, Japan, from November 2009 through the end of July 2010.

Osaka Kyoiku University is a teacher education university. Squires will spend his nine-month sabbatical, which began this month, pursuing some of his research interests, which include determining to what extent Japanese elementary teachers use storytelling and children's literature in their literacy instruction.

David SquiresOne of Squires’ primary research focuses is the application of storytelling to literacy, and on his way to Japan, Squires delivered a presentation "Storytelling in the Classroom" at the Kappa Delta Pi Biennial Convocation held Oct. 29-31 in Orlando, Fla. Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education.

"My primary research interests include children's literature and storytelling as it applies to reading and writing instruction," Squires said. "In Japan, there is no issue with literacy – the country assumes a 100 percent literacy rate. I want to study Japanese elementary literacy instructional approaches, to determine what we can learn from them. I am also interested to what extent current Western literacy theories explain and predict Japanese literacy learning."

He said he hopes to learn instructional approaches that will strengthen literacy education in the United States and perhaps new methods for educating American literacy teachers.

"I hope the data I collect will strengthen our practice of educating our teachers to better provide literacy instruction in the United States," Squires said.

Squires,who speaks little Japanese, will be working with a research associate and an English speaking graduate assistant at Osaho Kyoiku University who will make research sites available at a variety of Japanese elementary schools.