Richard Anderson’s advice to educators: Lead rather than lecture


Meghan Krein

Richard C. Anderson is an educational psychologist who has published influential research on children’s reading, vocabulary growth and story discussions that promote thinking. He is also the director of the Center for the Study of Reading, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, professor at Beijing Normal University and president of China Children’s Books.

Anderson first expressed an interest in education in high school when he wrote an essay about aspiring to be a college professor. He is a man of his word. Anderson applied to Harvard — the only university to which he applied — and was accepted, with a scholarship. 

A past-president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education, Anderson, along with colleagues, has published approximately 250 books and articles, most notably, “Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading”. 

Anderson is interested in researching approaches to classroom discussions that promote children's social and intellectual development, comparative analysis of learning to read Chinese and English, and reading and public policy. He believes moral and ethical questions prompt children to think and discuss problems in ways that inherently improve their writing skills. An advocate for trusting children to be curious and teachers to lead rather than lecture, Anderson hopes to be part of a revolution that will improve schools so they are more intellectually stimulating, conceptually rich and personally engaging for children.

Visit Inside the Academy of Education to read more about Anderson, watch more of his interviews and see personal photos.