Rowsell, Jennifer 1969-

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ROWSELL, Jennifer 1969-


Born January 13, 1969, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; daughter of Murray (a chemical engineer) and Sunny (a kindergarten teacher) Rowsell; married Fred Wanklyn, August 7, 1993; children: Madeleine. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Toronto, B.A. (with honors), 1993; University College, London, M.A., 1994; King's College, London, Ph.D., 2000. Politics: Liberal.


Home—Princeton, NJ. Office—Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, 10 Seminary Pl., New Brunswick, NJ 09801-1183. E-mail[email protected].


Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, assistant professor of literacy education, 2005—.


National Council of Teachers of English, American Educational Association, National Reading Conference, United Kingdom Literacy Association.


(With David Booth) The Literacy Principal: Leading, Supporting, and Assessing Reading and Writing Initiatives, Pembroke Publishers (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

(Editor, with Kate Pahl) Travel Notes from the New Literacy Studies: Instances of Practice, Multilingual Matters (Buffalo, NY), 2005.

(With Kate Pahl) Literacy and Education: Understanding the New Literacy Studies in the Classroom, Paul Chapman (London, England), 2005.

Frame by Frame, with teacher's resource guide, Rubicon Publishing (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 2005.


Jennifer Rowsell told CA: "I had a circuitous route into education by working in educational publishing. Although I briefly taught English as a second language (ESL), most of my experience and understanding of pedagogy and practice derives from producing language arts textbooks for elementary and secondary students. Also, working with such scholars in the United Kingdom as Brian Street and Gunther Kress opened my eyes to a very different and, I would argue, more informed understanding of language and literacy development. That is, that reading and writing proper exist everywhere and they are shaped by the contexts in which they take place. What is more, that texts have written words but they are very much guided by other modalities that we understand and appreciate on a tacit level that have movement, are visual, musical, and gestural.

"My writing process starts off free-flowing and the real art, to my mind, is editing—sculpting text to meet a vision that I have in my head. It may not always be 'right' but it is how I envision it.

"The most surprising thing that I have learned as a writer is that it makes me feel better. When I write, I become completely engaged and forget about a current worry, anxiety, or troublesome thought. Choosing a favourite book is a hard one; I loved working on each one and I loved both collaborating and working independently.

"I hope at least one person sees language and literacy differently after reading my books. Oh, and I hope that people like them and perhaps say, 'I never thought of that.'"



Resource Links, December, 2002, Elizabeth Strong, review of The Literacy Principal: Leading, Supporting, and Assessing Reading and Writing Initiatives, p. 51.

Teacher Librarian, April, 2004, Ken Haycock, review of The Literacy Principal, p. 48.