Student-Centered Language Arts, Grades K-12

By James Moffett and Betty Jane Wagner
Curated by Jonathan M. Marine and Paul Rogers

CoverArguably the most comprehensive, practically detailed, and original book on English Education, the 4th edition of Student-Centered Language Arts (first published along with Teaching the Universe of Discourse in 1968) sets forth the rationale and practices for an individualized, interactive, and integrative language learning curriculum designed to work across grade levels and from early literacy through general reading and writing. With chapters on reading, talking, listening, performance and drama, word play, evaluation, and a list of suggested readings, Student-Centered Language Arts is a textbook for teachers in training and a handbook for use on the job for teachers at the primary and secondary levels.

Table of Contents

Open the entire book

Front Matter


Part I. Orientation

Chapter 1. Understanding Language Arts

Chapter 2. Individualization, Interaction, and Integration

Chapter 3. Setting Up

Part II. Basic Processes

Chapter 4. Talking and Listening

Chapter 5. Informal Classroom Drama

Chapter 6. Becoming Literate

Chapter 7. Reading

Chapter 8. Performing Texts

Chapter 9. Writing

Chapter 10. Evaluating

Part III. Kinds of Discourse

Chapter 11. Word Play

Chapter 12. Labels and Captions

Chapter 13. Directions

Chapter 14. Actual and Invented Dialogue

Chapter 15. Invented Stories

Chapter 16. True Stories

Chapter 17. Information

Chapter 18. Ideas

Suggested Readings


About James Moffett

James Porter Moffett (1929–1996) was a ground-breaking teacher, author, and theorist of language learning who had a profound impact on the fields of English Education, Language Arts, Composition, and Educational Psychology in the mid-to-late 20th century (Warnock). Moffett also had a lasting impact on the National Writing Project (NWP), was influential at the 1966 Dartmouth conference, and figured closely into the history of National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); speaking at a number of NCTE conferences and events, publishing more than thirty articles across the many NCTE journals, and helping to found the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (Blau). In addition to his core pedagogical contributions, and in particular his paired 1968 publications, Teaching the Universe of Discourse and Student-Centered Language Arts, Moffett's prescience and foresight in advancing holistic assessment, progressive education, the centrality of peer-to-peer interactions, social emotional learning, and multicultural and multilingual curriculum led him to be referred to by many as “the North Star” of language arts education (Durst; Spalding et al.).

Publication Information: Moffett, James, and Betty Jane Wagner. (2022). Student Centered Language Arts, Grades K-12, 4th edition. The WAC Clearinghouse. (Originally published by Heinemann in 1991)

Publication Date: November 11, 2022

Landmark Publications in Writing Studies

Series Editor: Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF).

Copyright © 2022 by the Estate of James Porter Moffett. Republished with permission. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website. For permission to use materials from this book in other publications, please contact Jonathan Marine at