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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Catherine Compton-Lilly, Ed.D.

Title: John C. Hungerpiller Professor
Department: Instruction and Teacher Education
College of Education
Phone: 803-777-5755
Office: Wardlaw 103
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Catherine Compton-Lilly, Ed.D.


Ed.D. University of Rochester


Catherine Compton-Lilly is the John C. Hungerpiller Professor at the University of South Carolina. As a professor in the College of Education, Compton-Lilly teaches courses in literacy studies and works with local educators. Among the books she has edited or authored are: Reading Families: The Literate Lives of Urban Children (2003), Rereading Families (2007), Reading Time: The literate lives of urban secondary students and their families (2012), and Reading students’ lives: Literacy learning across time (2016). In these books, she describes her experiences in following eight of her former first grade students through high school. Compton-Lilly has authored articles in several major educational journals including the Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, The Reading Teacher, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Written Communication, Journal of Literacy Research and Language Arts.

Catherine Compton-Lilly engages in longitudinal research projects that last over long periods of time. Her interests include examining how time operates as a contextual factor in children’s lives as they progress through school and construct their identities as students and readers. In an ongoing study, now in its ninth year, Compton-Lilly is working with a team of graduate students to follow children from immigrant families from primary school through high school. In 2020, Compton-Lilly served as an Honorary Chair Professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Compton-Lilly holds emeritus status at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Selected Publications

Compton-Lilly, C., Kim, J., Quast, E., & Tran, S.  (in press).  Transnational literacy practices in immigrant families: A longitudinal study. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

Compton-Lilly, C., Papoi, K., Venegas, P., Hamman, L., & Schwabenbauer (2017). Intersectional Identity Negotiation:  The Case of Young Immigrant Children, Journal of Literacy Research, 49(1), 115-140.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). Reading students’ lives: Literacy learning across time. New York: Routledge.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). The possibilities of longitudinal research: Lessons from a teacher and a researcher. The Educational Forum, 80, 466-478.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). A Closer Look at a Summer Reading Program: Listening to Students and Parents. The Reading Teacher, 70(1), 59-67.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). Time in Education: Intertwined dimensions and theoretical possibilities. Time and Society, 25(3), 575-593.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). The development of literacy practices across a decade: Families, friends, and schools. In D. Appleman & K. Hinchman (Eds.) Adolescent Literacy:  A Handbook of Practice-Based Research. Guilford Publishing.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2016). Transnational religious practices: Funds of knowledge for literacy learning. Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers Yearbook (pp. 23-36).

Compton-Lilly, C., Porath, S., & Ryan, D. (2016).  Following the lamp beside the golden door: Perspectives of immigrant families in life and literature In C. Monroe (Ed.) Race and Colorism in Education. New York, Routledge.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2015). Longitudinal studies and literacy studies.  In J. Rowsell & K. Pahl (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies (pp. 218-230). New York, Routledge.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2015). Reading lessons from Martin:  A case study of one African American student. Language Arts, 92(6), p. 401-411.

Compton-Lilly, C. & Nayan, R. (2015).  Literacy Capital in Two Immigrant Families: Longitudinal Case Studies. In Schmidt & Lazar (eds), Reconceptualizing Literacy in the New Age of Multiculturalism and Pluralism, 2nd ed. Information Age Publishing

Compton-Lilly, C. (2015). Academic literacy development: A ten-year case study of an aspiring writer (pp. 166 – 182). In D. Molle (ed.) Sociocultural contexts of academic literacy development for adolescent English learners. New York: Routledge.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2015). Revisiting children and families: Temporal discourse analysis and the longitudinal construction of meaning (pp. 61-78). J. Rowsell & J. Sefton-Greene (Ed.) Learning and literacy over time: Longitudinal perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2014). The development of writing habitus: A ten-year case study of a young writer. Written Communication, 31, 371-403.

Compton-Lilly, C. & Halverson, E. (Eds.) (2014). Time and space in literacy research. Routledge Publishers.

Compton-Lilly, C. (2014). Temporal discourse analysis.  In P. Albers, T. Holbrook, A. Flint (Eds.). New Methods in Literacy Research (pp. 40- 55). New York: Routledge.

Research/Areas of Expertise

Literacy in families
Literacy in historically underserved communities
Early childhood literacy
Learning to read and write

Special Awards

2017 Wisconsin State Reading Association Outstanding Service Award, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2014 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher Award, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA

2014 Wisconsin State Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2009 Dina Feitelson Research Award for Empirical Research Article in Reading, International Reading Association, Minneapolis, MN.

2002 Spencer NEA Postdoctoral Fellowship, Examining Literacy in GED Families:  When children and parents attend school.


  • EDRD 430: Elementary Literacy Instruction I
  • EDRD 431: Foundations of Literacy Assessment
  • EDRD 803: Pedagogical Perspectives on Reader Response Theory
  • EDRD 824: Discourse Analysis
  • EDRD 824: Identity, Literacy and Learning
  • EDRD 824: Global and Local Literacies

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