James F. Baumann is Professor Emeritus of Reading/Literacy Education at the University of Missouri. He has a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an MS (Elementary Education) and PhD (Reading Education) in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He held the Chancellor’s Chair for Excellence in Literacy Education at the University of Missouri (2010-2015); was the Wyoming Excellence Chair of Literacy Education at the University of Wyoming (2007-2010); was Professor of Reading Education at the University of Georgia (1990-2007), where he also served at times as Department Head and Associate Director of the National Reading Research Center; was Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Literacy and Language Education and Director of the Reading Clinic at Purdue University (1982-1990); and was Assistant Professor of Education at the University of North Texas (1980-1982).
Jim began his career in education in the early 1970s as a member of the federal program Teacher Corps. During this time, he worked two years as an intern in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Native American Teacher Corps project, as he lived in a rural Wisconsin Winnebago (Hochunk) Indian community, taught elementary school, and engaged in community service. He subsequently taught Grades 3 and 4 in a working-class community in Wisconsin, and during the summers, Jim and his wife Nancy tutored Oneida Indian Nation children at a rural community center. In the 1990s Jim took a year’s leave from his faculty position at the University of Georgia to re-immerse himself in realities of all-day, every-day teaching by working as a full-time second-grade teacher in a public elementary school in Athens, Georgia, that served minority, low-income children and their families.
Jim's work as a reading clinic director and school-based researcher has also kept him in touch with the actualities of teaching in public elementary schools. His research has focused on classroom applications of research and theory in reading pedagogy. He has conducted studies on topics that include teaching reading comprehension, reading difficulties, reading assessment, the integrated use of literature and reading strategies, teacher research, national trends in elementary reading instruction, and teaching reading vocabulary. While at the University of Georgia, he was Associate Director of the $7.8 million National Reading Research Center, the U.S. Department of Education’s primary funding source for research in reading and literacy, and he conducted multiple funded studies by the NRRC. His most recent research has focused on vocabulary instruction in the middle grades and has been funded by a US Department of Education Field Initiated Studies grant, an International Reading Association Elva Knight Research Grant, and a $1.78 million U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences research grant.
Jim’s work has been published in journals that include Reading Research Quarterly, American Educational Research Journal, Educational Researcher, Reading Research and Instruction, Elementary School Journal, Reading Psychology, and Journal of Reading Behavior. He has published applied research reports in The Reading Teacher and the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and he is co-author of review chapters in the Handbook of Reading Research (Vols. I and III), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (1st and 2nd editions), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts, the Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension, and the Handbook of Reading Disabilities Research. Jim also has written or co-edited a number of books, has contributed chapters to many professional edited books, coauthored various instructional materials for children and teachers, and presented scholarly papers at numerous meetings of professional societies.
Jim was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association and the Board of Directors of the Literacy Research Association, and he was Editor of the professional journal The Reading Teacher. Jim has served on the editorial advisory boards for many professional journals, currently sitting on the Editorial Advisory Board for Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Literacy Research, and The Reading Teacher.
Jim’s wife Nancy has likewise been a career educator, working for over 30 years as an elementary classroom teacher, a middle school special education teacher, and an elementary and middle school librarian. Jim and Nancy have two grown children who live and work in Atlanta, and three rescued Golden Retrievers and a stray barn cat that live with them in Columbia. Nancy sews and rides dressage when not reading or volunteering for school or community literacy programs, and Jim’s leisure activities include Nordic and Alpine skiing, motorcycling, motorsports, and, of course, reading.