Patricia Cunningham grew up in Rhode Island. For seven years, after graduating from The University of Rhode Island, she taught a variety of elementary grades in Florida and Indiana. She received her Ph. D in Reading Education from the University Of Georgia in 1974. After teaching at Ohio University and serving as Director of Reading for Alamance Co., North Carolina Schools, she came to Wake Forest University to direct the Elementary Education program in 1978. Pat’s particular interest has always been in finding alternative ways to teach children for whom learning to read is difficult. Reading and Writing in Elementary Classrooms, first published in 1978, is currently in its fourth edition. In 1991, She published Phonics they Use: Words for Reading and Writing, which is currently available in its fourth edition. Along with Richard Allington, She published Classrooms that Work and Schools that Work. Along with Dorothy Hall, she developed the Four Blocks Literacy framework, which is currently used as the balanced literacy framework in thousand of classrooms throughout the country. She and Dorothy Hall are co-directors of the Four Blocks Literacy Center, which is housed at Wake Forest University.
James W. Cunningham has over 100 professional publications in reading and writing education such as college textbooks, book chapters including major research reviews, and original research published in major research journals. He has been a professor of education at UNC-Chapel Hill and an elementary classroom teacher.