Charles Elster


Phone: 707-664-2350

Office: Stevenson Hall 3023

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Charles A. Elster

Professor, Department of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Education

"You are not required to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to abstain from it." -- Ethics of the Fathers

Courses Taught


I am a professor in the Sonoma State School of Education, where I teach courses in the Multiple Subjects, advanced Reading-Language, and undergraduate programs. I also supervise student teachers a McNear Elementary School in Petaluma. My interests include early childhood and elementary education, the teaching of literacy and the study of literature. I am especially interested in the importance of poetry in language arts education.


  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1982
  • BA, Yale University, 1976

Research Interests

  • Teacher education in the language arts
  • Language & literacy development in young children
  • Literature, children's literature, genre theory, poetry
  • Children's literature in the classroom
  • Classroom interactions & linguistic diversity
  • New literacies

Academic & Professional Experience

  • Sonoma State University, 2005-present.
  • Purdue University, 1989-2005.
  • College of San Mateo, 1988-89.
  • University of California at Berkeley, 1983-84, 1988-89.
  • Hebrew Academy of San Francisco, 1980-1982.

Recent Scholarship and Publications

  • Elster, C. (2010). “Snow on my eyelashes:” Language awareness through age-appropriate poetry experiences. Young Children, 65, 47-55.
  • Elster, C. (2009). Seven types of hybrids to delight and challenge readers. The California Reader, 42, 19-26.
  • Elster, C. (2003). Authority, performance and interpretation in religious reading: Critical issues of cross-cultural communication and multiple literacies. Journal of Literacy Research, 35, 663-692.
  • Elster, C., & Hanauer, D. (2002). Voicing texts, voices around texts: Reading poems in elementary school classrooms. Research in the Teaching of English, 37, 89-134.
  • Elster, C. (2000, September). Entering and opening the world of a poem. Language Arts, 78, 71-77.