Charles Elster Faculty Profile
Charles Elster


Phone: 707-664-2350

Office: Stevenson Hall 2013-A

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Charles A. Elster

Professor, Department of Early Childhood Studies

"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.