Miriam Balmuth, retired professor of curriculum and teaching, has died. Professor Balmuth was a longtime leader in teacher education, known widely as the literacy expert who wrote the classic textbook The Roots of Phonics.
At Hunter, Professor Balmuth taught in the Master’s in Literacy Program and served as coordinator of the Reading Laboratory. She came to Hunter with an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College, an MS in elementary education from City College, and a PhD in educational psychology from NYU. After a decades-long career, she retired in 2003, but her connection to Hunter and her devotion to its students, faculty, and staff never ebbed.
At a September 2016 meeting of the CUNY Board of Trustees, as she presented the testimony of a former Hunter colleague, she began by citing her own lifelong connection to CUNY, adding, “Working at Hunter, I was always privileged and felt happy that society gave us their beautiful, best young people.”
First published in 1982, The Roots of Phonics has been re-released several times by major publishers. When the textbook company Paul H. Brooks released a 2009 edition, it called the work “a book that shaped the work of the most respected and prominent literary experts” and “a must for every education professional.”