RCOstaff@rcowen.com 914-232-3903 or 800-262-0787

Who We Are

The Company Statement

Richard C. Owen Publishers is an educational publishing company focused on a child-centered, meaning-centered approach to learning. Founded in 1982, our original goal was to publish books on literacy learning for teachers. A chance encounter with Marie Clay, a New Zealand educator, in the mid-1980s led to our active involvement with their approach to literacy. New Zealand had the highest literacy rates in the world at the time. We learned from them how they support teachers and how they develop books for children learning to read and write. Our books are exemplary because of what we learned. And many of our understandings about learning and teaching were shaped by the relationships we had with New Zealand educators.

Richard Owen – In 1967 educational publishing attracted me and I have been involved with literacy learning since then. For most of the last six decades I have lived in or near New York City. In 1982 my wife, Charlyce, expressed her faith in the future by marrying me six months after I decided to start my own publishing enterprise. We have three grown sons who have taught both of us a lot about language and learning. And I am learning more than I expected from our grandson, Cj. There is much that I value from my years in publishing, but it is working with this group of educators on The Literacy Gallery and Library that excites me the most. Parents are a child’s first teacher and they continue their role when they become grandparents. We want to share our learning with you.
Phyllis Greenspan – In 1991 I joined Richard C. Owen Publishers as an organizer of year-round, nationwide professional development experiences for teachers and administrators. I am originally from the Bronx, where, as a child, I met the man who eventually became my husband, and we share one daughter. Having attended New York City Public Schools, it was especially fulfilling for me to arrange for a well-known and respected New Zealand educator, to provide support at my former elementary school! That school was one of the first of many hundreds across the U.S. that benefited from the teachings of our New Zealand colleagues. American teachers educated based on this model of child-centered teaching and learning, in turn taught thousands of school faculty whose classrooms and students were transformed by the support. My current role involves our children’s and professional books, and our new Literacy Gallery.

Educators and Authors

Brian Cambourne – My teaching career began at age 19 in 1956, with the first of nine years of work in a mix of one-room schools, and primary classrooms K-6 for the New South Wales Australia Department of Education. I completed my Ph.D at James Cook University in North Queensland in 1972, and was subsequently a Fullbright Scholar and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard. What has fascinated me since I began teaching is how children learn to talk and how the conditions that support learning to talk apply also in other ways we humans learn, especially when it comes to literacy. I conducted this research in the naturalistic mode I prefer by sitting in classrooms and other places where I could observe and record exchanges and interactions between adults and children. The centerpiece of my life’s work has been the identification of a set of eight conditions of learning that when implemented have a significant impact on learning. My work is described in Made for Learning: How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions, the book I wrote with Debra Crouch and published in 2020 by Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc.

Ben Carson – I am a retired life-long educator from Texas with 37 years in education — 10 years in the classroom (2nd, 3rd, and 5th), 13 years as an Elementary Principal, 11 years as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, and 3 years as a Superintendent. I have been married to my amazing wife Ann for more than 40 years, and we have 4 grown children with soon-to-be 9 grandchildren. As I watch them grow and learn, it takes me back to my time teaching and observing children. They are a magnificent gift to us and deserve all the love and support we can give them. They each are unique and learn at their own pace and in their own way. This is perhaps the most important lesson I learned as an educator: there is no one answer, no one program, or no one strategy that works for all children. As we continue to develop this website for all parents and grandparents, I hope you will value the diversity of ideas we present. Our children are our future, and they deserve our best efforts. 

Timothy O’Keefe – I recently retired from teaching second and third graders at the Center for Inquiry in Columbia, SC where our two sons, now adults, attended from K-5. I’ve always been a teacher/researcher and believe that my students, in addition to being my best friends, have always been my most important and inspiring teachers. My collaboration with my wife, Heidi Mills, led to the publication of Looking Closely and Listening Carefully: Learning Literacy Through Inquiry by the National Council of Teachers of English. After a thirty-eight-year career teaching young children and writing for educators, I’m venturing into fiction. I’ve written a middle-grade novel, and a new adult novel and I’m currently working on one for young adults.

Mike Shelton – Are adult exchanges with children a conversation or an interrogation? This question has interested me for the 45 years I’ve been in literacy education. Do we engage in literate conversations with our children or are we interrogating, looking for the “correct” words or the “right” answers? In my years in literacy education, I have been fortunate to work with students from kindergarten to 6th grade, with “tangled” readers and those considered “gifted,” and with dedicated professionals whose love of literacy and learning matched my own. I have a master’s degree in special education, worked as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and led summer literacy learning institutes for The Learning Network. I live in Arizona with my lovely wife and life-long learning partner, Debbie. We have three grown children and two unique rescue dogs, Pippin and Nala. The conversation or interrogation question for me has become more how do we continue the conversation and create a love of reading and learning. I hope you recognize and appreciate this “thread” as you are reading episodes in The Literacy Gallery.

Maureen Slamer – Being from Michigan has allowed me to experience school life from urban to rural and what an adventure it has been! I have been learning and working in the education world since 1987. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to teach, become a teacher leader, an instructional coach, and supervisor of student teachers. During much of my time in the classroom, I was part of The Learning Network. I am forever grateful for the mentorship and professional learning that opportunity provided in literacy and learning. This connection developed the knowledge necessary for one of my greatest professional challenges. I was asked to facilitate and implement a 9-12 week at-home summer reading program. This program entailed choosing and mailing to all students PreK-4th grade a book to read independently every week during the summer.  Thank goodness for the books published by this company with charm, magic and appeal! I was able to choose a variety of books – both fiction and nonfiction – to support the readers in my school and prevent the dreaded summer slide. My husband Al and I have twin daughters. They taught us much about being parents and how kids learn. When our grandchildren arrived – we have four  the fun and our learning continued. Parenting is hard. Grandparenting is tricky. The stories I share are based on actual episodes with my grands or with students I have worked with. I hope they inspire you.

Teresa Thayer Snyder – After taking a dozen years off from teaching to raise my four children, two of whom were born prematurely and required a great deal of support, I returned to my field as an educator. I spent more than thirty years after my return teaching and working in school administration, in private, parochial, and public schools. My beloved husband, who passed away in 2014, encouraged me to continue my own education, so I completed my doctorate in Educational Theory and Practice with a focus on teaching and learning. I remain fascinated at how we learn and on how teaching makes such a critical difference in a person’s approach to learning. I have taught at every level, from primary school through graduate school, and you know what I have learned? I have learned that we are all an awful lot alike, whether we are 5 or 15 or 55. We are natural learners when we are in environments that encourage us and which support risk-taking.

“If you are a dreamer, come in / If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, / A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer… / If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire / For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. / Come in! / Come in!”                                                                               –Shel Silverstein

Maryann Whitfield – As a young child it took me a while to learn to read. My third grade teacher, collaborating with my mother, helped me become a reader who loved reading and learning. In college I began my journey as an educator and became a teacher. A teacher like my third grade teacher. A teacher who would always be learning so that I could better help children learn and love learning. A teacher who would collaborate with parents. I taught in schools near Austin, Texas for over thirty years, always learning right alongside my students. I also coached teachers in my school and other schools to help them learn as teachers. Now in retirement I find abundant time to continue learning as I explore the world with my grandchildren, go for early morning walks, read, and write poetry and stories. And I’m still finding ways to help children love to learn.


Richard Owen

Phyllis Morrison
Business Manager

Phyllis Greenspan
Children’s and Professional Books

Christian Noboa
Customer Service

General Comments / Inquiries:


Regular Business Hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm ET

Main Phone:
or 800-262-0787

Orders/Billing Phone:

Fax: 914-232-3977


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 585
Katonah, NY 10536

Physical Address:
247 Route 100, Suite 1003
Somers, NY 10589

Share this: