Faculty, staff, Teaching Fellows, alumnae from the School of Education present at North Carolina Reading & Literacy Conference

Faculty, staff, Teaching Fellows and alumnae presented research at the 51st North Carolina Reading and Literacy Conference, held by the North Carolina Reading Association in Winston Salem.

The Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education was well represented at the 51st North Carolina Reading and Literacy Conference held by the North Carolina Reading Association (NCRA) on March 20 through March 22 in Winston-Salem.

Oral History Projects – Building classroom community through oral history

Presenters: Marna K. Winter ‘98, senior lecturer of education, and Allison Bryan, director of the Curriculum Resources Center

Long before there were written books or recorded stories, family histories were passed down from generation to generation, a tradition that continues today. This presentation shared how an oral history project was implemented in a first-year COR 1100 seminar and EDU 4110, an Elementary Education English Language Arts and Social Studies methods class. Winter and Bryan used this project to help students to better understand their own family’s experiences, identities, culture, traditions, as well as backgrounds of others.

Beginning with a discussion of the TED Talk by Chimamanda Adihe, titled “The Danger of a Single Story,” this presentation demonstrated why multiple narratives are important in helping us understand ourselves, others and the stories that shaped our history. These oral histories were also powerful classroom community builders as students were beginning to re-engage with one another in an in-person environment and were able to understand them more deeply and through their own experiences and perspectives. This assignment also is easily differentiated for a wide variety of students, teachers, content areas and learning environments.

Where are all of the graphic novels? An exploration of prevalence and usage in today’s classrooms

Presenters: Winter ‘98 and Megan Aurentz ‘22

Stemming from her Teaching Fellow undergraduate research project which examined how classroom teachers select books for readers in their class, Aurentz discovered an intriguing finding. Teachers reported aligning books selected for reading with students’ interests and that most students love reading graphic novels, but are rarely given graphic novels to read. This led Aurentz and Winter to begin a second research study that explored the prevalence and perception of graphic novels in today’s classrooms. Findings from their study were presented at NCRA and showed that teachers find graphic novels to be engaging for students who are struggling or reluctant readers but are mostly used during independent reading only. The presentation provided information about how to implement graphic novels across the curriculum.

An Exploration of Prevalence and Usage of Hi-Lo Texts in Today’s Classrooms

Presenters: Winter ‘98, and Kristen O’Neill ‘19

Engagement in reading is one of the biggest predictors of reading success but research shows that most teachers tend to use texts for students to read based on their academic performance versus selecting books that align with students’ interests. Winter and O’Neill presented findings from their latest research project which explores the prevalence and usage of high interest, low readability (Hi-Lo) texts in the classroom. The need for Hi-Lo books has been acknowledged by reading specialists and teachers, yet there is a research gap regarding teacher knowledge of and access to them. In fact, of the 52 participants in the study, 65% have not used hi-lo books in their classrooms. Barriers to this include lack of knowledge, lack of access, not being in the current curriculum or supported by administrations. The presentation shared multiple strategies for how to increase the usage of hi-lo reliability books in the classroom.