Category Archives: Literacy Studies, English and History Education (LEHE)

News from the Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education Department

MBHLI Literacy Leaders

Spring 2016 Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute

East Carolina University’s College of Education Reading Faculty hosted the spring 2016 Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute on Saturday, January 30, 2016, for pre-service and in-service teacher educators from the Latham Clinical Schools Network, a privately funded partnership program that supports the enhancement of 39 school systems in eastern North Carolina.  The Margaret Blount Harvey Institutes are possible through the generosity of Felix and Margaret Harvey, and daughters Leigh McNairy and Sunny Burrows.

Targeting the Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Leaders Board and undergraduate students in the College of Education, this working session provided opportunities for substantial and substantive work focused on literacy and literacy development.  Two sessions were held one for the Literacy Leaders Board and one for undergraduate College of Education students.

Dr. Elizabeth Swaggerty and Dr. Anne Ticknor led the session for the Literacy Leaders Board. Dr. Christy Howard and Dr. Ran Hu helped facilitate the work which focused on the current state of literacy instruction in public schools, the issues and challenges that literacy leaders and teachers face and importantly, session offered an opportunity to share concrete strategies for addressing challenges and moving forward.

Pre-service educators review the development and progression of literacy skills and instruction needed to be successful on the Foundations of Reading test.

Pre-service educators engaged in reviewing the development and progression of literacy skills and instruction needed to be successful on the Foundations of Reading test.

The session for students led by Dr. Kim Anderson, Dr. Johna Faulconer, Dr. Caitlin Ryan with support from Ms. Jean Gore and Ms. Tanya Cannon included a solid review of the development and progression of literacy skills and instruction needed to be successful on the Foundations of Reading test required for licensure in North Carolina.  Dr. Katherine Misulis, Chair of the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education, said “While the session for students focused on insuring a solid knowledge base in preparation for the North Carolina Foundations of Reading test, in reality, the session did so much more.  It truly helped our future teachers become more prepared to teach and reinforce literacy skills, and with today’s session, particularly those early literacy skills and strategies focusing on word recognition and identification.”

MBHLI Foundations

Literacy Studies Undergraduates following their working session at the 2016 Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute on Saturday, January 30.  Pictured at the top of the page: Literacy Leaders.

The next Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute will be held September 24, 2016 in Greenville, NC.

International Literacy Assoc

LEHE Faculty contribute to International Literacy Association Blog

Dr. Terry S. Atkinson, Associate Professor in the Department of Literacy Studies, English, and History Education, is a regular contributor to the International Literacy Association’s Teaching with Technology Blog.  Her most recent entry, “Inspiration and Motivation with Technology in the Midst of Constant Change” went live on January 8, 2016 and features research she conducted with LEHE colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Swaggerty.

The International Literacy Association’s Teaching with Technology Blog is maintained by members of the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

Dr. Caitlin Ryan and co-presenter/co-author, Jill Hermann-Wilmarth of Western Michigan University

LEHE Faculty attend National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention

NCTE Annual Convention 2015The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) held its annual convention November 19-22, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN.  With a membership of over 30,000, NCTE represents the entire range of individuals involved in fostering literacy skills of students from pre-school through doctoral programs.  Convention attendees mirrored the diversity of the membership and included PK-12 classroom teachers, administrators, teacher educators, researchers, and other policy makers. This year’s convention featured over 600 concurrent sessions that focused on timely topics critical to effective instruction and the future of English Language Arts (ELA).   Hundreds of vendors provided access to the most recent ELA publications and authors of children and young adult literature were present to discuss and sign their works.

English Education Associate Professor, Dr. Sharilyn Steadman, presented “Effectively Developing Expertise: Using Video to Hone Teacher Candidates’ Classroom Observation Skills.”  The session focused on the use of classroom videos in ENED 2123 and the observation skills that English Education teacher candidates develop as they observe, analyze, and discuss these videos before observing “live” classrooms. The teacher candidates’ abilities to transfer those observation skills from videos to classroom interactions was the highlight of the presentation.

Literacy Studies faculty member, Dr. Christy Howard presented “Strategies for Engaging Students in Content Area Literacy: A Look at Reading/Writing Connections in Social Studies.” This session focused on the role of content area literacy in classrooms. Specifically, Dr. Howard discussed how middle school teachers participating in the study used a variety of texts and strategies to engage students in social studies content with literacy activities. Strategies presented in the session represented an integration of literacy, history and technology across a range of topics.

Dr. Caitlin Ryan, also from the Literacy Studies program presented “Reading Jacqueline Woodson in Upper Elementary and Middle Grades Classrooms: Exploring LGBTQ Topics Through Her Novels and Picture Books”. This session considered the books of award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson as one way to make classrooms more inclusive of LGBTQ topics. Using lesson examples and student work samples from two 5th grade teachers’ classrooms, one of whom was a co-presenter of the session; presenters discussed ways to teach Woodson’s LGBT-inclusive books and ways to approach LGBT experiences indirectly through her books that address difference more generally.  They also explored how Woodson’s diverse characters can help readers understand ideas of intersectionality, or how characters have race AND class AND gender and other identities all at the same time.

Dr. Ryan also met with the LGBT Advisory Council, where she serves as a representative, and wrapped up her final term as NCTE’s GSEA (Gay/Straight Educators’ Alliance) chair. Dr. Ryan stepped down after leading that group for the past 5 years.

Image Caption: Dr. Caitlin Ryan and co-presenter/co-author, Jill Hermann-Wilmarth of Western Michigan University, at the GSEA table where they advertised GSEA-related sessions, displayed LGBTQ-inclusive literature, and encouraged people to become GSEA members

COE Seal - Feature Image

Drs. Howard and Guidry Present Research at CUFA and NCSS Annual Conferences

Two faculty members in the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education, Dr. Christy Howard (Assistant professor in Reading Education) and Dr. Allen Guidry (Associate professor in History Education) recently presented research at the annual conferences of the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA) and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). At CUFA, Drs. Howard and Guidry presented a research paper entitled, Instructional Practices of Practicum Teacher Candidates in a Content Literacy and Social Studies Methods Co-teaching Environment.

This research arose from their collaborative project from spring 2015 where they co-taught a combined history teaching methods and content literacy course. Their qualitative research presented data that suggested that the co-taught course enhanced students’ recognition of the connection between history and literacy. Their research also suggested that both faculty and students found the co-taught university course to be an effective means for modeling and building collaboration among teacher candidates.

Dr. Howard commented, “While our purpose was to model the co-teaching process for our students, it was a tremendous benefit for me to collaborate with Dr. Guidry across disciplines.” At NCSS, Drs. Guidry and Howard teamed with a local high school teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Bryan at South Central HS, to present a new teaching strategy for analyzing and interpreting a variety of historical resources the team developed called SPACES. The presentation was entitled Civil Rights 360 – Viewing Complex Problems through Multiple Perspectives and presented an interactive website the team designed to guide high school students through an historical investigation.

Dr. Guidry noted of the reception of the presentation by NCSS attendees, “It was exciting to see so many teachers interested in this idea. The design team really wanted to create an engaging and academically rigorous approach to historical inquiry that all students could access. The feedback from the field trial of the method and from NCSS participants suggests that we are on the right track.”

LEHE Retreat Group copy

English and History Education Students Attend Retreat

Students and faculty from the English Education (ENED) and History Education (HIED) programs in the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education participated in a senior I methods retreat November 20-21 at the Pocosin Arts Riverside Lodge in Columbia, NC. More than two dozen undergraduate, licensure only, and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students across the two program areas engaged in the two-day retreat that included team building, reflective teaching, and professional development activities. In his opening remarks at the retreat Dr. Todd Finley, associate professor and senior I methods instructor for ENED commented, “This is our attempt to create a small college feel within a larger university campus. We want you to engage in an intimate experience that will help you feel connected and supported as you move into senior II.”

With the perfect setting alongside the picturesque Scuppernong River, students began the retreat on Friday evening with a “boundary breaking” activity that was aimed at helping students connect and become comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas with classmates and colleagues from another program area. After S’mores by the campfire, students socialized with one another and then prepared lessons, videos, and assessments to be shared the next day. On Saturday, students formed into interdisciplinary Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and, through a structured protocol, shared, analyzed, evaluated and discussed each other’s teaching of lessons they had delivered in their senior I internship. Reflective and supportive conversations resulted where students discussed teaching strengths and areas for improvement. One HIED student commented about the PLCs, “When watching my videos alone, I felt like my videos were horrible. It was good to get reassurance from my peers. It was also helpful to see the teaching styles of others, and I saw some things that I could add to my own teaching style.”

This PLC experience was followed in the afternoon by an “Unconference” – an interactive, self-guided professional development activity that arose from perceived areas for growth, development, and expertise based on the PLC discussion. Potential Unconference topics were identified and voted on and students then chose a session to attend based on the feedback they had received during their PLCs. One ENED student commented that a benefit of the Unconference was, “Being able to talk through education problems to solve them versus being told the solution really helped build my confidence as a future educator.” Before closing the retreat, students were required to develop an action plan for addressing perceived areas for growth prior to the senior II internship.

Short social-emotional learning games occurred throughout the day to help the interdisciplinary teams learn ways to energize and increase the academic achievement of their future students.

Overall, students and methods faculty found the retreat to be a positive educational experience. One student wrote, “Thank you for hosting the Pocosin Retreat! It was so much fun and educational and I made memories that will last a lifetime.”

In an anonymous post-retreat survey, 100% of the 25 students who attended indicated that the retreat was helpful in building a professional support network for the senior II internship.

Dr. Allen Guidry, associate professor and methods instructor for HIED commented, “The retreat tapped into students’ inherent creativity and reflection and engaged them in becoming leaders and problem solvers in their own professional development. They entered the retreat with uncertainty and areas for growth. They left the retreat with confidence and a plan of action.”

Mary Beth Meeks, Shannon Jesequel and Carole Anne Briley.

COE Literacy Studies Teachers Of The Year

Congratulations to Carole Anne Briley (ECU BS in Elementary Education 2010; ECU MAEd READ 2015), Shannon Jesequel (Current ECU MAEd READ Candidate), and Mary Beth Meeks (ECU BS in Elementary Education 1992; Current ECU MAEd READ Candidate) on being named Teacher of the Year at their respective schools. Carol Anne is a kindergarten teacher in the Dos Mundos Dual Immersion Program at Belvoir Elementary School in Pitt County, Shannon Jesequel is a third grade teacher at Timber Drive Elementary School in Wake County, and Mary Beth Meeks is a fourth grade teacher at Sam Bundy Elementary School in Pitt County. The Reading Education faculty members are proud of these literacy leaders!

Pictured above: Mary Beth Meeks, Shannon Jesequel and Carole Anne Briley.

Captain Arrrgh Headshot

From the TRC: Reluctant Readers

It’s the third Thursday of the month and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight another service or resource Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center (TRC) has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. Today we’ll cover one of our newest bibliographies, Reluctant Readers.

The TRC has created, and constantly updates, an extensive list of bibliographies and guides available to help students, faculty and staff easily navigate our collections. Print copies for select topics are available in the TRC while our entire catalog of bibliographies and guides are available on the TRC’s website. The reluctant readers bibliography is currently only available online, and is based on titles from the Young Adult Library Association’s (YALSA) Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List.

But, we need to define who a reluctant reader. The umbrella term, reluctant reader, is used to describe a few different groups of students. Reluctant readers generally fall into one of three categories, those who can’t, don’t or won’t read. Students may not read because they lack the literacy and comprehension skills needed to do so which can lead to self-doubt and a fear of their secret being “found out.” The latter two categories encompass students able to read, but either dislike reading itself or their personal interests lead them to other activities they find more attractive.

So, what to do? A simple Internet search will overwhelm you. There is no shortage of parenting websites, non-profit and for-profit companies willing to share tips, tricks, and books. The Lexile Framework for Reading also offers tips and links to additional resources.

One theme you will find over and over again as you sift through all these resources is student choice. Allow your reluctant readers to choose reading material (e.g., comic book, graphic novel, popular magazine, etc.) about topics they are interested in. Of course, if a teacher knows their students’ interests, and happens to know a few books that may pique their interest, it’s a win-win. That’s why the TRC created our bibliography for reluctant readers.

Joyner Library’s subscription to Novelist Plus will also come in handy at times like this. Novelist Plus allows users to search for “Title Read-alikes” and “Author Read-alikes”. For example, if a student liked Kwame Alexander’s novel, The Crossover” A Basketball Novel, you can use that feature to find a list of similar reads:

Figure 1: The Crossover: A Basketball Novel’s entry in Novelist Plus. Read-alikes are found just above the “Find It!” button.

Figure 1: The Crossover: A Basketball Novel’s entry in Novelist Plus. Read-alikes are found just above the “Find It!” button.

Figure 2: Clicking on the “Title Read-alikes” will show a list of novels with similar themes.

Figure 2: Clicking on the “Title Read-alikes” will show a list of novels with similar themes.

Why is it important to become familiar with Novelist Plus? All K-12 educators in North Carolina have free access to either Novelist K-8 or Novelist Plus through NC WiseOwlJoyner Library’s subscription to Novelist Plus is the only way pre-service teachers can access this resource until you have your own classroom.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC


College of Education Graduate Recognition Ceremony – December 19, 2015

The College of Education Graduate Recognition Ceremony is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. The faculty and staff of the College of Education are pleased to present a special Graduate Recognition Ceremony (GRC) for our graduates. The ceremony will feature individual recognition of College of Education students receiving degrees. Friends and families of the graduates are cordially invited to attend. It is not necessary for graduates or guests to RSVP for this event. Tickets are not required to attend the ceremony.

For University Commencement Ceremony details and information about the ECU Commencement Weekend, please visit

2015 NC Teacher of the Year Keana Triplett photo credit: NC Department of Public Instruction

College of Education hosts the 2015 NC Teacher of the Year

On October 19, 2015, Ms. Keana Triplett, the 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, visited East Carolina University. Over sixty students attended Ms.Triplett’s inspiring keynote address which was featured as a part of the Teacher Toolbox Workshop series, offered by the College of Education.

A North Carolina Teaching Fellows graduate, Triplett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education in 2005, and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology in December 2012, both from Appalachian State University. In 2014, she achieved National Board Certification in English/Language Arts.

Triplett has spent her entire teaching career at Ashe County High School. Since 2005, she has taught 9th, 10th and 12th grade English. She is chair of Ashe County High School’s Writing Committee and a member of the school’s Literacy Committee. She also is a Senior Conference Presenter for the Appalachian Community of Educators Society, a Teaching Fellows Advisory Council member for Appalachian Educators and a Cooperating Teacher for Appalachian State University student teachers.

She is the North Carolina Region 7 Teacher of the Year for 2014-15, and Ashe County Schools’ Teacher of the Year as well as Ashe County High School Teacher of the Year for 2014-15. She is a two-time grant recipient having received the Ashe County Schools’ Endowment Grant in 2010 and the Blue Ridge Electric Bright Ideas Grant in 2009. As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Triplett spends her time traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession.

The College of Education was honored to sponsor this event as a way to teach, lead, and inspire!

For more information about teacher education at East Carolina University, please visit our website at

To view a recording of the event, please visit this link:


Teach for Changency is an Educational Community to Promote Change

Dr. Anne Ticknor (Assistant Professor in Reading Education) and Dr. Katie Schwartz (Associate Professor in Mathematics Education) led a mathematics-specific induction program, LAUNCH into Mathematics Teaching, for 20 beginning elementary teachers in eastern North Carolina. The induction program included over 60 hours of mathematics professional development and specialized mentoring across two years. The Z Smith Reynolds Foundation funded the program.

Drs. Ticknor and Schwartz collected data from the program and found that the program structure supported beginning teachers in the how-to of enacting mathematics curriculum in their particular classrooms, created an external network of educators to share ideas and frustrations, provided windows into “what’s possible” in other schools/districts, and offered opportunities for reflection about their teaching visions and pedagogical decisions.

Ticknor and Schwartz have presented these findings in a variety of venues including local, regional, and national conferences and written reports for national education journals. Currently a social media campaign, Teach for Changency, is underway to disseminate findings and provide an informational and educational community to promote teacher agency and pedagogical change. Join the community and follow @teach4changency on Twitter and like on Facebook.