I am the Director of Reading Education MED program where I focus on adolescent literacy practices with particular attention to readers who are labeled as struggling in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
My Education and Experience
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Education in grades 5-8. Upon graduation, I started teaching elementary school at Liberty Elementary School in Clarksville, TN. After two years, I moved to West Jackson Middle School outside Athens, GA. While there I taught Georgia History and Language Arts to 8th graders for four years. In 2003, I explored another interest of mine and completed a Masters degree in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. In 2004, my principal asked me to teach a Title I reading class where I would work with small groups of students who were struggling with reading. For the next five years, I worked as a reading specialist with 6-8th graders. My favorite part of working alongside these particular students was connecting each one with books that often spurred an overall interest in reading. Desiring to know as much as possible about adolescent reading, I then earned a PhD in Language and Literacy at the University of Georgia under the advising of Bob Fecho. Upon completion of my PhD, I moved to Nashville and began working at Vanderbilt in the fall 2011.
My Current Teaching and Research
I currently teach different varieties of teaching reading courses for several different programs: Reading Education Endorsement, Secondary Education Initial Licensure, and Elementary Education Masters plus Initial Licensure. Additionally, I teach a fun elective called Harry Potter and Children’s Literature where we travel to England for spring break for an immersive literature experience. See more about the Harry Potter course here and here.
Through the English Education program, Melanie Hundley and I work with local middle school students to promote a positive view of reading. We hope that students enjoy self-selected books, engage in both print and new media composing, and explore the Vanderbilt community. See here or here for more information on this work.