Reading Education Faculty
Director of Reading Education
Emily Pendergrass taught elementary and middle school students for eleven years. While working alongside middle school students, she finished her Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Emily worked extensively with the Red Clay Writing Project, part of the National Writing Project. Currently, Emily teaches courses in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies and Secondary English Education. Additionally, Emily works closely with the local public schools in literacy coaching and facilitating professional development workshops.
Areas of specialization: Struggling readers in the context of reading as a community practice, with special reference to professional development and new literacies including technologies.
@Dr_Pendergrass is co-creator and moderator of Twitter #literacies chat. This chat engages other professionals from across the country and internationally, who share their expertise in an area related to new literacies both in and out of school. The #literacies blog with chat topics, crowdsourced list, calendar, and archives can be found at http://literacieschat.wordpress.com.
In her research, Deborah Rowe conducts long-term ethnographic studies in classrooms aimed at understanding how everyday interactions with teachers, parents, peers, and community members affect what children learn about literacy and how they learn it. This work examines the interplay between culture and the individual. She analyzes the ways children and adults negotiate cultural expectations about what counts as reading and writing for young children and what kinds of learning-to-write/read activities are offered to them at school. At the same time, she explores how children’s personal interests and learning strategies shape their choices of activities and participation in writing and reading.
In 2010, she received the International Reading Association’s Dina Feitelson Research Award for her article “The social construction of intentionality: Two-year-olds’ and adults’ participation at a preschool writing center” (2008, Research in the Teaching of English). This award recognizes an outstanding empirical investigation of literacy acquisition.
Rowe is currently serving as co-PI, with David Dickinson, of a three year Early Reading First project, “Enhanced Language and Literacy Success.” This work is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education. She and her colleagues are working with teachers and children in 13 public school prekindergarten classrooms to create preschool centers of excellence for literacy instruction, with a special focus on literature-based conceptual learning, emergent writing, and supports for English language learners. As part of this project, she spent a year working at the writing table in one classroom where all the children were English learners. The focus of this project was to observe how children drew on their home language and other communication resources as they learned to write and speak English, and also to track the nature of their interactions with teachers in an English dominant environment. Another current project, involves analysis of data collected in the Write Start! project – a three year longitudinal, mixed methods study of 2- to 5-year-old’s writing in two urban childcare centers.
Rowe is currently serving as a co-editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, and was previously co-editor of the Yearbook of the National Reading Conference.She is a fellow of the National Conference on Language and Literacy and has served as secretary of that organization.
She is the author of a book, Preschoolers as Authors: Literacy Learning in the Social World of the Classroom, and of numerous chapters and research articles published in venues including Read
After beginning her career in Texas, Katie moved to Nashville to complete her M.Ed. in Reading Education at Peabody. She has worked for MNPS since 2001 in a variety of roles including classroom teacher, reading specialist, Reading First literacy leader, and district literacy coach. She enjoyed advancing the Vanderbilt/MNPS partnership while serving as Educator in Residence at Peabody during the 2011-12 school year. Katie currently serves as the literacy coach at Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center. Her primary topics for study and presentation are literacy instruction and assessment, standards, Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII), professional learning, and Project-Based Learning.
Lindsey joins the Reading Ed program with 10 years in schools in both Charlotte, NC and locally in Nashville. She is a graduate of Peabody's Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools graduate program, with a focus in literacy instruction and teacher leadership. She has served grades ranging from 1-8 in various roles, including classroom teacher, reading specialist, and dean of academics. For the past few years, Lindsey has supervised aspiring teachers and Reading Ed students in the field, along with teaching a graduate level management course. She is honored to support the work of literacy in local schools.
Dr. Summer Wood is currently the principal of F. H. Jenkins Preparatory School in North Nashville, TN. This is the oldest African American private school in Middle Tennessee. Summer has been an educator for over 10 years now. She has worked as an elementary literacy teacher, instructional coach, and educational consultant. Her research interests are centered on critical literacy, with an emphasis on the reading experiences of young Black male readers. In an effort to continue to be a part of the training of our future and current teaching force, Summer also works as an adjunct professor.