Participants will explore All Topics related to Writing from Kindergarten through the 8th grade level, including conventions and assessment. Participants will fully immerse themselves in a week of rigorous and active learning about teaching writing that includes: Patterns of Power, Peer-to-Peer Responses, Writing Workshop, Teachers as Writers, Writing Assessment, Critical Friends - Feedback and Editing, Poetry Writing Club, Craft Moves, and Argument Talk Protocol. Each day of this high-powered week will feature a different speaker each morning, followed by a workshop-style learning session in the afternoon.

Course/Important Information

Course: RDED 629
CRN: 3453
Location: Osburn 200/201
Meeting Dates: June 24 - June 28, 2019
Meetings Times: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Institute Director

Dr. Aileen Hower
(717) 871-7341


Dr. Hower is an Assistant Professor of Literacy in the Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education Department at Millersville University. She also teaches in the Graduate Language and Literacy Education program. Dr. Hower earned her Reading Specialist Certification from Cabrini University and her doctorate in Reading/Language Arts Leadership with a Literacy Coaching endorsement from Widener University. Dr. Hower recently served as the K12 Literacy and ESL Supervisor with South Western School District in Hanover, PA. She is the President-Elect of the Keystone State Literacy Association, where she is a conference committee member, the coordinator of social media, and the co-chair of the Keystone to Reading Book Awards. She is the Vice-President of the Elementary Section for the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts. She presents state-wide and nationally on a variety of literacy topics.

Purpose of Course

  • Establish an instructional framework that infuses theoretical research about writing instruction with practical classroom application.
  • Participate in cognitive conversations about effective teaching principles and contemporary writing strategies that inform instruction.
  • Define effective teaching of writing principles and contemporary strategies in writing.
  • Incorporate effective techniques to boost student engagement and scaffold instruction.

General Course Objectives

  • To become acquainted with multiple models and processes of writing and the impact they have on classroom practice. (NCATE 1.6; ILA 1.5, 5.2, 5.3)
  • To demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which diversity influences writing development in all students, especially those who struggle with writing, and develop strategies to advocate for equity. (ILA 4.2, 4.3)

Institute Speakers

Monday, June 24 – Whitney LaRocca (co-author of course text) (Zoom Session)


Instead of chanting grammar rules or completing countless convention worksheets, Jeff Anderson and literacy coach Whitney La Rocca invite young writers to explore conventions as special effects devices that activate meaning. Their students study authentic texts and come to recognize these "patterns of power"—the essential grammar conventions that readers and writers require to make meaning.

Whitney La Rocca is an elementary literacy coach and has spent over 20 years working with young readers and writers. She enjoys delivering professional development and coaching teachers in best practices to empower children to create their identities in the world of literacy.

Tuesday, June 25 – Frank Murphy


I have been teaching, mostly as an elementary school educator, for almost 26 years now! I got started writing children's books almost immediately when I started teaching; but, it took me about six years to finally get published! What got me started?  ...a desire to make learning about history more fun for young readers (and adults!).  I also wrote books about strong women in history.  I noticed there weren't many books about women in history for young girls and in some ways, even more importantly, for boys to read about. After many years having books published about historic men...I FINALLY have a book about one of history's strongest women coming out in 2018.  Clara Barton's heroic life is the subject of my next Step into Reading, due out in 2018!

Wednesday, June 26 – Lynne Dorfman and Stacey Shubitz (Welcome to Writing Workshop: Engaging Today's Students with a Model that Works)


Lynne, a native of Philadelphia, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education, her supervisory certificate in elementary education, her reading specialist certificate from LaSalle University, and her educational leadership doctorate degree from Immaculata University.

For the past fifteen years, Stacey has worked with writers and teachers of writers, inspiring them with the power of writing workshop. Stacey began her career in education teaching fifth grade at PS 171 in East Harlem, New York, and then fourth grade at The Learning Community, a public charter school in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Stacey now works as a literacy consultant and an adjunct professor. She is also the Chief of Operations and Lead Writer for Two Writing Teachers, a popular blog about the teaching of writing.

Thursday, June 27 – Jennifer Laffin (Teach Write. Teachers who write make the best teachers of writers because they learn about writing from the inside-out.)


In addition to being a former classroom teacher and Teacher of the Year, Jennifer is also a Teacher Consultant with the National Writing Project, an organization focused on providing exemplary professional development to writing teachers. she is a writer myself, having taken coursework through the Institute of Children's Literature and have shared my classroom teaching practices on several blogs. She is currently writing a book called "Teachers as Writers: Teaching Writing From the Inside-Out." She has presented at many local, regional, and national conferences including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Writing Project (NWP).

Friday, June 28 – Brian Kelley (Peer-to-Peer Response)


Brian Kelley is in his twenty-fourth year of teaching middle school. He is happily married in rural Pennsylvania with a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs, but continues to hold firm on not bringing in the chickens, pygmy goats, and pigs that his wife wants. A co-director of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, Brian can be found on Twitter (@_briank_) or on his website, brianjkelley.org, where he shares his notebooks (and his love of all notebooks).

  • Additional Information

    Credits: All participants will receive 3 graduate credits for the summer institute. 

    Tuition/Fees: Institutes are unique 3 credit graduate courses, that highlight renowned experts in the field. Institutes include breakfast and lunch throughout the day, as well as handouts and materials. Books may be required for certain courses, please check with the university bookstore. Millersville University graduate tuition and fees can be found on the Office of Student Accounts page. In addition, a $165 institute fee is required.

    Note: If you have not taken any graduate-level course or workshop at Millersville University within the past 5 years, you must complete the online non-degree admission form; this information is necessary to admit you to the university.

    Overnight Accommodations, Directions to Site, and Things to Do in Lancaster, PA: directions to Millersville University,
    off-campus overnight accommodations, and Things to Do in Lancaster, PA.