Literacy Institute

Authentic Approaches to Teaching Writing, K-8

Participants will explore Authentic Approaches to Teaching Writing from Kindergarten through the 8th grade level. Participants will fully immerse themselves in a week of rigorous and active learning about teaching writing that includes: Strategies for Getting Students to Dig Deeper through Writing, Learning More about Writers with Formative Assessment, How to Promote Writing Fluency, Conferring in Writing Workshop, Writing for Analysis, the Writing Process, Supporting our Youngest Writers, Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers, Creating Lifelong Writers, and Using Technology to Support Student Writing. Each day of this high-powered week will feature a different speaker each morning, followed by workshop-style learning sessions in the afternoon.

Course/Important Information

Course: RDED 629
CRN: 4351
Location: Osburn 200/201
Meeting Dates: June 25 - June 29, 2018
Meetings Times: 8:00am - 4:30pm

Institute Director

Dr. Aileen Hower
(717) 871-7341

Dr. Aileen Hower

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 25 - Shawna Coppola (author of course text) (Skype Session)

Shawna Coppola

Renew! Becoming a Better--and More Authentic--Writing Teacher. When was the last time you shook up your writing instruction? Shawna Coppola’s new book is built on the premise that our students are ever-changing, and so is our global landscape. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with relying on instructional strategies that have worked in the past, Shawna challenges writing teachers to rethink and revise their practice regularly—leading to the renewal of their professional lives.

Shawna Coppola has taught in public schools for over sixteen years. She currently works as a K-6 literacy specialist in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, and teaches courses and seminars through the New Hampshire Literacy Institutes as well as the University of New Hampshire’s Professional Development & Training program.

Tuesday, June 26 - Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty

Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty

Learning More About Our Writers with Formative Assessment. Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty provide the tools and strategies you need to use formative assessment in writing workshop. Through Lynne and Diane’s ideas, you will be able to establish an environment where students will internalize ways that they can assess their own writing and become independent writers.

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. Diane Esolen Dougherty lives with her husband in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of West Chester University and received a master's degree from Villanova University. While working on her degree at Villanova, she was a research scholar working with professors of English.

Wednesday, June 27 – Anne Schober

Anne Schober

Everyone Has a Story: Creating Connections through Writing. Exploring writing as an opportunity for students to discover and share their stories.

Anne worked for three years in public education and twelve years in private education at Lancaster Catholic High School where she also served as the English Department Chairperson. In July of 2007, she was picked from over 10,000 applicants to work with Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation and is currently one of 400 educators worldwide certified as a Freedom Writer teacher. For the past eight years, she has also worked as an adjunct for the Pennsylvania Writing Institute, held at Millersville University. In August, 2010, she became a published author with the release of Teaching Hope, a compilation of stories from the classroom written by the Freedom Writer teachers along with Erin Gruwell. 

Thursday, June 28 – Marilyn Pryle

Marilyn Pryle

Keep Them Writing! Fun and Simple Writing Activities to Promote Writing Fluency and Skills

Marilyn is a classroom teacher certified in secondary English and reading instruction. She’s taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels, and in several ELL programs. Her first job, after graduating from The University of Scranton, was in Kathmandu, Nepal, with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Later, while living in Boston and completing an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, she got my dream job: teaching a full-time 8th grade writing workshop. She quickly realized she was in unchartered ground. On one hand, she wanted to offer students plenty of choice and exploration in the writing process; on the other, she knew she needed a structured system if she was to manage five classes of 20-25 students a day. She began creating her own materials and scaffolding them to ensure a progression of learning. When she left Boston and moved back to her home state of Pennsylvania, she wrote up her ideas to help other teachers teach writing. This became her first book, Teaching Students to Write Effective Essays. Since then, she has written three additional books about writing workshop and writing instruction. In 2014, her fifth book, 50 Common Core Reading Response Activities, was published. For this book, she drew from the most successful activities she had used in her English literature classes. She now teaches 10th grade World Literature in Clarks Summit, PA, and last year, she proudly became National Board certified. She speaks regularly at local, state, and national conferences. She believes strongly in every student’s ability to become a better reader and writer and therefore, a better person, living a deeper life.

Friday, June 29 - Tricia Ebarvia

Tricia Ebarvia

Strategies to Get Students Digging Deeper...

As an educator with 15 years of experience, Tricia believes that developing a love of learning begins with a love of reading—a love she tries to foster each day in the classroom. She also believes that developing student voice is not only an important skill in writing, but a necessary one for students to become engaged, informed citizens. Outside of school, Tricia serves as a Co-Director for the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP), a site of the National Writing Project (NWP). In addition to her personal blog, she contributes bi-monthly to the “From the Classroom” column on the PAWLP website and monthly to In May 2016, she was excited and humbled to be named to the second cohort of Heinemann Fellows, an action-research “think tank” of teachers led by Ellin Keene.

  • 2018 Schedule

    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.