Research Network


The Studies and Research Committee of the Illinois Reading Council has developed a network of IRC Researchers who have agreed to publicize their research interests and a brief description. Below are email links of IRC Researchers that other IRC members can contact about the research they have engaged in or research they wish to pursue.




Acknowledging Outside-Of-School Technology Use By Adolescents as a Factor in Their Literacy Skills and Motivations to Read and Write

Researcher(s): Tracy Tarasiuk
Council: Lake Area Reading Council
Category: Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Description: For my Doctoral Dissertation, I am creating a survey that incorporates questions pertaining to students' computer use in measuring their motivations to read and write. I would be interested in hearing from teachers in grades 6-12, their use of technology in the classroom, and how this has motivated students and increased their reading and writing skills. For more information, contact Tracy Tarasiuk.

Adult and Family Literacy

Researcher(s): Susan Sokolinski
Council: Fox Valley Reading Council
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Description: The focus of my current research is family literacy as an approach to promoting the early reading development and early reading achievement of struggling primary-aged readers. I am also examining the relationships amoung parental beliefs, early reading development and early reading achievement with a focus on middle-class parents. For more information, contact Susan Sololinski.


A Meta-Analysis of Vocabulary Instruction for At Risk Learners

Researcher(s): Pamela Kuforiji
Council: Fox Valley Reading Council
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Description: Several studies indicate a correlation between vocabulary strategy instruction for second language learners and vocabulary strategy instruction for at risk learners. The purpose of this research is to conduct a meta-analysis of those studies thereby creating a foundation for further quantitative research on explicit vocabulary instruction as a comprehension tool for at risk learners. For more information, contact Pamela Kuforiji.


Books for Struggling Readers in Grades 5-8

Researcher(s): Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley, Judy Barbour, Pamela Godt, Francine Falk-Ross, Boomer Crotty
Council: Studies and Research Committee
Category: Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Description: The Studies and Research Committee will be surveying IRC members on their personal recommendations for books that engage struggling students in grades 5-8. The results of this survey will be publicized in articles in the IRC Communicator and the IRC Journal. For more information, contact Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley.


Criteria For Graded Word List Performances on Informal Reading Inventories

Researcher(s): Lou Ferroli
Council: Northern Illinois Reading Council, CIRP, ITA
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy, Assessment
Description: Establishing criteria for independent, instructional, and frustration levels based on graded word list performances. Criteria exist for passage reading performances and comprehension performances. No one has attempted to provide empirical data for determining such criteria for the GWL performance. For more information, contact Lou Ferroli.


Content Analysis of Middle School Literature that Incorporates Characters Who Write

Researcher: Carole Pelttari
Council: Northern Illinois Reading Council, Illinois Language Literacy Council
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Description: I am examining recent award-winning literature to learn whether the books present children with characters who write. I intend to follow that up with research to determine whether reading about such characters has an impact on student's writing. For more information, contact Carole Pelttari.


First-Year College Students' Conceptualizations of Academic Literacy

Researcher: Sonya Armstrong
Council: Northern Illinois Reading Council
Category: Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Description: My research focuses on college students who are enrolled in developmental courses; specifically, I am interested in how they understand academic literacy. I use metaphor analysis as a route to understanding their conceptualizations of college reading and writing. For more information, contact Sonya Armstrong.


Fluency in Silent Reading - Teaching and Assessing also Poetry Reading and Writing in the Content Area

Researcher: Lucia Schroeder
Council: East Central-EIU Reading Council, CIRP
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Description: What specific instructions for silent reading will be the "best practices" to promote for improving students ability to read [comprehend] when they read silently? At what grade level is this instruction most effective? For more information, contact Lucia Schroeder.


Increasing Student Achievement in Writing through Quality Professional Development: School-Based Teacher Inquiry Groups in Grades K-8

Researcher(s): Jim Meyer, Ellen Spycher
Council: Macon County Reading Council
Category: Providers of Literacy
Description: We are looking at school-based teacher inquiry groups and their effects on student achievement in writing. We hope to understand more about why teacher inquiry groups are effective and about what kinds of support they need to be sustainable as long-term professional development. For more information, contact Jim Meyer.


Promoting Reading for Boys

Researcher: Pam Nelson
Council: NIRC, West Suburban, CIRP
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Description: What is of interest to young, adolescent boys? What motivates them to engage with books? Performance Reading with materials from the Library of Congress & National Archives? How can those materials be adapted for use with elementary and middle school populations? How will that Performance Reading impact fluency? How will work with the materials enhance or conflict with the elementary curriculum? For more information, contact Pam Nelson.


Re-Activating and Creating Background Knowledge for Students That Have Limited Experiences and Imaginations.

Researcher: Mark Levine and Various Teachers at Lukancic Middle School
Council: Will County Reading Council
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Description: I am working with various content area, language arts, and careers teachers to help increase engaged comprehension through the use of non-traditional means of activating AND creating background knowledge. This is being done in our Middle School to increase reading engagement, comprehension, and cross-content connections. For more information, contact Mark Levine.


Reader Response & the Pre-School Child

Researcher: Claudia J. McVicker, Ph.D.
Council: Lewis & Clark
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Description: A study of preschool children and their spontaneous responses to selected children?s literature in East St. Louis. For more information, contact Claudia McVicker.

Read-to-Me Project: Helping Incarcerated Fathers Read Books-On-Tape to Mail to their Children.

Researcher(s): Dr. Pamela Godt, Diana Goff, Jody McCamey, Phyllis
Aicklen.
Councils: Western Illinois Reading Council, CIRP
Category: Methods, approaches, strategies for promoting literacy.
Description: This project helps incarcerated fathers promote literacy by recording
books-on-tape to send messages of love, caring, and the importance of
reading to their children. Through this communication, fathers in prison for
four or five years can still have a positive impact upon their children's
literacy skills. Surveys are assessing the impact of such a program on both
the fathers and the children in the family. For more information, contact Pam Godt.


The Effects of Reading Nonfiction Aloud on the Vocabulary Acquisition of Middle School Students

Researcher: Patricia Braun
Council: West Suburban, Two Rivers, ICARE
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Description: I am reading 15 nonfiction articles on physics connections to daily life to 8th graders. They were given a pretest of 40 target words, and will be given a post test on the same words. The read-alouds are simply reading aloud with no discussion or journaling. For more information, contact Patricia Braun.

The Liverpool Project: Intercontinental Comparison of Literacy Practices in U.S. & British Schools

Researcher: Claudia J. McVicker
Council: Lewis & Clark
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Characteristics of Literacy Learners
Providers of Literacy
Description: A 5-phase study of literacy practices in the British Literacy Hour framework comparison to a similar school in U.S. For more information, contact Claudia McVicker.


Timed Partner Reading: A Practical Technique for Fluency Instruction

Researcher(s): Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley and Judy Barbour
Council: Illini Reading Council
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy
Description: This study was conducted by the Studies and Research Committee of the Illinois Reading Council. The project, which was conducted over three years, included 3 separate studies on the effectiveness and feasibility of using the technique of timed partner reading to improve student fluency in the classrooms across the state. For more information, contact Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley or Judy Barbour.


Topic: Use of Media for Middle Level Literacy Instruction

Researcher: Fran Falk-Ross
Council: NIRC, CIRP
Category: Materials Used for Promoting Literacy
Description: I have worked with teachers to provide the use of interesting media resources (such as art, video, music, iPods, cartoons, power point, computer software) for interesting literacy instruction that appeals to the attention and interest needs of middle level students. For more information, contact Fran Falk-Ross.

What Happens to Writing Workshop Instruction in 1st Grade Classrooms When I Apply the Principles of Gradual Release of Responsibility to my Coaching?

Researcher(s): Jennifer Dixon
Council: Chicago Area Reading Association
Category: Literacy Coaching
Description: Currently I am a member of a Chicago Foundation for Education Study Group focusing on Action Research. My research question (as it currently stands) is "what happens to writing workshop instruction in first grade classrooms when I apply the principles of gradual release of responsibility to my coaching." I am currently at a beginning stage where I am research about my topic, after which I will probably refine my research question. For more information, contact Jennifer Dixon.

Word Identification in Spanish

Researcher(s): Lou Ferroli
Council: Northern Illinois Reading Council, CIRP, ITA
Category: Methods, Approaches, Strategies for Promoting Literacy, Assessment
Description: Due to the phonetic regularity of Spanish, word reading performances tend not to be very effective in assessment. That is, given sufficient time, kids tend to be able to accurately pronounce most words. A timed exposure (2 seconds) does seem to identify relative word reading strengths in Spanish. I have a pretty large data set in hand -- that's right, all collected and waiting for analysis. I can use some help from a second author. For more information, contact Lou Ferroli.


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International Reading Association

For general information, contact us at: irc@illinoisreadingcouncil.org