Northeast Summer Conference
July 6-7, 2021

Critical Literacies in the 21st Century Classroom

Tuesday, July 6

8:30 am-9:30 am ET

Keynote. “So What’s Critical about a Reading-Writing Connection?”

Most of us say that reading and writing are integrally connected, but our teaching, research, and theories show mostly disconnects. This talk will look at some of the ways readers and writers develop as they move through high school and college in order to explore what it means to read and write, how pedagogical practices shape reading and writing, and how connections and disconnects work as well as what they do.

Anne Ruggles Gere is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English and Gertrude Buck Collegiate Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, where she is chair of the Joint PhD in English and Education. A former chair of CCCC, she has also served as a president of NCTE and was 2018 president of the MLA. Author of a dozen books and over 100 articles, she recently completed Developing Writers in Higher Education: A Longitudinal Study, and she is currently engaged in a project that integrates writing-to-learn pedagogies into large-enrollment gateway courses.

Concurrent Session 1 (CS1) 9:45 am- 11:45 am ET

Workshop (CS1)

From Peer Review to Peer Reading: Towards a Peer Workshop Practice of Observation, Generation, and Intention

Ellen Noonan and Matthew Noonan

In this hands-on workshop we will all reflect on our own practices, including the presenters’ experiences teaching advanced interdisciplinary writing, first-year writing, slam poetry, and social justice to generate methods and best practices for the peer workshop process. We will review and “read” the peer workshop to “write” or perform it more effectively with our learners.

Workshop (CS1)

What to do Monday? Taking Reading into Writing Classes

Alice Horning

This workshop will help participants understand where students are with respect to reading ability and why it is essential that all teachers work on reading with writing and share their understanding of reading with colleagues across the disciplines. Participants will learn about what actually happens when humans read texts online or on paper. In the last part of the workshop, participants will try out an array of activities to use in the classroom.

New Project Working Group-- Open to Participants (CS1)

How Do We Read in Co-Requisite Courses?

Ann Dean

I would like to begin a collaborative research project devoted to understanding the place of reading in co-requisite sections of first-year writing, particularly those taught by adjunct faculty. Specifically, I propose these questions: How do ALP and co-requisite faculty, especially adjunct faculty, bring their own reading lives into the classroom? How do students in these courses bring their own reading lives into the classroom? How do these students and faculty interpret the curriculum’s purpose, especially in relation to reading?

Project Plan: Convene faculty, including adjunct faculty, from geographically close university, college, and community college ALP and co-requisite classes. Apply for funding, (perhaps through a CCCC grant) to stipend adjunct faculty participants. Faculty meet to discuss their own reading lives, investigate reading pedagogy, and propose reading projects for their courses. Create recommendations for the national ALP and co-requisite community.

Workshop (CS1)

Critical Reading Through a Translingual Framework

Anne Shea

Beginning with a brief overview of recent studies in translingualism, the workshop will demonstrate how this scholarship provides a productive framework for teaching critical reading strategies and addressing the following questions: How does an understanding of monolingualism as an ideology change the way we approach purportedly monolingual texts as well as multilingual texts in our classrooms? How can we demonstrate the ways that reading is an embodied and situated practice: a dynamic interaction between the internal features of a text, a reader’s subjectivity, and their historical context? As instructors, how do we make visible the multiplicity of practices called into action by the verb “read?”

Workshop (CS1)

Building Environmental Literacy with Design Thinking

Karen Shaup

Far from prescribing “correct” views on environmental issues, design thinking encourages students to collaborate on researching the complexity of local ecosystems while also making it possible for students to propose and assess solutions. In this workshop, participants will build a writing assignment related to sustainability by working through design exercises. The workshop will offer participants a model to engage critical and reflective reading practice throughout the entire design process and will address these questions: How does design thinking facilitate environmental literacy? How does critical reading play a role in every stage of the design process? How does design thinking open up space for critical reflection on reading?

Concurrent Session 2 (CS2) 12:15 pm- 2:15 pm ET

Workshop (CS2)

Addressing Reading in the Writing Classroom

Ellen C. Carillo

We will discuss the importance of teaching reading and annotation strategies within a mindful reading framework. Participants will engage in many of the same activities recommended during the workshop. There will be ample time for discussion about and responses to these activities.

New Project Working Group—Open to Participants (CS2)

Transfer, Transition Supports, and Prior Knowledge Activation for First-Year Composition

Ashley Pendleton and Britta Bletscher

According to the WPA Outcomes Statement, students should be learning to analyze texts for their context, voice, and tone, and they should learn how to write using academic sources in multiple drafts. We believe that students are being asked to do similar tasks in high school; however, it seems at times that students are failing to perform these tasks in college classrooms. Therefore, we will be hosting a new project working group which will focus on studying the relationships between high school and college curriculums to best help students at two and four-year institutions. The emphasis for this group will be to allow for new projects focused on improving the transition from high school to college to look at the various ways in which prior knowledge can be activated and students can be supported in college classrooms. The ultimate objective is to develop a teaching module that will enact prior knowledge and support transition for First-Year Composition students through critical reading strategies and rhetorical analysis.

New Project Working Group—Open to Participants (CS2)

Beyond Good and Bad: Writing Centers and Writing Assignments

Michael Turner and James F. Reardon

This working group will develop strategies to communicate with instructors and institutional stakeholders on how writing center (WC) practitioners read and interact with assignment prompts. In so doing, we hope to position the WC as a source of rich and significant feedback about students’ engagement with the documents meant to, in part, achieve various student learning outcomes and objectives. The working group will first consider ways for WCs to collect data on WC practitioners’ engagement with assignments. Then the working group will create ways that this information can be communicated to the larger institution in which the WC is housed while also being sensitive to localized institutional dynamics.

Workshop (CS2)

Visual Thinking Strategies in the Writing Classroom

Sarah Ehrich and Rachael McIntosh

Our umbrella objectives in this workshop are to: 1) generate a conversation around what challenges instructors face when it comes to teaching critical literacy; 2) demonstrate a visual thinking strategies (VTS) driven method that high school and college writing instructors can use and adapt to help students read visual and written texts critically. The workshop will prioritize participation, collaboration, and reflection. We will begin with a brief literature review. Then, we will model VTS with participants in the role of students, followed by guided small group discussion. Last, we will lead a full-group debrief.

New Project Working Group—Open to Participants (CS2)

Access Sponsorship: Basic Writing & Disability Studies

James Austin and Elizabeth Brewer Olson

We propose a new project working group that investigates deficit discourses around disability and basic writing. To do this, we offer our own generative concept of access sponsorship, which offers a framework for designing inclusive pedagogies and writing programs. The working group will build toward an edited collection that combines disability and basic writing pedagogies.

Workshop (CS2)

Cultivating Critical Language Awareness in the Writing (and Reading) Classroom

Shawna Shapiro

This interactive workshop has 3 central goals: 1) To understand the central features of Critical Language Awareness (CLA), which Fairclough (2014) defines as an approach to language and literacy education that gives “attention to important social aspects of language, especially . . . the relationship between language and power.” 2) To examine readings/media, assignments, and classroom activities that promote CLA and are applicable to a variety of teaching contexts. 3) To generate or adapt our own course materials in a way that is in keeping with the goals of Critical Language Awareness, as a way to apply what we've learned.

Concurrent Session 3 (CS3) 3:00 pm- 4:30 pm ET

Interactive Panel (CS3)

Strategies for Cultivating Environmental Literacy during Climate Crisis


Interactive Panel (CS3)

Students Hate Them. I Hate Them. The Challenges and Affordances of Portfolios in FYC Classes

Christopher W. McVey, Aleksandra Kasztalska, and Stephen Hodin

During this interactive panel, three team-members funded by a Boston University Assessment Mini-Grant who updated and standardized the portfolio component of Boston University’s Writing Program curriculum will report on this project. The team will spend twenty minutes discussing the anticipated as well as unanticipated challenges encountered during this work. We envision the significant majority of this session to be an interactive opportunity for attendees to share their successes and challenges adapting FYC portfolios for new media environments. Part I of the interactive panel will be an open discussion among attendees to share experiences about the use and adaptation of portfolios in FYC, WAC, or WID environments. Part II of the interactive portion will split attendees into small clusters to extend the conversation further.

Interactive Panel (CS3)

Critical Compassionate Literacy in First-Year Writing


Interactive Panel (CS3)

From the Writing Center to the Classroom: Scaffolding Better Asynchronous Peer Review

Elizabeth Hutton, Anita Long, Danielle Hart, and Brenda Tyrrell

Drawing from an ongoing study of our writing center’s redesign of our written online consultation platform, this panel will investigate strategies for scaffolding peer review-oriented models of reading and writing. Presenting data collected from over 30 written online (asynchronous) peer-to-peer consultations, we examine how the prompts from our previous and current written online systems encourage writers and consultants to engage differently with each other’s texts as they read and write towards revision. We will explore how this might impact classroom-mediated peer review, showing how different forms of scaffolding change how students engage reflectively and rhetorically with the challenges of requesting and providing task-specific feedback.

Interactive Panel (CS3)

Technology Mediated Community Building in Literacy Learning Contexts: Critical Reflections from an Instructor, a Writing Center Director, and a WPA

Alexander Champoux-Crowley, Carrie Kancilia, and Jessica Ouellette

In this interactive panel, we seek to reflect on our—and our audience’s—experiences of how digital technologies mediated (and disrupted) our attempts to form literacy learning communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each presenter addresses a different type of community and reflects on the challenges posed by these mediating technologies, the ways that the presenters and audience have overcome these challenges, and the ways through which these challenges “made visible” 21st century literacies in ways that facilitate the development of new critical practices of literacy.


Wednesday, July 7

Concurrent Session 4 (CS4) 9 am- 11 am ET

Workshop (CS4)

Scaffolding Strategies for Reading in the Writing Classroom

Anne Wheeler and Rebecca Lartigue

This workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to combine theoretical and practiced-based perspectives on reading pedagogy with what we are already doing well: providing students with intentionally scaffolded writing assignments. Workshop participants will collaborate to develop a toolbox of strategies for fostering reading comprehension, a skill that hinges on working memory, prior knowledge, motivation, vocabulary, text coherence, and text structure (Watson et al.).

Workshop (CS4)

Teaching How to See Truth Online in the Era of Divisive Digital Deception

Kimberly Rotter

This workshop will consider how fake news is making it exponentially more difficult for students to conduct self-directed research. The workshop will also examine its divisive effects on academic debate and classroom culture. Academic skepticism will be introduced as a way to help students maneuver around disinformation while using Web 2.0 tools. The major components to this analytical skill - devil’s advocacy, deception-detection, and bias-recognition – will be explained and modeled.

Workshop (CS4)

Beyond the Basics: What does it Mean to “Teach Reading”?

Arlene Wilner and Rick Zdan

This interdisciplinary workshop will engage participants in activities regarding the design and execution of assignments focused on rhetorical reading as preparation for writing. Participants will be invited to consider the different rhetorical invitations presented by literary texts as compared with expository and argumentative ones. The argument behind this session is twofold: 1) the stigma traditionally associated with “teaching reading” in high school and college must be overcome in order to help students demonstrate learning at appropriate levels in virtually every course, and 2) the imperative to teach reading-- across the entire curriculum-- as a rhetorical practice is made especially urgent by the need to address the “Matthew Effect,” the tendency of students at different skill levels to diverge in mastery over time, exacerbating inequities that it is our purpose to close.

Workshop (CS4)

Affective, Attitudinal, and Valuing Dimensions of Reading for Research

Gwen Kordonowy, Ken Liss, and Sarah Madsen Hardy

Both the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy and the CWPA’s Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing emphasize the importance of student dispositions—the feelings, attitudes, and values that create context for learning. This workshop invites participants to explore the role of dispositions in their students’ engagement with sources. Participants will (1) consider what critical literacy means in the context of reading for research; (2) reflect on the dispositions toward research they observe in their students; (3) analyze samples of student reflective writing for evidence of disposition toward research; and (4) explore how the rhetoric of instructional materials shapes the feelings, attitudes, and values students bring to their research reading practices. Together, these exercises aim to inspire teaching that deliberately cultivates the kind of dispositions the ACRL and WPA highlight.

Workshop (CS4)

Orienting First-Year Students to Savvy, Scholarly, and Engaged Reading


Concurrent Session 5 (CS5) 12 Noon – 1:30 pm ET

Interactive Panel (CS5)

Critical Literacies in the 21st Century Classroom: How Instructors Might Best Prepare Students to Participate in a Democratic Society that Depends on its Citizens’ Abilities to Read Critically

Esther Hu, Jonathan Benda, Mary Shertenlieb, and Mary Caulfield

While information is readily available and widely accessible in democratic societies, texts are, on the one hand, socially constructed (Vasquez et al. 2019) and seldom neutral since they embed the perspectives and values of their authors. On the other hand, critical literacy can be transformative, challenging and changing systematic injustice and “problematic social practices” (Vasquez et al. 2019). This interactive panel discusses practices in teaching reading in the humanities and social sciences that offer opportunities to reflect on a text’s social and ethical implications. Topics include “Reflective Reading for STEM Students” (M.I.T.), “Lateral Reading in the First-Year Writing Classroom” (Northeastern University), “Critical Literacies: Initiating Student Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability through Environmental Literacy” (Emerson College) and “Democratic Values to Live By: Rhetorical Strategies and Social Impact in the Speeches of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.” (Boston University). Why should students studying in democratic societies learn to read critically, and how might instructors seize this unique opportunity at this cultural moment?

Interactive Panel (CS5)

Across Oceans and Continents: Critical Cultural Literacy in the 21st Century

Victoria Tischio, CJ Deskie, Camryn Carwll, and Olivia Mancarella

This interactive panel, which includes one faculty member and three undergraduate students, focuses on the lessons learned from an international service-learning program in South Africa offered by West Chester University. The panelists will discuss the immersive elements of the program as well as pre-trip preparation that increases cultural awareness and sensitivity. This panel will discuss the role of writing in developing cultural awareness, focusing specifically on the travel journals kept by students during the program, and on the edited collection of journals and interviews that have resulted from the trips.

Interactive Panel (CS5)

Listening Online: Fostering Engaged Communication Across Remote Spaces

Kelly Garneau, Talia Vestri, and Amy Patterson

Exploring critical literacy and antiracist pedagogies for the 21st-century classroom, our interactive panel demonstrates how educators can maximize virtual modalities to foster personal, social, and global awareness using conscientious, critical listening: listening to everyday sounds in order to generate nonverbal compositions; listening to voices that are present—and silent—in our daily lives; and listening through translingual assignments that forge online community.

Concurrent Session 6 (CS6) 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET

Interactive Panel (CS6)

Like a Writer: Deep Reading and Mentor Texts

Jason Courtmanche, Rhianna Bennett, Megan O'Connor, and Samantha vanValkenburg

This interactive panel reflects on research recently completed in which one of the presenters studied undergraduates in a writing-intensive section of a literature survey course comprised of mostly non-English majors. The study surveyed students’ dispositions towards themselves as writers and readers before and after the course and the effects of specific pedagogical approaches on these dispositions. The study demonstrates that mentor texts and a reading-as-a-writer approach promote both improved writing as well as deep reading. Presenters include the principal investigator in that study, as well as undergraduate pre-service teachers.

Interactive Panel (CS6)

Writing about Writing in the Classroom and Writing Center Settings: Critical Literacies for English Language Learners

Kitty S. C. Burroughs, Stephen Ohene-Larbi, and Anastasiia Kryzhanivska

Though research on transfer and Writing about Writing (WAW) is widely conducted with native English-speaking students, little research examines the ways WAW informs the literacy practices of English Language Learners (ELLs). Considering the critical reading-writing connection (Mikulecky, 1990), this panel attempts to bridge the gap in understanding the role of WAW on literacy development among ELLs.

Interactive Panel (CS6)

Breaking Old Habits and Raising the Stakes: Suffolk University Pilots Project-Based Learning in First-Year Writing

Pamela Saunders, Nick Frangipane, Kelsey Stocker, Ruth Prakasam, and Valerie Vancza

This panel explores how to scaffold high-stakes, collaborative, multimodal projects in a first-year writing classroom, specifically through a project-based learning curriculum. Our institution’s first-year writing program recently completed a project-based learning pilot in nine WRI 101 classrooms. We chose to pilot this curriculum out of an interest in offering students collaborative writing opportunities and encounters with genres that have traction outside of higher education (specifically podcasts, graphic novels, grant proposals, and websites or infographics).

Interactive Panel (CS6)

Critical Literacy & Participatory Reading: Educating for Self-advocacy in a Democratic Society

Zainab Salejwala, Meesh McCarthy, Katie Raddatz, and Andrea V. Molina Palacios

Tutors and instructors on this panel discuss how they collaborate with students to intervene at the onset of the reading process to reach various student-scholar-citizen goals. This tenet applies in both course and writing-center outcomes. The session models strategies to foster engagement and agency throughout the reading-writing process.