Jessica Tobin Nagle, a 2020 graduate of the PhD in Education program with a concentration in Literacy and Learners and current adjunct assistant professor at Temple University, was awarded the annual dissertation award for Literacy Excellence by the American Educational Research Association's (AERA) SIG Research in Reading and Literacy for her work on "A Qualitative Study of the Strategies Dual Language Teachers Employ to Differentiate Reading Instruction in Their Classrooms."
Tobin Nagle started teaching several years ago in Chicago and then at the Westtown School in Pennsylvania. She was always interested in how she could best help students learn vocabulary or comprehend the novel they were reading as a class. This interest evolved as her nephews started attending a dual language school in Chicago.
"When my sister explained this model to me, I was fascinated by it. I loved its premise and objectives - biliteracy and biculturalism for all students. It also made so much sense to me as a practitioner," stated Tobin Nagle.
Language learning, specifically biliteracy, ultimately became the topic of Tobin Nagle's dissertation.
"Since this model has been consistently proven successful, I thought there must be a lot we can learn from it to improve reading instruction for language learners in all models of education," said Tobin Nagle.
Tobin Nagle worked very closely with Wanda Brooks, a professor of Teaching and Learning at the College of Education and Human Development while writing her dissertation. Brooks served as Tobin Nagle's advisor and chair.
"Dr. Wanda Brooks was an amazing mentor to me all the way through the process. She and the rest of my committee pushed me to produce really strong work," said Tobin Nagle.
"She definitely juggled a lot while in the doctoral program. I always admired her steadfastness and ability to get everything accomplished at a pace that fit with her lifestyle and many other responsibilities," said Brooks.
Both Tobin Nagle and Brooks are honored by the recognition from AERA.
"I think this [award] says a lot about the current direction and values of my field right now. I also hope it means my findings will help other practitioners teach reading to language learners in dual language schools and other models of education more effectively and equitably going forward," said Tobin Nagle.