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School of Education’s Hinchman named VP-elect of National Reading Conference
School of Education’s Hinchman named VP-elect of National Reading ConferenceApril 27, 2006Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Kathleen Hinchman ’76, G’80, G’85, professor and chair of the School of Education’s Department of Reading and Language Arts, has been named vice president-elect of the National Reading Conference (NRC), putting her on track to become the organization’s president in three years. Her term as vice president-elect begins this December.
The NRC is a professional organization for individuals dedicated to research and the dissemination of information about literacy and literacy instruction. In addition to sponsoring an annual conference, NRC publishes a quarterly journal, the Journal of Literacy Research (JLR), and the NRC Yearbook. Hinchman takes office this year as NRC’s vice president-elect; she then will serve as vice president and president-elect before assuming the organization’s top leadership position in three years. By assuming this leadership role, Hinchman will have an unrivaled opportunity to promote at the national level the ongoing need for rigorous literacy research in a variety of forms.
“This position provides me with a chance to collaborate with literacy researchers from around the world to promote the kinds of research needed to ensure that all children can meet the literacy demands of our changing world,” says Hinchman.
Already a nationally known expert on literacy, Hinchman teaches courses in adolescent literacy, methods for inclusive elementary reading instruction, and interventions for children and adolescents who struggle with reading. This year, she and co-author David Moore (Arizona State University West) published “Teaching Adolescents Who Struggle with Reading” (Allyn & Bacon), which offers feasible classroom practices for teaching middle and high school students who struggle as readers and writers. The book is Hinchman’s fourth.
Hinchman’s literacy research requires that she spend substantial time observing and interacting with students. Through informal interviews, she gathers information about students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening experiences in and out of school, which she uses to assess students’ literacy skills and make recommendations for improving these skills through various instructional practices.
In addition to her books and other publications, Hinchman shares her teaching strategies through direct involvement with teachers-in-training in the School of Education and with local literacy teachers. Those strategies encourage students to bring their at-home skills to school as a means of increasing their engagement, confidence level and motivation to learn. Hinchman promotes project-based or inquiry learning, in which teachers create opportunities for students to pursue personal interests and use those skills in class. “Students need activities to help them develop practical, applicable skills they can use in and out of school,” she says, “not activity for activity’s sake.”