The purpose and mission of the Concentration in Literacy is to prepare literacy professionals who will hold research and literacy education positions in universities across the country as well as for roles in local, regional, state, or national educational agencies and corporations. The program of study engages doctoral students in a theoretical and research-based examination of the cognitive, linguistic, social, cultural, political, and economic factors that impact literacy teaching and learning at all levels of development, from early childhood through adult, and emphasizes social opportunity and educational access for all learners.

The Concentration in Literacy is designed to provide doctoral students with the knowledge and skills essential for reading and interpreting scholarship in the field, as well as conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and disseminating original research. To that end, students engage in a variety of mentored and guided experiences that integrate theory, research, and practice. The program faculty expects doctoral candidates to provide leadership locally as well as contribute to a national research community. The Concentration in Literacy also offers doctoral students the opportunity to engage in mentored and guided university teaching experiences.

Through a combination of required courses and electives, doctoral students, together with their mentors, design a program of study uniquely fitted to their individual interests, expertise, and professional goals. The degree program requires a minimum of 90 semester credit hours, as described below. At least one year of the program of study must be completed through full time study.

Required Courses

  • LSLS 9021 Frameworks for Literacy Research
  • LSLS 9046 Advanced Seminar in Literacy I
  • LSLS 9047 Advanced Seminar in Literacy II
  • LSLS 9051 Mentored Research in LSLS
  • LSLS 9055 Writing for Publication in Education

Elective Courses

  • LSLS 8000 Special Topics in LS
    • Miscue Analysis
    • Teaching Ethnic American Literature
    • Critical Discourse Analysis
    • Principles of Organizing a Literacy Curriculum
    • Current Issues in Literacy


Allison Breit-Smith, Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, Speech-Language Pathology

Expertise:  Early language and emergent literacy acquisition in children with disabilities (e.g., autism, specific language impairment); effects of parent and teacher-implemented literacy interventions; pragmatic language

615 Teachers College, (513) 556-7119,

Ying Guo, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Florida State University, Educational Psychology

Expertise: Early language and literacy acquisition for children who are at risk for reading difficulties; development and evaluation of classroom-based literacy interventions and empirically-based curricula; classroom dynamics and teacher quality facilitating child development.

246 Teachers College, (513) 556-0204,

Holly Johnson, Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Arizona, Language, Reading, & Culture

Expertise: Adolescent literacy and literature, middle level education, disciplinary literacy, social justice

615 Teachers College, (513) 556-0469,

Mark A. Sulzer, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Iowa, Language, Literacy, and Culture

Expertise: Secondary English language arts education, dialogic pedagogy, new literacies, young adult literature

           615E Teachers College, (513) 556-3588,

Connie Kendall Theado, Associate Professor and PLI Coordinator

Ph.D., Miami University (Ohio), English

Expertise: Postsecondary literacy education, writing theory, literacy testing, rhetorical analysis

615 Teachers College, (513) 556-1427,

Susan Watts Taffe, Associate Professor

Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, Reading Education

Expertise: Vocabulary development; new literacies and technology; teacher professional development

615 Teachers College, (513) 556-2534,

Cheri Williams, Professor

Ph.D., Ohio State University, Language, Literature, & Reading

Expertise:  Emergent literacy; early literacy instruction; literacy and deafness; qualitative research methods

615 Teachers College, (513) 556-3571,