Current Projects

Below you can see a summary of the projects I’m currently working on as well as a general description of my current efforts.

Critical Literacy and Pop Culture

I’m generally interested in issues of critical literacy, as I feel that students increasingly need diverse skills in critical thinking and questioning in a world that is flooded with information and media. As a former high school teacher, I also recognize the value of tapping into students’ interests and lives as a means for engaging them in this kind of learning. For this project, I’m currently examining the representations of the superhero Batman in comics, graphic novels, video games, and films. The multiple contexts in which we encounter this hero provide a rich territory for exploring possibilities for teaching critical literacy skills.

Emotional Disorders in Young Adult Literature

With a former student, I am examining the portrayals of emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders in young adult literature. In addition to identifying patterns and characteristics of these portrayals, we are hoping to understand how these portrayals might influence readers’ perceptions of the disorders.

Video Games and Narratives

Video games are an increasingly popular medium and their power as a vehicle for telling story is just now being realized. I’m eager to explore the implications of video game as story, and the ways we might integrate this medium into classroom instruction about story and storytelling.

Integrating Grammar Instruction throughout the English Language Arts

For a long time we have connected grammar instruction to instruction in writing, seeking to embed grammar lessons within a meaningful context. I am working now on a book proposal that argues we can do more with grammar instruction and embed it into all areas of the English Language Arts (reading, speaking, etc.). The book will, I hope, further the argument that grammar instruction is still meaningful in today’s ELA classroom and that by embedding a study of the language more thoroughly throughout the curriculum, we help develop more skilled readers and writers.