Adolescent Language and Literacy: Supporting Emotional, Social, and Academic Growth

Conference Faculty

I handpicked presenters who are dedicated to teens and passionate about serving them.

Barbara Ehren

Read on to learn more about these dynamic presenters or view their disclosures.

Barbara J. Ehren, EdD, CCC-SLP, is a professor at the University of Central Florida and the director of a doctoral program that focuses on language and literacy for learners who struggle. Prior to this position, she was a research scientist with the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KUCRL), where her emphasis was strategic reading for adolescents, collaboration among professionals in schools, and school-wide literacy initiatives in secondary schools including response to intervention (RTI). Her experience includes working in public schools as an SLP, teacher, and district administrator. She has served as a manager of professional development, a manager of exceptional student education, a program planner for inclusive education, and a program planner for the speech-language impaired. Prior to that, Ehren was a professor of learning disabilities and communication disorders at Florida Atlantic University. She is an ASHA Fellow and a board-recognized specialist in child language.

Ehren has served on several key ASHA committees, including the Ad Hoc Committee on Reading and Writing and is currently chair of the ASHA Working Group on the Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools. She serves on several other committees and editorial boards, including the advisory boards of the RTI Action Network and the International Reading Association Commission on RTI. She is the author of many publications focused on language and literacy, as well as school practice. She has a special interest in assisting school systems build capacity at the school level for more effective literacy programs for diverse learners. A recurrent theme of her work is shared responsibility for literacy acquisition. She is a frequent consultant to states, school districts, and professional associations on literacy related issues. Her current research activities focus on strategic reading with older students.

Perry Flynn, MEd, CCC-SLP, is the chair-elect of ASHA's Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council and a member of the ASHA Board of Directors. He is the SLP consultant to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and an associate professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Flynn is a volunteer for Operation Smile and a certified therapeutic riding instructor for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemen (PATH).

Patricia Sampson Graner, PhD, is director for the Professional Development Research Institute at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KUCRL). Graner spent 25 years in public education as a classroom teacher for students with disabilities, a district resource teacher, a district program planner for high-incidence disabilities, and a professional development specialist. She has served as assistant director of education for Casey Family Programs, an organization focused on supporting youth in foster care. Her research interests and experiences include literacy and literacy instruction for adolescents, school improvement, and professional development for teachers. Graner serves as intervention specialist for an IES-funded Improving Adults Reading Outcomes project (#R305B0701239); as co-PI for the Virginia State Personnel Development grant (#H323A070029), a school-wide literacy improvement initiative in middle schools involved in adopting a broad array of evidence-based interventions; as co-PI for a North Carolina CLC/RTI project, a school-wide literacy improvement initiative establishing tiered levels of support in secondary schools; and as senior training specialist for a national office of Job Corps under the Department of Labor on a contract that will develop and support a standards-based education and training program for Job Corps staff.

Melissa D. Malani, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida's doctoral program in language and literacy in the communication sciences and disorders department. Malani owns and operates a private practice where she works as an SLP. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Florida.

Kim Murza, PhD, CCC-SLP, received her doctoral degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Central Florida, where she specialized in language and literacy with a focus on autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She works as an assistant professor in the department of audiology and speech-language sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. Previously, Murza worked privately and in the public school system as an SLP for pre-school through high school. Her main research area is pragmatic language intervention and vocational support for individuals with high-functioning forms of ASD. Additional research interests include systematic review and meta-analysis, workforce literacy, inference generation, and the delivery of high-quality professional development.

Kristine Noel, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and educational consultant who has worked as a special education coordinator and clinician for public schools, hospitals, Head Start programs, and juvenile justice settings. She is the professional development coordinator for the Region IX Education Cooperative in New Mexico. She works collaboratively with teachers, learning communities, administrators, and related service staff to increase students' academic achievement and behavioral competence. Her professional and research interests include language, literacy, and behavior intervention with high-risk adolescents.

Vicki A. Reed, EdD, CCC-SLP, has extensive research and teaching experience in the areas of child and adolescent language and has published and presented widely in these areas. She has worked for several universities, including her current appointment at James Madison University. She previously worked at The University of Sydney for 16 years. She is an ASHA Fellow and a board-recognized specialist in child language. She is a member of Speech Pathology Australia; the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association; the Asia Pacific Society for the Study of Speech, Language, and Hearing; and ASHA.

Bonnie Singer, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Architects For Learning, where she directs academic intervention services, professional development, and school consultation services internationally. Prior to starting her business, Singer was an instructor in the communication sciences and disorders department at Emerson College. With expertise in language, learning, and literacy in school-age children, she is passionate about working with students who struggle academically—especially with written expression. In partnership with Dr. Anthony Bashir, she developed EmPOWER™, a method for teaching expository writing, as well as Brain Frames®—graphic scaffolds for language, literacy, teaching, and learning. Her primary research and numerous publications focus on the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, spatial processing, and self-regulated learning. Singer currently holds an adjunct teaching position in graduate and professional studies at Endicott College.

Janet M. Sturm, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a professor in the department of communication disorders at Central Michigan University. Sturm's research and clinical interests include developing writing instruction for students with developmental disabilities and those who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She is also interested in computer-supported literacy, tying together literacy assessments and instructional strategies with classroom communication.

Susan Trumbo, MS, has worked as an SLP in public school districts for more than 35 years. During the past 7 years, she has worked in a middle/high school feeder pattern that uses the five levels of the Content Literacy Continuum? framework, which was designed by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KUCRL).

Kathleen Whitmire, PhD, CCC-SLP, has spent more than 40 years in education as a school-based SLP, clinic supervisor, and university professor. She served as director of ASHA's School Services and director of education programs for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, where she led programs with a global reach of millions of students and educators. She is currently the president of SDG Enterprise, LLC, and is adjunct faculty at Towson University. Whitmire has presented at the international, national, and state levels to school administrators, teachers, policy makers, and special educators. She has authored more than 30 journal articles and chapters, served as guest editor for three professional journals, and sits on the editorial boards of Topics in Language Disorders and Communication Disorders Quarterly. She is chair of the Schools Liaison Group and vice president of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Research Group. Whitmire is an ASHA Fellow and a board-recognized specialist in child language. She holds a PhD in education from the University of Rochester.

Julie Wolter, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor in the department of communicative disorders and deaf education at Utah State University, where she teaches courses in toddler, preschool, and school-age language and literacy development. Wolter's past and current roles as a school-based SLP and consultant fuel her interests in evidence-based practice and interdisciplinary collaboration on response to intervention (RTI) tiered practices. Wolter has authored and published several clinical and research papers, which she has presented at state, national, and international levels. She recently directed the development of teacher training modules for the Utah State Office of Education that focused on links between spoken and written language, and evidence-based tiered classroom language facilitation practices. Wolter studies the multiple linguistic components of morphological awareness, orthographic processing, and phonological awareness as they relate to early identification, assessment, and treatment of children with language and literacy impairments. Her research is funded through the National Institutes of Health.

Vicky Zygouris-Coe, PhD, is an associate professor of reading education at the University of Central Florida. Her research focuses on literacy in the content areas, reading comprehension, teacher knowledge, online learning, and professional development. Her work has been published in The Reading Teacher, Reading & Writing Quarterly, Reading Horizons, Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education Journal, The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Focus in the Middle, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, The International Journal of E-Learning, Florida Educational Leadership Journal, and Florida Reading Quarterly among others. She has developed a statewide professional development program in reading that has served more than 43,000 K–12 teachers in Florida. She serves in several editorial roles, including co-editor of Literacy Research and Instruction and associate editor of Florida Educational Leadership and the Florida Association of Teacher Educators Journal. She is on the editorial review boards of Reading Psychology, Journal of Literacy Research, and the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

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