Dana Reisboard

Dana Reisboard, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Programs I Teach


  • PhD, Literacy (2008)
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—New Brunswick (NJ)
  • MA, Applied Psychology (1995)
    New York University (NY)
  • MA, Special Education (1995)
    New York University (NY)
  • BA, Psychology (1993)
    George Washington University (DC)

About Me

My philosophy of teaching is rooted in cognitive processing theory (Palincsar & Brown, 1989; Pearson & Gallagher, 1983; Pressley & Block, 2002), transactional theory (Rosenblatt, 1978) and critical literacy theory (Freire, 1970, 1998). Cognitive processing theory uses the gradual release method. Through this method, students receive increasing levels of responsibility for learning teaching tasks during the course. My teaching focuses upon cognitive processing and application. In this regard, critical literacy complements the cognitive learning process.

Critical literacy is the ability to actively read a text that promotes an understanding of social concepts and human relationships. Critical literacy enhances student understanding by providing him or her with opportunities to explore texts from different perspectives and to make meaningful transactions with the text (Rosenblatt, 1978). These interactions, in turn, are the basis of transactional theory, the study of how reading comprehension is influenced by schema, culture, and society. Through this lens, student meaning is constructed.

My coursework uses critical literacy and cognitive processing to highlight and enhance student transactional opportunities to explore multiple meanings contained within reading selections. My teaching builds upon cognitive processing by incorporating critical literacy topics within the course to offer pre- and in-service teachers with opportunities to explore texts from a critical perspective (Freire, 1998). Through this process, students learn that language is never neutral and they develop their own methods for selecting text titles, genres, authors, and subject matter to enhance inclusivity.

Research Interests

My research interests focus upon praxis, the “reflection and action upon the world order in order to transform it” (Freire, 1972 p. 33).  This research investigates (1) core reading programs, (2) children's literature, (3) the use of critical literacy, (4) mindfulness in education, and (5) best practices in teacher education. Much of my research focuses on the role of teaching to strengthen communities.


  • Reisboard, D. (2015). Promoting equity and inclusion with critical literacy pedagogy. Workshop presentation at the European Conference on Literacy, Klagenfurt, Austria.
  • Reisboard, D., & Jay, A. B. (2013). Teachers’ perceptions: Transitioning from teacher selected materials to implementing a core reading program. E- Journal of Balanced Reading Instruction, 1(2), 24–39.
  • Jay, A. B., & Korin, D. R. (2011). The parent’s academy: Fostering family literacy through a school-university partnership. Pennsylvania Reads: Journal of the Keystone State Reading Association, 10(1), 50–55.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

International Literacy Association (ILA), Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (ALER), Literacy Research Association (LRA), Character Education Partnership


  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University, Research and presentation with UG students, 2015-2016
  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University, Writing Workshop Teachers College, 2014-2015
  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University, Assessment materials, 2015-2016