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.


Ciampa, K., Reisboard, D. (2020).  Redesigning a reading specialist certification program: developing introspective literacy leaders through action research.  Educational Action Research

Reisboard, D. (2017). Discovering read aloud books that develop character and cognition.  PA Reads: Journal of KSRA.  

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.


Professional Affiliations & Memberships

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


2020  Faculty Development Grant (July 2020- July 2021; $1,000) 
2019  Faculty Development Grant (July 2019-July 2020; $1,800) 
2018   Borislow Community-Engaged Faculty Research Fellowship Award: The      effects  of transactional strategy instruction to support urban elementary      students’ comprehension in the 21st century (July 2018-July 2019; $6,000; Role: PI) 
2018   Widener University Faculty Development Grant: undergraduate research assistant (July 2018-July 2019; $400.00; PI).  
2016   Widener University Faculty Development Grant: read alouds that develop character and cognition (July 2016-July2017; $400. Role; PI) 
2015  Faculty Development Grant, Widener University 
2014   International Reading Association May member of the month  
2014   Faculty Development Grant, Widener University 
2004  The Edward Fry Fellowship, Rutgers University, awarded annually to an outstanding doctoral student whose field of concentration is in literacy development

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