New published article: Aligning the Science of Reading with Adaptive Teaching

The role of adaptive teaching in supporting equitable and effective instruction is essential. In this new article, my colleagues and I address the role of adaptive teaching with the debate surrounding the science of reading in Reading Research Quarterly.

The article is featured in a special issue in Reading Research Quarterly. The Science of Reading: Supports, Critiques, and Questions — contains 26 peer-reviewed articles written by a total of 77 authors who represent diverse, innovative, and challenging ideas and perspectives that reframe the science of reading debate. This is the first of two special issues on the topic, with a second issue set for Spring 2021.

The article titled, “Aligning the Science of Reading with Adaptive Teaching,” adds nuance in the discussion of teaching related to the science of reading (SOR). The piece demonstrates that adaptive teaching is a vital characteristic of effective reading teachers and recommend that scholars—those who study reading processes and reading acquisition (i.e., SOR proponents) and those who study effective literacy instruction—work across epistemologies and methodologies to investigate the nuances of these processes in real-world classrooms, particularly in ways that eliminate homogenizing literacy practices.

“The goal of this issue is to highlight how bridging of perspectives via accurate and meaningful information can move us forward,” RRQ editors Amanda Goodwin and Robert Jiménez said. “We [know] much more than was coming out in the discussions taking place. In other words, the science of reading is much broader than what was being used to inform theory, research, policy, and practice.”

Examining Agency in Picture Books

New article! Examining Agency in Children’s Nonfiction Picture Books

Here’s a great piece about how student agency intersects with subjects in nonfiction children’s picture books. You can access the full text via Researchgate / Springer, listed on my researchgate page. One of my favorite things about this research was exploring how picture books can help us understand how agency can be cultivated. This project has made me think about ways to understand agency and to contextualize it for practice.

Teacher Visioning Themed Issue

Themed issue on Visioning in Educational Spaces forthcoming in the Peabody Journal of Education (2021). Please check in on this issue of which I am honored to be the guest editor.

Themed issue on Student Agency in Theory Into Practice

Student agency: Theoretical implications for practice [themed journal issue]. Editor position, Theory Into Practice 59(2).

Please visit this site to read the articles on student agency for a themed issue on student agency for Theory Into Practice. I served as the guest editor for this issue and it was an honor to work with so many talented colleagues to learn about the various perspectives on student agency. You can see it here:

Guided Reading Library Project

The Guided Reading Library is a free, digital collection of published books developed by Margaret Vaughn and created by practicing classroom teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and elementary students. The goal of this project is to support literacy across the Pacific Northwest and other regions that have a high percentage of high poverty districts that lack financial resources to purchase leveled reading books.  A second goal of this project is to model to preservice teachers authentic writing instruction. Currently, I am working with several teachers (some former preservice teachers) who are using the curriculum to have their elementary students publish books and submit to the Guided Reading Library.

To visit the Guided Reading Library, please go here:

Making sense of student agency in the early grades in Phi Delta Kappan

Description: The call for developing student agency is needed now more than ever in schools, and current educational reform efforts would be enhanced if policymakers and administrators would recognize the potential of student agency. By providing educational contexts in which agency can be nurtured, educators create contexts where students are in charge of their learning and imagine alternative possibilities and pathways. Such rich learning spaces can provide generative contexts where students can problem solve, imagine, and create new possibilities. In this article, a conceptual framework of student agency is provided with relevant strategies for educators and researchers.

Vaughn, M. (2018). Making sense of student agency in the early grades. Phi Delta Kappan.99 (7), 62-66.

Adaptive Teaching During Reading Instruction: A Multi-Case Study in Reading Psychology

Adaptive teaching is considered a cornerstone of effective literacy teaching. Research has explored this dynamic aspect of classroom instruction and has found that given recent educational reform efforts implementing adaptive teaching during reading instruction has been particularly difficult. This study examined a yearlong inquiry of teacher adaptability during reading instruction across six classrooms in two school districts in the Pacific Northwest. Guided by theories of social constructivism and teacher metacognition, data analysis occurred in multiple phases to understand teacher adaptations and rationales for adaptations. Analysis yielded specific adaptations during reading instruction consistent with explicit instruction and rationales reflective of students’ instructional needs. Findings contribute to the literature on adaptive teaching.

To access the full article, you can go directly to the Reading Psychology website:

Vaughn, M. (2019). Adaptive teaching during reading instruction: Mutiple case studies of literacy educators. Reading Psychology. (1), 1-33.

First Dual-Language Textbooks Bring Nez Perce Culture to Classroom

Assistant Professor Margaret Vaughn was instrumental in a project that created the Nez Perce Tribe’s first dual-language textbooks for the Lapwai School District. The students themselves helped make them.

Vaughn developed the project with a small cohort of Lapwai teachers, whom she met with monthly during the 2012-13 school year, to help them increase cultural responsiveness in their own teaching. Several of the teachers are recent graduates of the prestigious Wright Fellowship Program for educators working on their master’s degrees in curriculum and
instruction. The lead Lapwai teacher on the project was D’Lisa Pinkham.

Continue Reading…

Adaptive Teaching: Reflective Practice of Literacy Instruction

Adaptive teachers are considered visionary and effective in their teaching. These teachers apply a flexible approach to instruction as they build upon students’ interests and inquiries. However, despite the intuitive and appealing nature of adaptive teaching, there is limited empirical data on teachers’ adaptations and rationales for adapting. Moreover, although adaptive teachers are considered visionary, there is little research that explores teacher visioning in relation to adaptive decisions.

To meet this need, the current study provides an in-depth analysis of two teachers’ instructional visions, adaptations, and rationales for adapting their literacy instruction. Two upper elementary teachers were selected for this study based on teacher and principal recommendations. Classroom observations and interviews were used to gather data; qualitative methods were utilized to analyze the interviews and the field notes. Findings suggest teachers adapted their instruction to scaffold student understanding and to promote instructional tasks to engage and support student learning. Evidence was found for the influence of visioning on instructional adaptations. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.