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Scholars at Work: Kathleen Howe: Home

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About Scholars @ Work

Scholars @ Work is an initiative from the Faculty Center for Innovation designed to showcase the incredible and innovative research and scholarship from Park faculty members around the world. In addition to faculty profiles, Scholars @ Work hosts an annual fall reception and a roundtable panel discussion every semester giving faculty across disciplines an opportunity to collaboratively discuss a topic of timely importance to the University. For more information on Scholars @ Work, visit our web page!

Dr. Kathleen Howe

Associate Professor of Literacy Education

Parkville Campus, CMB #4
(816) 945-9881

Scholarship Highlights

Kathleen's impressive career has included published scholarship on a wide variety of topics. Browse selected highlights from her scholarship, and view her full CV here.

Howe, K. S. & Roop, T. D. (2023). Opening the circle to support dyslexia policy success: Learning from the voices of literacy teacher educators. Literacy Practice and Research, 48(2), 1-72.

An authoritative discourse surrounds the current dyslexia legislation and science of reading movement that largely silenced literacy teacher educators’ voices and participation in this important policy initiative. This study was designed to include the voices of literacy teacher educators from four Midwestern states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska). The study was conducted across two phases. This article focuses on Phase II, which involved one-on-one interviews with participants. The interview responses were qualitatively analyzed using a priori and inductive analysis. Three major themes emerged that inform how literacy teacher educators negotiated sense-making of a historically confusing construct (dyslexia) and related policy initiative.

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Howe, K. S., & Roop, T. D. (2021). Missing pieces and voices: Steps for teachers to engage in science of reading policy and practice. Michigan Reading Journal, 54(1), 28-34.

The current wave of dyslexia legislation backed by the science of reading is the latest literacy policy added to a decades-long list. Teachers, whose voices were largely excluded, are key stakeholders in any literacy policy initiative and are well-suited to inform policymakers about the complexities of teaching readers who struggle, including those diagnosed with dyslexia. This article previews the implications of legislation that narrowly focuses on “science” and disregards unique individual reader profiles. This article encourages teachers to get involved with policy that impacts their practices and provides suggestions to ensure their voices are included in this and future initiatives.

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About Kathleen

Dr. Kathleen Howe is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the School of Education at Park University. She is located at the Parkville, Missouri campus in the College of Education & Health Professions.

Kathleen received her bachelor's degree in English at the University of Kansas and M.A. in English at Middlebury College. She earned her teaching certification from Ottawa University. In addition, she received her M.A. in Reading Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and later her Ed.S. in Educational Administration & Policy at the University of Georgia. Her doctoral degree is in Curriculum & Teaching, with a major in Reading and a minor in Special Education, from the University of Kansas. 

Prior to joining Park’s faculty, Kathleen served in K-12 public education for 20+ years in roles ranging from reading specialist to deputy superintendent in a large, diverse, urban district in the Atlanta Metro. She begins her 7th year teaching at Park University at the start of the 23-24 academic year. In addition, Kathleen coordinates the MED program in Language and Literacy that has pathways leading to certification in special reading and ELL and is the Director of the Watson Literacy Center.

Her research interests focus on matters relevant to literacy teacher education, professional learning, and education policy issues. She is a member of the International Literacy Association (ILA), Missouri Literacy Association (MLA), Kansas City Literacy Association, Literacy Research Association (LRA), Association of Literacy Educators & Researchers (ALER), and Society for Information and Technology and Teachers (SITE). She serves on the Board of the Missouri Literacy Association and is the Board President-Elect for the Organization of Teacher Educators and the Children’s Literature/Reading - both special interest groups of ILA.

For pleasure, Kathleen loves reading a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, giving books as gifts to family and friends, and travelling anywhere that has a beach or mountain where she and her husband can take long hikes before finding and enjoying local cuisine that they cannot make themselves or find in the Midwest.

Wise words from Kathleen

"'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird,' by Anne Lamott is my favorite quote relevant to how I tackle research and writing. I cannot count how many times I have said these same words to myself or to a student to make the impossible seem doable and start moving forward."

Howe, K. S., & Roop, T. D. (2022). (Re)defining the ABC’s of misinformation – What literacy teacher educators and K-12 teachers need to know about dyslexia and the dyslexia debate. Emporia State Research Studies 53(1), 33-43.

Dyslexia legislation has spread across the United States in recent years. Literacy teacher educators and K-12 teachers were largely excluded in efforts to bring about these laws. Dyslexia advocates--parents, professional associations, and companies, crafted a narrative that is not in sync with the larger body of literacy research, aiming to influence the nature of teacher preparation and K-12 instruction. The authors present an overview of legislation and seek to clarify key terms across the dyslexia debate to inform K-12 teachers and teacher educators beyond what is shared by advocates, while ensuring all students, not just those identified as at-risk or as having dyslexia, learn to read. 

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Scholar Spotlight

Roop, T. D., & Howe, K. S. (2022). Teacher educators’ beliefs, self-efficacy, and perceptions related to dyslexia: Phase I. Literacy Practice and Research, 47(3), 1-25.

Educators are often blamed by dyslexia organizations and advocates for failing to provide appropriate reading instruction for students, including the identification and instruction of student with dyslexia. As a results, states are responding with legislation for how reading should be taught. This study focuses on including the voices of teacher educators, who largely were not included in the process of informing legislation. It sought to understand their: (a) beliefs about dyslexia; (b) self-efficacy for working with students with dyslexia and other reading challenges; and (c) perceptions about their programs and dyslexia legislation.

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Roop, T. D., & Howe, K. S. (2021). Using the active view of reading to inform RtI and diverse reader profiles. The Oklahoma Reader, 57(2), 8-20.

Diverse learner profiles exist for students who experience challenges learning to read. Students vary in their unique characteristics and require tailored targeted intervention and teachers who are equipped to assess and design instruction that meets their individual needs. This reality calls for a more complete model such as the Active View of Reading (AVR) proposed by Duke & Cartwright (2021), versus a more limited one such as the Simple View of Reading (SVR; Gough & Tunmer, 1986). Yet, the SVR (Gough & Tunmer, 1986) is included in recent dyslexia legislation and drives teachers’ understanding of literacy assessment and instruction for diverse learners.

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