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Dr. Gail Saunders-Smith

Dr. Gail Saunders-SmithAssociate Professor

"Earning a degree is work. As with any job, the most successful people are prepared, on time, diligent, thinkers, innovative, and hard workers. Those traits will make you successful in earning this degree and prepare you for what is next in your career."

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction – The University of Akron, 1994
  • M.S. in Administration & Supervision – Youngstown State University, 1980
  • M.A. in Early Childhood Education – Kent State University, 1977
  • B.S. in Early Childhood Education – Kent State University, 1974

Career Highlights

  • Saunders-Smith, G. (2009) Using nonfiction text structures to improve comprehension. Tampa, Florida: Maupin Press
  • Saunders-Smith, G. (2009) The ultimate small group reading how-to book, 2nd ed. Chicago, Illinois: Corwin Press
  • Saunders-Smith, G. (2003) The ultimate guided reading how-to book. Tucson, Arizona: Corwin Press
  • Published 55 children's books and a number of articles

In which online degree programs do you teach?

M.S.Ed. Teacher Education – Curriculum and Instruction – Literacy

Which classes do you teach online?

TERG 6922: Organizing and Managing Diverse Literacy Environments; TERG 6927: Practicum: Coaching for Effective Literacy Instruction

What do you want students to take away from your classes?

  • Examine the role a teacher plays in influencing student thinking by evaluating the teacher's actions in Clavell's "The Children's Story"
  • Evaluate one's beliefs by completing a self-study addressing the framework offered by Cambourne's "Conditions of Learning." (IRA Standard 1.1, 1.3)
  • Analyze the features (supports, challenges and teaching points—literacy, comprehension, study skills and vocabulary) and purposes of various print, nonprint and technology materials. (IRA Standards 2.2, 2.3, 4.2; OPST 2.1, 4.7, 5.4; NBPTS 1.5, 1.6, 3.2; Conceptual Framework R5B, R7A, R5A, R4B)
  • Recognize, analyze, synthesize and critique the physical and social features observed in various classrooms. (IRA Standard 2.2; OSTP 5.1 - 5.5; NBPTS 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 3.2, 1.6, 3.2, 1.1)
  • Recognize and identify the various types of teacher talk (coaching statements, questions and prompts)
  • Analyze, interpret, synthesize and critique audio tape of a shared, modeled, or interactive writing lesson; or a shared, modeled or guided reading lesson; or a mini lesson for the type and purpose of teacher talk (coaching statements, questions and prompts for inquiry and meta-cognition). (IRA Standards 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, 5.3)
  • Work professionally, honestly and fairly with colleagues and classmates when observing, critiquing and providing feedback. (IRA Standard 5.3; OSTP 6.3, 7.2; NBPTS 5.1, 5.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; Conceptual Framework R6B, R6A, R4B)

What advice would you give to those considering the online M.S.Ed. Teacher Education – Curriculum and Instruction – Literacy program?

Earning a degree is work. As with any job, the most successful people are prepared, on time, diligent, thinkers, innovative, and hard workers. Those traits will make you successful in earning this degree and prepare you for what is next in your career.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that educators face today?

Life is complicated with multiple draws on our time and effort. Finding time to do what is needed is only one of several big challenges teachers and educators face today. Other challenges include a shift in student attitude concerning priorities, with school sliding away in importance, and the sense of entitlement many students assume.

Why did you start teaching?

In my era, options for women were fairly limited—housewife, mother, secretary, teacher—so I became a teacher.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

"The Children's Story" by James Clavell

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

I wanted to be a writer. In my retirement, I hope to earn a degree in writing and editing.

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