Furman Education Professor Katie Kelly co-authors new book

Furman Associate Professor of Education Katie Kelly

Furman Associate Professor of Education Katie Kelly has published a new book with co-author Lester Laminack, consultant and professor emeritus at Western Carolina University.

The book, “Reading to Make a Difference: Using Literature to Help Students Speak Freely, Think Deeply, and Take Action,” is published by Heinemann.


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In the book, the authors build on the work of Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University Rudine Sims Bishop, extending the notion of books as windows, mirrors and doors. Kelly and Laminack offer a pathway that can lead students to take action for social justice causes. They show teachers how to move beyond exposing students to diverse children’s literature by offering an instructional framework that is applicable to any topic and adaptable to any classroom or community.

Each chapter highlights different classrooms in action and concludes with a wealth of suggested resources, both picture books and chapter books, along with guidelines on how to choose text sets that reflect the needs, interests and backgrounds of students.

Kelly joined the Furman Department of Education in 2012 and coordinates the university’s graduate program in literacy. She has authored numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals including The Reading Teacher, Literacy Research and Instruction, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, and Journal of Language and Literacy Education.

She co-authored her first book with Karen Wood and Bruce Taylor, “Smuggling Writing: Strategies That Get Students to Write Every Day, in Every Content Area, Grades 3–12” (Corwin, 2015). Her second book, “From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools for Transforming K-6 Literacy Practices,” was co-authored by Lindsay Yearta and published by Solution Tree in 2016.

Kelly is the co-editor for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Early Childhood Education Assembly’s journal, Provocations and Perspectives, and is a reviewer for NCTE’s journal, Voices From the Middle, the Georgia Journal of Reading, and The Journal of Teacher Action Research.

Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the State University of New York at Cortland. She holds a master’s in reading education and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in urban literacy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Learn more about Reading to Make a Difference. Or for more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107, and vince.moore@furman.edu.