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Education department blogs land on list of most read in 2020

Katie Kelly
Furman Associate Professor of Education Katie Kelly.

Pieces written by Furman Associate Professor of Education Katie Kelly and adjunct education instructor Marie Havran M’12 landed on the International Literacy Association’s list of The Top 10 Most Read Literacy Now Blog Posts of 2020.

“It’s quite humbling. The International Literacy Association is one of the leading organizations in the field of literacy education in this country and the world,” Kelly said. “They have quite a wide readership.”

Kelly’s blog, “Meaningful Remote Learning and Literacy Practices During COVID-19,” offers tips and resources for effective remote learning and sprang from a realization that educators at all levels needed help, and needed help quickly, when students were sent home from schools in late March in response to the pandemic.

“Everybody’s worlds just immediately sort of imploded, and especially families with children. Teachers had to really find a new way to reenvision what teaching and learning look like,” Kelly said. “I wanted to be able to share a little bit of my knowledge and expertise in the field of digital literacy and the latest technology to support learning to hopefully reach a wider audience of folks who were thinking, ‘Man, I have no idea what to do here.’”

In “Encouraging Independent Reading Remotely in the COVID-19 Era,” Havran outlines multiple ways to prompt students to read independently, including hosting a book show-and-tell, establishing online book clubs and leading by example.

“The blogs are able to reach a wider audience,” Kelly said. “They can be shared across social media platforms, and the other nice thing about the blogs is they’re not intense research pieces. It’s really practitioner-based.”

Every blog that made the list addresses how educators can support children and families in both remote and hybrid settings, which Kelly said isn’t surprising. Despite unprecedented challenges, teachers have been determined to deliver quality instruction.

“Another really important point I wanted to make in my writing is that we have to make sure that we maintain our integrity and our responsibility to making sure children are engaged in meaningful and authentic learning experiences,” she said. “So even though we are all having to shift everything during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean just let’s just find any online program to throw kids on where they’re just kind of clicking through.”

Kelly added that while nobody likes the disruption caused by the pandemic, the challenge has proven stimulating in some ways.

“Teaching remotely really forced me to rethink how I do things and what engaged learning looks like when you’re sitting behind the screen,” she said. “I feel a sense of renewal and have been really thinking about what matters.”

The complete top-10 list of blog posts can be read here.

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