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Donna Werderich, Ed.D.
Acting Chair, Associate Professor, Literacy Education


Curriculum and Instruction


  • Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
  • M.S., Northern Illinois University
  • B.A., Concordia University

Research Interests

  • Professor Werderich teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language arts and writing methods. Her research interests include adolescent literacy, motivation and strategy instruction in writing and teacher education.

Selected Publications

  • Werderich, D.E., McGinty, A., & Rosenstock, B. (In press). Biographies in focus: A framework for supporting biography writing in the classroom. Illinois Reading Council Journal

  • Werderich, D.E., & Manderino, M. (2014). The multimedia memoir: Leveraging multimodality to facilitate the teaching of narrative writing for preservice teachers. In Ferdig, R. & Pytash, K. (Eds.). Exploring multimodal composition and digital writing (pp. 316-330). Hershey, PA: IGI Global

  • Werderich, D.E., & Armstrong, S.L. (2013). Examining the conceptualizations,preferences, and practices of adolescent writers. Literacy Research and Instruction, 52(4), 339-373

  • Farris, P. A., McGinty, A., & Werderich, D. E. (in−press). Turning kids on to science through biographies.Science and Children.

  • Koss, M. J., & Werderich, D. E. (Spring, 2012). Chester’s Masterpiece: Using a picture book as a mentor text for middle school writers to develop the trait of voice. Reading in the Middle, 10−16

  • Koss, M. J. & Werderich, D. E. (Spring, 2012). Picture books as mentor texts for the  middle school grades: A bibliography. Reading in the Middle, 16−17

  • Farris, P.J., & Werderich, D.E. (2011). Language arts: Process, product, and assessment  for diverse classrooms (5th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press

  • Farris, P. J., Kuhrt, B. L., & Werderich, D. E. (2011). Facilitating learning through strategic instruction in social studies. In P.J. Farris (Ed.). Elementary and middle school social studies: An interdisciplinary multicultural approach. (pp. 189−234). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press

  • Werderich, D. E., & L'Allier, S. K. (2011). Merging genre studies with the ideas trait of writing. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 39(3), 14−19

  • Werderich, D.E. (2011, August 21). Interview by Larissa Chinwah State keyboard push
    could cut into cursive writing
    . Daily Herald Newspaper. Retrieved from

  • Werderich, D. E. (2011, July 19). Interview by Bernie Tafoya [Audio recording]. Professor Bemoans Decline of Cursive Writing, WBBM Newsradio 780. Retrieved from−bemoans−decline−of−cursive−writing/

  • Werderich, D. E. (2010). Responding to boy readers: A closer look at the role of the teacher in dialogue journals. Middle Grades Research Journal, 5(2), 91−106

  • Werderich, D. E. (2010). Supporting your teen writer. The NIU Collaborative on Early Adolescence (NIU−CEA) internet resources for parents and educators.

  • Werderich, D.E. (2009). Bringing family and community into the writing curriculum. In
    M. M. Caskey (Ed.), Middle Level Education Research Annual: Connecting with Parents and Families, (pp. 77-84). Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association. (Reprinted from Middle School Journal, 39(3), 34-39)

  • Farris, P.J., Werderich, D.E., Nelson, P.A., & Fuhler, C.J. (2009). Male call: Fifth-grade boys’ reading preferences. The Reading Teacher, 63(3), 180-188

  • Farris, P.J., & Werderich, D.E. (2009). “You gotta hear this one!”: Creating listening  centers to support content area instruction. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 38(1), 15-21

  • Werderich, D. E. (2008). Literacy in a suitcase: What to pack for middle school students. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 36(1), 3−9

  • Werderich, D. E., & Pariza, J. L. (2007). Teaching the love of reading. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 35(2), 22−31

  • Werderich, D. E. (2002). Individualized responses: Using journal letters as a vehicle for differentiated reading instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 45(8), 746−754

Selected Presentations

  • Werderich, D. E., & Carger, C. L. (2012, June). Closing the gap: Reading and writing connections for bilingual learners. Session presented at the 39th Annual NIU College of Education Summer Literacy Conference. Wabonsee Community College, Sugar Grove, IL

  • Werderich, D. E., McGinty, A., Rosenstock, B., & Slade, S. B. (2012, May). Interact with fact: Strategies for extending nonfiction in the classroom and beyond. Symposium presented at the Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, Chicago, IL

  • Werderich, D. E., Wedwick, L, & Farris, P. J.  (2011, December). Mentoring teachers and inviting students into literary conversations: The reader, the text, and the author. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel, FL

  • Werderich, D. E., & Armstrong, S. A. (2011, December). Cross-Level Motivation to Write Profile: A mixed−methods study of writers’ self-perceptions. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Literacy Research Association,  Jacksonville, FL

  • Werderich, D. E. (2011, November). The multi-media memoir: An integration of technology and writing. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Chicago, IL

  • Werderich, D. E. (2010, November). Responding to boy readers: A closer look at the role of the teacher in dialogue journals. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Orlando, FL

  • Werderich, D.E., & Armstrong, S.A. (April, 2010). Affect matters: Writers’ self-perceptions across educational levels. Research poster session presented at IRA’s 55th Annual Convention, Chicago, IL

  • Larson, K., McGinty, A.B., Walker, S., Farris, P.J., Wedwick, L., & Werderich, D.E. (April, 2010). The Reader, the text, and the author: How to invite students into conversations about books. Symposium presented at IRA’s 55th Annual Convention, Chicago, IL

  • Werderich, D. E., & L'Allier, S. K. (2010, September). Enliven students’ writing with joyful reading of mentor texts. Session presented at the Northern Illinois Reading Council Fall Reading Conference, Northern Illinois Reading Council, Malta, IL.

  • Werderich, D. E., & L’Allier, S. K. (March, 2010). Mentor texts help us light the way to powerful writing instruction for grades 4-9. Session presented at Illinois Reading Council Conference, Normal, IL.

  • Werderich, D. E. (2010, April). Terrific tips for teaching the traits. Session presented at the Annual Student Conference of the Illinois Education Association, Champaign, IL

Notable Accomplishments

  • Illinois Reading Educator of the Year Award, College Category, Illinois Reading Council. (2013)

  • International Reading Association's 2010-2011 Local Council Community Service Award Committee

  • Editorial Review Board, Middle Grades Research Journal, 2008-present

  • Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership, Rockford College. (2007)

  • Editorial Review Board, Teacher Education Quarterly

  • Editorial Review Board, Reading Horizons

  • Editorial Review Board, Illinois Reading Council Journal


  • LTLA 341: Language Arts in the Elementary School 

  • LTLA 543: Writing in the Elementary School

  • LTLA 760: Seminar in Elementary Education: Language Arts

Donna Werderich


Graham Hall 119A

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Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Gabel Hall 147
815-753-8563 (fax) 

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