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UWRF professor to attend world reading congress

April 8, 2010

UW-River Falls professor of education Margaret Phinney will be attending the next World Congress of the International Reading Association, July 12-15, in Auckland, New Zealand.

The theme for the conference will be “Leading & Learning in Literacy.”

The College of Education and Professional Studies named Phinney thew 2001-02 Outstanding Faculty Member.

She was selected from a number of highly qualified candidates for her contributions in teaching, service and scholarship. This came after Phinney had only been at the University since August 1999.

The nominating committee determined that she excelled in all three areas.

“I nominated Margaret Phinney for this award in recognition of her dedication and enthusiasm for her work, her vision in reorganizing the undergraduate and graduate reading programs at UWRF, her ability to work as a leader as well as a team player with her colleagues and the evidence of her respect and support for her students,” said the colleague who nominated her.

With regard to her teaching, the committee said that faculty and students commented on her authentic enthusiasm for both the subject and her students.

“She is extremely knowledgeable, prepared and concise, and models the kind of teaching she expects of pre-service teachers,” they said. “Her reflective statement on teaching is truly inspiring.”

Phinney joined the University in August 1999 as a professor and director for the master’s program in reading in the department of teacher education.

She has published a number of professional books and children’s stories; the most recent of which are “City Visit,” to be published this spring by Mondo Publishing, and “Loose Tooth,” published in 2000 by Lee and Low Publishers.

Since 1956, the International Reading Associaition (IRA) has been a nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions committed to worldwide literacy.

According to the IRA’s Web site, the association is more than 70,000 members strong.

The association supports literacy professionals through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism and professional development activities.

“Our members promote high levels of literacy for all by: improving the quality of reading instruction, disseminating research and information about reading, and encouraging the lifetime reading habit.”

Locally, nationally, and worldwide, the IRA advocates for policy, curriculum, and education reform that support the best interests of teachers and learners.

The IRA’s international initiatives encourage communication and collaboration among professionals across national boundaries.

The Association’s awards program includes honors for teaching, service to the profession, research, media coverage of reading and authorship of children’s books.

Grants support professional development, graduate studies and research.

The IRA has reached out to educators directly through a network of councils and affiliates.

These organizations extend our community to more than 300,000 reading professionals in 99 countries.

Special interest groups are available for those interested in specific topics in reading education, and Alpha Upsilon Alpha Honor Society chapters support education students preparing to enter the profession.