Dr. Kathleen McGrath, an assistant professor of education at Niagara University, recently received the Service to Reading Award from the Niagara Frontier Reading Council, a local affiliate of the International Reading Association.
The honor is given to “a person involved in literacy education who has made a significant contribution to promoting literacy in the community.”
Dr. McGrath was presented with the award during the council’s spring conference, which was held at Niagara University on March 16.
“We are so pleased that Kathleen’s passion for increasing literacy awareness in the Western New York community is being acknowledged,” commented Dr. Debra Colley, dean of NU’s accredited College of Education. “By coordinating the programs in our Family Literacy Center, she has impacted many populations, enabling teacher candidates to be the best literacy teachers they can be, as well as sharing the love of reading with students and families.”
Dr. McGrath joined the Niagara University faculty in the fall of 2010. She teaches in the College of Education’s master’s program in literacy instruction and oversees the Family Literacy Center, which offers diagnostic and intervention services to struggling readers of varying ages. According to Dr. Colley, Dr. McGrath has gone above and beyond her role as an instructor to ensure that programs in the Family Literacy Center are well-designed, managed by prepared teacher candidates, and beneficial to the children and families served. Her organizational skills and knowledge of literacy content and pedagogy are invaluable to the success of increasing awareness of literacy in our community through this venue.
Similarly, Dr. McGrath recently designed a professional development project in which pre-service teachers, under her supervision, planned and organized a family literacy event in several Niagara County schools. This project was developed in light of the challenge for teacher candidates to meet the requirements of the International Reading Association’s standard for leadership in professional development.
As Dr. McGrath noted, the project enabled “candidates to have critical leadership experiences in working collaboratively with families, to celebrate literacy and share easy, fun ways that literacy activities can be incorporated into family life.”
Outside of the university setting, Dr. McGrath regularly provides professional development opportunities for area Catholic Schools. She serves as an advisory board member for St. Peter Roman Catholic School in Lewiston, counseling the school on curricular matters, especially in literacy. She also provides individual literacy evaluations for struggling readers in the community.
For more information about Niagara University’s education programs, visit www.niagara.edu/education or call 716.286.8560.
Niagara Frontier Reading Council
The mission of the Niagara Frontier Reading Council is to promote literacy education, encourage professional development and provide community service that fosters literacy within Western New York. We hope to instill a passion for lifelong learning and to encourage readers to build a vision of the future.