Dr. Peggy Semingson's Website



About Me

Research Profile


Blog : Literacy Update




I am currently an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Arlington in the College of Education and Health Professions where I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Literacy Studies.


This web page is designed to share information about my research, courses I teach, and links and resources that relate to advocacy.


My Literacy History


Teaching Experience


Teaching Philosophy


Current Courses Taught




Links and Resources


Teaching Certifications

Peggy Semingson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,

Literacy Studies
College of Education,

Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction

University of Texas

at Arlington


cell: 817-526-0927
Email: peggys@uta.edu or peggysemingson@yahoo.com
Office: 413 Hammond Hall

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Jeanne S. Chall Research Grant at Harvard University



 YouTube Channel



For classroom teachers!:


Children's Book List and

K-8 Lesson Plan Database on literacy and Sustainability





  1. LIST 4374: LIST 4374  Literacy Learning in the Elementary School: Literature and Language

  2. LIST 5373 - Foundations of Literacy Learning in the Primary Grades



Research focus:

Social and historical contexts of  students

who face challenges in reading

I am interested in the concept of social-collaborative literacy learning models (Rogoff, 1991; Gregory, 2001) and studying literacy sponsors, social supports, and networks in the community (Brandt, 2001). These supports include instructional strategies in the classroom as well as the broader socio-contextual supports of meaningful and ongoing community and family involvement.  

I am also examine the historical contexts of literacy learning for students who face challenges in reading , e.g., the work of seminal scholars like Jeanne Chall.


Current Research Projects as Principal investigator

Spreading the ‘Wealth of Knowledge’: Personal Narratives of Literacy Sponsors

This research examines the broader role that literacy sponsors-- individuals who lead and organize adult basic literacy and ESL programs--play and the impact that their efforts and views have on the people they serve (Brandt, 2001).  The literacy sponsors in this study are individuals who lead and organize adult basic literacy programs in a major city located in the Southwest. This study is an extension of the pilot study below.

We use a narrative approach to examine the ways in which literacy sponsors in community-based literacy programs are attempting to meet the literacy needs of their local population and how the literacy sponsors’ personal experiences, views, and beliefs guide their own roles in and their goals for the program. 

These four research questions will guide this study: 1) What benefits does the program bring to the adult literacy learners?  2) What challenges do the literacy sponsors report facing both within the organization and within the larger geographical region and community they serve? 3) What curricular supports are available within the adult literacy program and how do the literacy sponsors use them? 4) How do the literacy sponsors who lead and organize adult basic literacy programs see their role in the program and in what ways do their personal experiences and beliefs influence their goals, methods, agenda(s), and curricula used in the program?

Historical Contexts of Literacy Learning: Manuscript in Progress

This manuscript began as part of my work as a visiting scholar funded by the Jeanne S. Chall Research Grant at Harvard University.

Changing The Great Debate: Chall's Evolving Philosophy Across Editions

The late Jeanne Chall was a distinguished literacy scholar who ignited a lasting conversation about methods of teaching beginning readers in her seminal text Learning to Read: The Great Debate. Through multiple editions of the text she revised her ideas from the original 1967 first edition through the most recent edition. In the later editions, Chall also reflected on the impact her work made on policy and instruction. In this paper, I trace the prominent ideas that remained the same and what changed through these three editions, synthesize Chall’s reflection on the impact her work made on instruction and policy, and make connections from The Great Debate to current trends in the framing  of the debate since the publication of the third edition (1996).


Education Experience


Prior to my academic career:

  • I taught elementary school and was a reading specialist for a total of eight years in Southern California and Central Texas.


  • I taught bilingual education and ESL in both urban and rural settings (all Title 1 schools).