Professor, Literacy Education
She was co-principal investigator on several OSERS funded classroom observation projects at Albany and a Center for Women in Government Policy Fellow at the New York State Legislature.
McGill-Franzen was director or co-director of several projects funded within the OERI National Research Center for English Learning and Achievement (CELA). She is currently a co-principal investigator of an OERI longitudinal study of interventions to mediate the summer achievement gap in high-poverty schools, with particular attention to children in the intermediate grades who are likely to be retained.
Besides her work with struggling learners,McGill-Franzen is interested in exploring ways to use community knowledge to create meaning and purpose in school literacy curricula as well as ways to make parents more aware of the expectations that schools have for entering children and how to develop such competencies. She is collaborating with teachers to develop replicable instructional strategies that build print concepts and phonemic awareness within a framework of literature and familiar cultural knowledge. At the present time, she is project director for the THEC Teacher Quality grant, a program to build school capacity by developing teachers’ expertise in early literacy. The project is a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Knox County Schools that includes professional study and teacher-to-teacher collaboration and small group instruction of young children who are behind their peers.
McGill-Franzen’s research with low-achieving children has been published in many journals including The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, Reading Research Quarterly, Educational Researcher, Learning Disabilities Quarterly, Elementary School Journal, and Journal of Educational Research. She was recipient of the International Reading Association Nila Banton Smith Award to disseminate the results of a longitudinal study of the development of literacy in children from four to seven years old and was co-recipient of the IRA Albert J. Harris Award for research published in the field of reading disabilities. McGill-Franzen is the 2004 recipient of the IRA Dina Feitelson Award honoring an empirical study of language and literacy acquisition with clear implications for instruction. The study, “Learning to be literate: A comparison of 5 urban preschool programs,” was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology. She serves on the board of directors of the National Reading Conference, a professional association of literacy researchers, and is a member of the Joint International Reading Association/National Institute of Child Health & Development Committee on Early Childhood Education. In addition, she is a technical consultant for the UNESCO-funded project on the diagnostic teaching of reading in Kenya, Ghana, and Tanzania.