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Deborah Wooten

Deborah A. Wooten, PhD

Professor Emerita (Retired 2021), Literacy Education


Professor Deborah A. Wooten was a Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee. Before joining the university faculty in 2002, she taught elementary school for 23 years. Her résumé includes teaching experience ranging from rural schools of Mississippi and to urban classrooms of New York City. After earning her PhD at New York University, she spent 10 years in the elementary classroom researching practical new methods of using children’s literature to foster connections across curriculum boundaries while scaffolding students to think metacognitively. The results are published in her book Valued Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching and Learning.


Professional Background


Wooten’s research agenda focuses on using high-quality children’s literature to teach comprehension and higher-order thinking skills as well motivating and engaging students to read and want to read. The Children’s Literature that is studied and implemented in the classroom includes authentic diverse voices and situations that need to be heard by our students. In addition, Wooten reviews numerous books each year to identify trends in Children’s Literature publications


Doctor of Philosophy, Elementary Education, New York University College of Education 

Educational Specialist, Elementary Education, William Carey College, Hattiesburg MS

Master of Arts, Elementary Education (K-8), William Carey College, Hattiesburg MS

Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education (K-8), Mississippi College, Clinton MS

Writing Project, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1990-1992

Project ALERT (Acquiring Language Enhances Reading/Writing & Thinking), New York University and District 2 New York City Schools, 1989-1991

Oxford University, New York University Literacy Study Abroad Program, 1989

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Service

Wooten is currently serving as a board member for the following professional organizations: Children’s Literature Assembly (CLA), United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), and Children’s Literature/Reading SIG (CL/R). She is also the co-director for the Center of Children’s and Young Adult Literature. In addition, she is a former committee member for the Outstanding International Book Honor List and Notable Books for a Global Society Award.

Deborah Wooten