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The Reading Institute for Academic Preparation @ Cal State Northridge

"Academic literacy is usually defined as the kind of reading proficiency required to construct the meaning of content-area texts and literature encountered in school. It also encompasses the kind of reading proficiencies typically assessed on state-level accountability measures, such as the ability to make inferences from text, to learn new vocabulary from context, to link ideas across texts, and to identify and summarize the most important ideas or content within a text. "
-Joseph K. Torgesen et al. Academic Literacy Instruction for Adolescents. Center on Instruction at Florida State, 2007


RIAP 2009-2010


History of RIAP


Calendar of Events


ELA Standards


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About the Directors and Institute Leasders

Our Directors and Institute Leaders work collaboratively with high-school teachers (in both English and content areas) to enhance academic literacies (reading, writing, language acquisition, and academic habits of mind). In addition, they disseminate information about the Early Assessment Program to schools and help participants develop leadership skills to develop college-going cultures in their schools. A main goal is to help teachers and students know what they need to do to prepare students for university-level work.

Kathleen Dudden Rowlands, Ph.D., Executive Director: Rowlands image A classroom teacher for 20 years, Kathleen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education. She has a doctorate in Composition and has participated in, and led, training sessions for the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) developed by the California State University. She has more than 15 years of experience as Co-director of the Hawai`i Writing Project, and as Director or Co-director of fifteen summer institutes in Hawai`i (Honolulu and Maui), Houston, and American Samoa. This will be Dr. Rowlands fourth year as Director of the RIAP at Northridge. In addition, she is beginning her first year as Director of the CSU Northridge/UCLA Satellite Writing Project.

Mira Pak, Ph.D. Director: Mira Pak image Mira is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at CSUN. With degrees from UCLA and Harvard, Mira's background is in teacher learning, social justice education, and teaching and curriculum. A former classroom teacher (Santa Monica High School) and literacy coach (LAUSD District 7), Mira teaches developing skills at Santa Monica Community College in addition to teaching at CSUN.

Kent Baxter Co- Director and Instructor of Record: Kent Baxter image Department of English Kent's Ph.D. is in English from the University of Southern California, and he is a specialist in Children's and Young Adult Literature, including their use in the primary and secondary school classroom. His publications in these areas include a new book (The Modern Age: Turn-of-the-Century American Culture and the Invention of Adolescence). Kent is the Director of the FYI/JYI (Four-Year Integrated/Junior Year Integrated) Credential Program at CSUN as well as the Director of the English Intern Program. In addition to his adolescent literature courses, Kent teaches professional writing.

Ximena Miller, M.A. Co-Director, Administration: Rowlands image Ximena Miller, a National Board Certified Teacher, former literacy coach, and currently the English Learners' Program Coordinator at Monroe High School, recently returned to the classroom part time. She adds her specialized level of expertise working with ELL students to our program. She assists with miscellaneous administrative issues for the Institute.

Robin Share, M.F.A., Teacher Leader and Literacy Coach at Birmingham High School:Robin Share image Robin has been a LAUSD teacher for over 20 years and for the past 6 years has served as a Secondary Literacy Coach in District 1. She assists new teachers with standards-based curriculum planning, helps teachers at all levels develop lessons that emphasize strengthening literacy skills, and coordinates school-wide initiatives including writing across the curriculum and independent reading programs. Robin earned a BA in American Studies and Theatre Arts from UCSC and a MFA in Theatre from Boston University. For a decade Robin served as Theatre teacher and Performing Arts Department Chair at Van Nuys High School Performing Arts Magnet School and was honored with many awards including a Disney American Teacher Award in 1992. Robin has a certificate in Gifted Education, and has presented on both Gifted and Literacy topics at conferences including California Association for the Gifted, California League of High Schools, and CATE.

Susan Spica, M.A., Teacher Leader and District 1 Literacy Advisor: Susan Spica image Susan Spica has taught English in both middle and high school for over 20 years in LAUSD. She received her B.A. from UCLA and her Master's Degree from CSUN in Educational Leadership. Currently, she is a secondary Literacy Advisor for Local District One in LAUSD. Prior to her advisory position, she was both a literacy coach and mentor teacher for many years. Her job as a literacy advisor enables her to support the local district's secondary schools in instruction, new teacher training, and in professional development. Over the past several years, she has worked extensively in developing reading/writing strategies for content specific literacy. Local District One's continued interest in building a culture of skilled readers and writers in their high schools is supported by the efforts of the RIAP Institute.