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Lacina Selected as Literacy Ambassador

Jan Lacina has been selected as the U.S. ambassador for the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA). Lacina will be one of eight ambassadors serving three-year terms and tasked with supporting the organization’s mission to advance literacy education.

Lacina applied for the appointment as part of a goal to make The Reading Teacher more globally focused and to attract more contributors from around the world. She and Dr. Robin Griffith are co-editors of the publication of the International Literacy Association.

TCU student teacher at Paschal High School

As part of the appointment, Lacina will showcase research from the United States and support membership and initiatives of the UKLA. She will be presenting a research paper, Using Museum Photography to Teach Urban Youth Persuasive Writing at the UKLA 54th International Conference in Cardiff, Wales in July. The paper is based on a writing project she started in 2017, for which she and her students spent time at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

“I’m interested in seeing over time the ways that we can strengthen our understanding and teaching using photography and multimodal forms of literacy,” Lacina said.

Her research examines the ways in which future teachers make decisions about their teaching and their learning throughout the project. She worked with the Amon Carter museum, a docent and retired English teacher, who selected 20 photos for education students to study. Lacina taught her students strategies for teaching writing using photography. Students then taught lessons to ninth graders at Paschal High School. Lacina held focus groups with the TCU students after lessons to discuss their progress and to plan each week’s writing instruction.

“With this project, my students learned how museums can be a resource for the teaching of writing, using photography as a bridge for persuasive writing.” Lacina said. “Each photo related to time, place and a societal conflict, such as environmental issues, race or class.”

The Paschal students also participated in TCU’s Paschal Writing Camp, a 2-day event where they worked with TCU students to develop writing skills. Lacina has coordinated the annual event for more than 10 years.