Melanie Debra Koss, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Literacy Education

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago 2008
  • M.A., The Ohio State University 1997
  • B.S., Skidmore College 1995

Research Interests

Koss teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in children’s literature, young adult literature, issues of diversity in children’s literature, language arts, and content area reading. Her research interests include looking at representations of diversity in contemporary and award-winning children’s and young adult books, examining identity in readers through examination of young adult literature, ways of using literature with English Language Learners, and using literature with STEM

Recent Publications

  • Koss, M. D., & Daniel, M. C. (in press). Valuing the lives and experiences of English learners: Widening the landscape of children’s literature. TESOL Journal. doi.10.1002/tesj.336
  • Koss, M. D., Johnson, N. J., & Martinez, M. (2018). Mapping the diversity in Caldecott books from 1938-2017: The changing topography. Journal of Children’s Literature, 44(1), 4-20.
  • Johnson, N. J., Koss, M. D., & Martinez, M. (2018). Through the sliding glass door: #EmpowerTheReader. The Reading Teacher, 71(5), 569-571. doi:10.1002/trtr.1659
  • Koss, M. D., & Williams, C. A. (2018). All American Boys, #BlackLivesMatter, and Socratic Seminar to promote productive dialogue in the classroom. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 46(2), 3-15.
  • Koss, M. D., Martinez, M., & Johnson, N. J. (2017). Where are the Latinxs?: Diversity
  • in Caldecott winner and honor books. Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, 33(5), 50-62.
  • Koss, M.D., & Daniel, M.C. (2017). Culturally relevant literature for multilingual classrooms. In M. Daniel (Ed.), English learners at the top of the class: Reading and writing for authentic purposes. (pp. 15-30). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Koss, M.D. (2017). The influence of the Internet and social media on teens’ engagement with young adult literature. In J.A. Hayn & J.S. Kaplan (Eds.), Teaching young adult literature today: Insights, considerations, and perspectives for the classroom teacher (2nd). (pp. 293-312). Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Koss, M.D., & Johnson, D. (2017). Diversity 2.0: Advocating for more than just diverse faces. Journal of Children’s Literature Online. Retrieved from http://childrensliteratureassembly.org/docs/JCL_Spring2017_CLAWorkshop-v3.pdf
  • Martinez, M., Koss, M. D., Johnson, N. J. (2016). Meeting characters in Caldecotts: What does this mean for today’s readers? The Reading Teacher, 70(1), 19-28. doi:1002/trtr.1464
  • Daniel, M.C., & Koss, M.D. (2016). Exploring perceptions of gender roles in English language teaching. In C. Hastings & L. Jacob (Eds.), Social justice in English language teaching. (pp. 187-198.). Annapolis Junction, MD: TESOL Press.
  • Koss, M.D., & Wilson, N.S. (2016). Who I was, who I am, who I want to be: An analysis of emotional survival in Wintergirlsby Laurie Halse Anderson and Identical by Ellen Hopkins. In D.G. Clark & L. Salem (Eds.), Frontiers in American children’s literature (pp. 47-61). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Johnson, D., & Koss, M.D. (2016). Diversity in children’s literature: One year later. Journal of Children’s Literature, 42(1), 53-56.
  • Koss, M. D. (2015). Diversity in contemporary picturebooks: A content analysis. Journal of Children’s Literature, 41(1), 32-42.
  • Koss, M. D. (2015). We need a voice: A high school book club explores societal commentary in young adult novels with critical technological and societal themes. Signal Journal, 38(2), 38-43.
  • Koss, M.D. (2015). The case for young adult literature: Using narrative in the EL classroom. In M. Daniel &. K. Mokhtari (Eds.), Research based instruction that makes a difference in English learners’ success (pp. 63-72). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Koss, M. D., & Tucker-Raymond, E. (2014). Construction and depiction of identity in young adult novels with digital communication technologies. The ALAN Review 41(2), 34-43.
  • Carger, C. L., & Koss, M. D. (2014). Getting to know you: Using alphabet books to develop vocabulary and exchange cultural information with English language learners. Illinois Reading Council Journal 42(4), 11-18.
  • Koss, M.D., & Tucker-Raymond, E. (2014). Construction and depiction of identity in young adult novels with digital communication technologies. The ALAN Review 41(2), 34-43.
  • Wilson, N.S., & Koss, M.D. (2014). Text complexity of popular middle grade texts: How do popular middle grades texts stack up to CCSS standards? AMLE Magazine 2(1), 28-31.
  • Wilson, N.S., & Koss, M.D. (2013). Is there a middle grades canon?  A survey methodology. 2012 American Reading Forum Yearbook.

Recent Presentations

  • Koss, M.D. (2018, March). Diversity in children’s and YA books: Why we need to share diverse books with students. Kane County Institute Day. Elgin, IL. (Invited Keynote Speaker/Workshop Coordinator)
  • Anderson, L.H., Brockenbrough, M., & Koss, M.D. (2017, November). Searching history: Asking tough questions, seeking hidden answers, and finding authentic voices. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, St. Louis, MO.
  • Koss, M.D. (2017, November). Who is represented? A content analysis of diversity in Newbery-winning novels. Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.
  • Williams, C.A., & Koss, M.D. (2017, November). Engaging culturally diverse struggling readers in postsecondary settings: Using the Hot Seat strategy and The Hate U Give as a springboard to promote reading comprehension. Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.
  • Williams, C.A., & Koss, M.D. (2017, November). Using The Hate U Give to Promote Sustainable Literacy Habits with Secondary Inner-City Students. Focus on Illinois Education Research Symposium, Naperville, IL.
  • Rao, A., Olson, J., & Koss, M.D. (2017, October). Equipping teacher candidates for the edTPA: Perspectives of teacher preparation program supports. Mid-Western Educational Research Association, Evanston, IL.
  • Koss, M.D. (2017, October). Meeting characters in Newbery-winning books: What does this mean for today’s readers? Illinois Reading Council Conference, Peoria, IL.
  • Koss, M.D., & Williams, C.A. (2017, October). Teachers as agents of change: Using All American Boys to inspire advocacy and action. Illinois Reading Council Conference, Peoria, IL.
  • Koss, M.D., & Johnson, D. (2017, May). A history of diversity in Newbery winner books: Changes over time. 28th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association. Boston, MA.
  • Martinez, M., Koss, M.D., & Johnson, N.J. (2017, March). A content analysis of diversity in Caldecott winner and honor books across the decades. National Latino Children’s Literature Conference. San Antonio, TX.
  • Hadi-Tabbasum, S., & Koss, M.D. (2016, December). Bilingual children’s literature: Looking at visual and print literacy. Illinois Association for Multilingual and Multicultural Education, Oakbrook, IL.
  • Koss, M.D. (2016, November/December). Who is represented: Have depictions of diversity in Newbery winner books changed over time? The 66th Annual Convention of the Literacy Research Association, Nashville, TN.
  • Koss, M.D., Martinez, M., & Johnson, N.J. (2016, November/December). A content analysis of diversity in Caldecott winner and honor books across the decades. The 66th Annual Convention of the Literacy Research Association, Nashville, TN.
  • Koss, M.D. (2016, November). A history of diversity in Newbery medal books. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, GA.
  • Koss, M.D., Martinez, M., & Johnson, N.J. (2016, November). Meeting characters in Caldecott books: What does this mean for today’s readers? The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, GA.
  • Koss, M.D., O’Neal, S., & Johnson, D. (2016, November). Diversity 2.0: Advocating for more than just diverse faces. Children’s Literature Assembly Workshop at The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, GA. Koss, M.D., O’Neal, S., & Johnson, D. (2016, November). Diversity 2.0: Continuing the conversation. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, GA.
  • Reeves, T., Rao, A., Olson, J., & Koss, M.D. (2016, October). Potential and plausible threats to the validity of the edTPA: Views of pre-service elementary teachers. Mid-Western Educational Research Association, Evanston, IL.
  • Wakefield, D.S., & Koss, M.D. (2016, September). Using book apps to promote classroom literacy. Illinois Reading Council Conference, Peoria, IL.
  • Johnson, D., & Koss, M.D. (2015, November). Diversity in children’s literature: One year later. Children’s Literature Assembly Workshop at The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Koss, M.D., Johnson, N.J., & Martinez, M. (2015, November). A history of diversity in Caldecott medal and honor books. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Koss, M.D. (2015, November). Diversity in contemporary picture books: A content analysis. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Koss, M.D. (2015, October). Diversity in contemporary picture books: What is available and how do we include diverse books in our classrooms? Illinois Reading Council Conference, Peoria, IL.
  • Koss, M. D. (2014, November). Current trends in picture books: A content analysis. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. Washington, D.C.
  • Koss, M. D., & Wakefield, D. S. (2014, October). Evaluating children’s book apps for use in educational settings. The Illinois Reading Conference. Springfield, IL.
  • Koss, M. D. & Wilson, N. S. (2014, April). Text complexity, the Common Core State Standards, and the texts teachers use in the middle grades. The 59th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, New Orleans, LA.
  • Wilson, N. S., & Koss, M. D. (2013, December). Text complexity, the CCSS, and the texts teachers use in the middle grades. 2013 Annual Conference of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel Island, FL.
  • Koss, M. D., & Werderich, D.E. (2013, November). Chester’s Masterpiece: Using a picture book as a mentor text for middle school writers to explore the writing process and develop the trait of voice. The Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English. Boston, MA.
  • Wilson, N. S., & Koss, M. D. (2013, November). Understanding text complexity of the Common Core State Standards. Annual Conference for Middle Level Education, Association for Middle Level Education. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Koss, M. D., & Carger, C. L. (2013, April). Beyond letters: Using high-quality themed ABC picture books to teach cultural connections, vocabulary development, and comprehensible content-area instruction to ELLs linking to Common Core standards. The 58th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, San Antonio, TX.
  • Wilson, N. S., & Koss, M. D. (2013, April). Evaluating the middle grades canon. The 58th Annual Convention of the International Reading Association, San Antonio, TX.

Courses Taught

  • LTLA 341 Language Arts in the Elementary School
  • LTLA 361: Literature for the Young Child
  • LTLA 362: Children’s Literature in a Multicultural World
  • LTLA 539: Issues of Diversity in Children’s Literature
  • LTLA 541: Teaching Young Adult Literature
  • LTLA 544: Exploring Children’s Literature
  • LTLA 590: Workshop in Literacy Education
  • LTRE 311: Content Area Literacy Instruction

Award Recipient

  • 2013 Alyce Kramer Marcus Outstanding Educator Award Winner

Professional Committees

  • The Odyssey Award Committee 2018-2019
  • The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Committee (Chair) 2016-2017
  • Children’s Literature Assembly (CLA) Board Member 2015-2017; Workshop Co-Chair 2015-2016
  • Literacy in Learning Exchange – National Council of Teachers of English 2015-2017
  • Collaboration and Capacity Building Curation Team – National Council of Teachers of English 2014-2017
  • ALA/GLBT/SRRT Rainbow List Committee 2013-2015
  • The YALSA National Guidelines Oversight Committee 2013-Present
  • The Randolph Caldecott Award Committee 2013
  • International Reading Association's Position Statement Committee 2012-2013
  • International Reading Association Research Division Elva Knight Research Grant Judge 2013, 2015, 2017
  • The William C. Morris YA Debut Award Committee 2010.
  • Children’s Literature and Reading (CL/R) Board Member 2009-2016
  • The ALAN Award Committee 2008 – 2009 (Chair 2009)
  • President – Illinois Language and Literacy Council of the Illinois Reading Association, October 2009-October 2010

Melanie Koss

Contact

815-753-9260
mkoss@niu.edu
Gabel Hall 130A

Contact Us

Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Gabel Hall 147
815-753-8556
815-753-8563 (fax)
CIDepartment@niu.edu 

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