Donna Werderich, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Literacy Education


Curriculum and Instruction


  • Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
  • M.S., Northern Illinois University
  • B.A., Concordia University

Donna E. Werderich is an associate professor of language arts education. Professor Werderich teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language arts, writing methods, and research in writing. She also serves as the coordinator of the B.S.Ed. program in Middle Level Teaching and Learning in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Prior to coming to NIU, she was a former elementary and middle school language arts teacher. She is the co-author of Language arts: Process, product, and assessment for diverse classrooms (6th Ed.), and has published articles in Illinois Reading Council Journal, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Literacy Research and Instruction, Middle School Journal, and The Reading Teacher. She enjoys chocolate, gardening, cooking, attending hockey and football games and curling up with a good book.

Research Interests

  • Language arts education
  • Teaching of writing
  • Teacher education

Selected Publications


Farris, P. J., and Werderich, D. E. (2019). Language arts: Process, product, and assessment for diverse classrooms. (6th Ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Book Chapters

  • Wickens, C.M., Werderich, D.E., Walter, C.S. (in-press). Literacy demands of handbooks of three national youth organizations. In N. Stahl and L.A. Henry (Eds.), Literacy Across the Community: A Handbook of Research and Praxis. To be published by New York:
  • Farris, P. J., Kuhrt, B. L., and Werderich, D. E. (2015). Facilitating learning through strategic instruction in social studies. In P.J. Farris (Ed.). Elementary and middle school social studies: An interdisciplinary multicultural approach. (pp. 189−234). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
  • Werderich, D.E., and Manderino, M. (2014). The multimedia memoir: Leveraging multimodality to facilitate the teaching of narrative writing for preservice teachers. In Ferdig, R. and Pytash, K. (Eds.). Exploring multimodal composition and digital writing (pp. 316-330). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Werderich, D.E. and Olson, M. (2019). Author’s house: Celebrating writing in the writers’ workshop. Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal, 56(1), 3-9).
  • Werderich, D.E., Manderino, M., and Godinez, G. (2017). Leveraging digital mentor texts to write like a digital writer. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 60(5), 537-546 .doi:10.1002/jaal.584.
  • Farris, P.J., Werderich, D.E., and Haling, L. (2016). Facilitating scientific literacy: Strategies to infuse reading and writing. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 44(4), 3-11.
  • Werderich, D.E., Farris, P. A., and McGinty, A. (2014). Biography as mentor: Using texts to teach science and literacy through NGSS and CCSS. Science and Children, 52(2), 66-69.
  • Werderich, D.E., and Armstrong, S.L. (2013). Examining the conceptualizations, preferences, and practices of adolescent writers. Literacy Research and Instruction, 52(4), 339-373.
  • Werderich, D.E., McGinty, A., and Rosenstock, B. (Winter 2013-2014). Biographies in focus: A framework for supporting biography writing in the classroom. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 42(1), 3-12.
  • Werderich, D. E. (2010). Responding to boy readers: A closer look at the role of the teacher in dialogue journals. Middle Grades Research Journal, 5(2), 91−106.
  • Farris, P. J., Werderich, D. E., Nelson, P. A., and Fuhler, C. J. (2009). Male call: Fifth−grade boys’ reading preferences. The Reading Teacher, 63(3), 180−188.
  • Werderich, D.E. (2008). Bringing family and community into the writing curriculum. Middle School Journal, 39(3), 34−39.
  • Werderich, D. E. (2006). The teacher's response process in dialogue journals. Reading Horizons, 47(1), 47−73.
  • Werderich, D. E. (2002). Individualized responses: Using journal letters as a vehicle for differentiated reading instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 45(8), 746−754.

Honors and Awards

  • Illinois Reading Educator of the Year Award, College Category, Illinois Reading Council (2013)
  • Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership, Rockford College (2007)
  • Jerry Johns Literacy Presentation Award, Northern Illinois University Department of Literacy Education (2003)
  • Kappa Delta Pi Member, Kappa Delta Pi. Northern Illinois University (2003)
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Northern Illinois University (2002)
  • Alpha Upsilon Alpha Member, Alpha Upsilon Alpha. Northern Illinois University (2001)

Courses Taught

  • LTLA 341: Language Arts in the Elementary School
  • LTLA 543: Writing in the Elementary School
  • LTLA 760: Seminar in Elementary Education: Language Arts

Donna Werderich


Graham Hall 119A

Contact Us

Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Gabel Hall 147
815-753-8563 (fax) 

Follow Us On