Donna Werderich, Ed.D.
Professor, Literacy Education


Curriculum and Instruction


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

Donna E. Werderich is a 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, School—University Partnerships 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:
  • 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

  • Flynn, J., Kahn, E., and Werderich, D.E. (In-press). Introducing Hateful Things: Using Jim Crow memorabilia to address issues of social justice in teacher education. Middle School Journal.
  • Werderich, D.E. and Johnson, J. (2021). Clinical Urban Plunge (CUP): A collaborative approach to promoting the development of responsive middle level educators. School—University Partnerships, 14(1), 71-78
  • 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. (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

  • Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Winner, Blackboard Community. (2022)
  • Certificate of Excellence in Online Teaching, Northern Illinois University. (2022)
  • Illinois Reading Educator of the Year Award, College Category, Illinois Reading Council (2013)
  • Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership, Rockford College (2007)

Engagement and Partnership

Courses Taught

  • LTLA 341: Language Arts in the Elementary School
  • LTLA 350: Language Arts in the Middle School
  • LTLA 543: Writing in the Elementary School
  • LTLA 760: Seminar in Elementary Education: Language Arts

Donna Werderich


Graham Hall 119M

Contact Us

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

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