Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

Lite - Room 229

Elizabeth has over 2000 carefully selected books on her classroom shelves

The Literacy Education (MA) program at UM-Flint was the best thing that I could have done for my career. No, really. When I applied to graduate school, it was for an entirely different program. I enrolled and did well in my first semester in that program, but it just didn’t feel right. I knew that I wanted to be the best middle school Language Arts teacher I could be, and thought that maybe the Literacy Education (MA) program might help me get there. There was no “might” about it. The impact has been incredible!

I had the goal of completing graduate school fast. Like, “thirty-six credits in under two years,” fast. I don’t recommend that for full-time teachers/spouses/mothers, but it was something I wanted to do. The teaching faculty helped me achieve my goal while making sure that I was getting the best literacy education. In no time, I went from being a rookie teacher, to someone that my colleagues turned to for literacy help, because my graduate education was instantly applicable to me in my classroom.Lite - Jellyfish

I loved methods classes and helping young readers in the Reading Center. I loved learning theory and immediately applying that new knowledge to readers. But, my true love was discovered in my Adolescent Literature elective! Dr. Knezek assigned books that I knew my students would love, which led me to think about the power of adolescent literature to serve as mirrors for my students’ lives and windows to see into the lives of others. Everything changed for me. I went from having read The Babysitter’s Club books when I was twelve, to reading hundreds of books a year.

I went from having a classroom library of 20 random books left over from teachers before me, to about 2000 carefully-selected current and classic middle grade and young adult books on my shelves. No, really. I went from knowing about Judy Blume to attending national conferences like the International Literacy Association (ILA), National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Assembly on Literature for the Adolescents of the NCTE and actually getting to know authors, like Newberry-award winning author Matt de la Pena.

It has been five years since I graduated with my MA, and the impact continues with the readers in my classroom. I am able to offer them book choice and to help dormant readers remember what they forgot they loved about reading. It is the single best thing that has happened to me professionally, and it is all thanks to the Literacy Education (MA) program at UM-Flint!

Lite - Matt de la Pena

Elizabeth Peter with author Matt de la Pena at the 2015 ALAN Workshop