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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Literacy and Diverse Learners
REND and MSED-647

  • Template 2015
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/22/2015 to 07/22/2115
  • Modified 07/19/2020

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Addresses specific literacy needs for diverse learners.  Best practice considerations for students with exceptionalities; low socio-economic students; and student with religious, linguistic and multicultural needs are emphasized.  Analysis of school demographics and connections to outside resources allow a more comprehensive understanding of students in the 21st century classroom.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

Candidates will construct a deep understanding of the varied literacy needs of diverse students. Candidates will examine many materials, techniques, and programs and be able to align them appropriately to serve the special needs of all students.

Serving the Community

Candidates will discuss desirable professional attributes and how communities can be more responsive to the developmental needs of diverse students. In addition, candidates will explore the many community agencies and develop support structures for students with special needs.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will discuss desirable professional attributes and how communities can be more responsive to the developmental needs of diverse students. In addition, candidates will explore the many community agencies and develop support structures for students with special needs.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

1. Recognize, understand, and value the forms of diversity that exist in a society and their importance in learning to read and write (IRA Standard 4.1;NBPTS 1,2,4,5)

1a. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which diversity can be used to strengthen a literate society

1b. Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of urban, suburban, and rural environments on learning to read and write

1c. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which diversity influences literacy development (specifically in first- and second- language acquisition)

2. Use a literacy curriculum and engage in instructional practices that positively impact students’ knowledge, beliefs, and engagement with the features of diversity (IRA Standard 4.2; NBPTS 1,2,3)

2a. Assess the various forms of diversity that exist in the classroom and surrounding community

2b. Explore the differentiation of materials for various diversities in the form of literature/texts

3. Develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity (IRA Standard 4.3;NBPTS 4,5)

3a. Provide students with linguistic, academic, and cultural experiences that link their communities with the school

3b. Advocate for change in societal practices and institutional structures that are inherently biased or prejudiced against certain groups

3c. Demonstrate how issues of inequity and opportunities for social justice activism and resiliency can be incorporated into the literacy curriculum


Freeman, Freeman & Ramirez.  Diverse learners in the mainstream classroom.  Heinemann.


Professional Discourse, Participation and Reflection
Candidates will respond to weekly discussion and reflection prompts.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; NBPTS 1,2,3,4,5

Literature Sharing
Candidates will research school demographics and choose a diverse group to create a bibliography of 4-6 texts for a classroom library.

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; NBPTS 1,2,3,4,5

Collection of Resources
Candidates will research and compile school / community resources including literacy resources for two diverse groups within their school

  • Course outcomes 1,3
  • Standards IRA 4.1, 4.3; NBPTS 1,2,4,5

Diversity Poster / Plan
Candidates will create a poster promoting diversity for the classroom and prepare a proposal for class wide / school wide implementation

  • Course outcomes 1,2,3
  • Standards IRA 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; NBPTS 1,2,3,4,5

Course Policies

Policies for the College of Education at University of St. Francis

CLICK HERE (requires active student account) for policies, including but not limited to:

  • Method of Instruction
  • Expectations of Candidates
  • Online Courses
  • Attendance Policies for Site-Based and Online Courses
  • Minimum Standards for Writing
  • Computer and Digital Information Literacy Skills

Course Evaluations | Surveys

Information gathered through course evaluations and surveys is an important part of maintaining quality and continuous improvement in courses, and it is the University’s expectation that students will thoughtfully participate in this evaluation process.

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the USF portal.

A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

Technology Support

  1. The Department of Academic Technology (DAT) administers the learning management system Canvas. If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support, including:
  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu, select Chat with Canvas Support for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session,
  2. select Report a Problem to send an email support request, or speak to someone directly by using the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline.

NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email-based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.

2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at LearnItNow

3. Telephone Support from DAT. You can also phone the Department of Academic Technology for personal help at (815) 740-5080 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, please contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via:

Notice of Copyright

This course may contain copyrighted materials that are intended to support the learning experiences of students currently enrolled in the course. No student may retain or further disseminate any copyrighted materials, in their entirety or any portion thereof, under penalty of law.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Additional Items

Course References

Au, K.H., & Raphael, T.E. (2000). Equity and literacy in the next millennium. Reading
Research Quarterly, 35(1), 170-188. doi: 10:1598/RRQ.35.1.12

Cummins, J. (1989). Empowering minority students. Sacramento, CA: Association of Bilingual Education.

Davis, S., & Johns, L. (1991). Identifying and challenging gifted readers. IllinoisReading
Council Journal, 19, 34a-34d.

Delpit, L. (2006). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. NY: New Press.

Dooley, C. (1993). The challenge: Meeting the needs of gifted readers. The Reading Teacher, 46, 5546-551.

Fitzgerald, J. (1993). Literacy and students who are learning English as a second language. The Reading Teacher, 46, 638-647.

Friend, M., &Bursuck, W.D. (1999). Including students with special needs: A practical guide for classroom teachers. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gollnick, D.M., & Chinn, P.C. (2008). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society (8th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Grant, C. A. (2003). An educator’s guide to diversity in the classroom. NY: Houghton Mifflin.

Hodkinson, H. (2001). Educational demographics: What teachers should know. Educational Leadership 58(4), 6-11.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2001). Crossing over to Canaan: The journey of new teachers in diverse classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ladson Billings, G. (2009). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American
children (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Smith, G.P. (1998). Common sense about uncommon knowledge: The knowledge bases for diversity. Washington D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Thornton, H. (2006). Dispositions in action: Do dispositions make a difference in practice? Teacher Education Quarterly, 33(2), 53-68.

Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive schooling: U.S. Mexican youth and the politics of caring. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.