Susan Watts-Taffe, PhD, Associate Professor, Literacy and Second Language Studies

Susan Watts-TaffeSusan Watts-Taffe graduated from State University of New York at Buffalo with a Ph.D. in Reading Education and Cognitive Psychology. She serves at the University of Cincinnati as an Associate Professor in the Reading Specialist program. Watts-Taffe is a recognized professor with several awards including the Distinguished Teaching Award, from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota; the Faculty Summer Research Fellowship Award also from the University of Minnesota, and the Outstanding Article Award from the Organization of Teacher Educators in Reading. Along with her many honors she is also a published writer and brings to her class a wealth of experience and knowledge.


  • Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1991 (Major: Reading Education, Minor: Cognitive Psychology)
  • Ed.M., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1988 (Reading Education)
  • B.S., State University College at Buffalo, NY (Major: Exceptional Education, Concentration: Mathematics)

Peer-reviewed Publications

Graves, M. F., & Watts Taffe, S. (2008). For the love of words: Fostering word consciousness in young readers. The Reading Teacher, 185-193

Blachowicz, C. L. Z., Fisher, P. J., Ogle, D., & Watts-Taffe, S. (2006). Vocabulary: Questions from the classroom. Reading Research Quarterly, 524-539

Watts-Taffe, S., Gwinn, C. B., Johnson, J. R., & Horn, M. L. (2003). Preparing preservice teachers to integrate technology into the elementary literacy program. The Reading Teacher, 130-138

Watts-Taffe, S., & Truscott, D. M. (2000). Using what we know about language and literacy development for ESL students in the mainstream classroom. Language Arts, 258-265

Barr, R., Watts-Taffe, S., Yukota, J., Ventura, M., & Caputi, V. (2000). Preparing teachers to teach literacy: Rethinking preservice literacy education. Journal of Literacy Research, 463-470

Rothenberg, S., & Watts, S. M. (1997). Students with learning difficulties meet Shakespeare: Using a scaffolded reading experience to support English literature instruction. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 7, 532-539

Cerra, K. K., Watts-Taffe, S., & Rose, S. (1997). Fostering reader response and developing comprehension strategies in deaf and hard of hearing children. American Annals of the Deaf 5, 379-386

Watts, S. M., & Graves, M. F. (1997). Fostering middle school students’ understanding of challenging texts. Middle School Journal 1, 45-51

Taylor, B. T., Hansen, B., Swanson, K., & Watts, S. M. (1997). Helping struggling readers: Linking small-group intervention with cross-age tutoring. The Reading Teacher 3, 196-209

Watts, S. M., & Truscott, D. M. (1996). Using contextual analysis to help students become independent word learners. New England Reading Association Journal 3, 13-20

Watts, S. M., & Cerra, K. C. (1996). Can you teach reading comprehension with children’s books? Fostering reader response and developing comprehension strategies. Balanced Reading Instruction 1, 1-11

Watts, S. M., & Bucknam, J. (1996). Using vocabulary studies to teach contextual analysis in grade four. Reading Horizons 2, 168-181

Watts, S. M., & Graves, M. F. (1996). Expanding your vocabulary program to foster word consciousness. Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal 2, 19-24

Graves, M. F., & Watts, S. M. (1996). Literacy for today’s world: Creating thinkers and doers for the world outside of school. California English Journal 1, 16-17

Andersen, D., & Watts, S. M. (1996). Enhancing beginning reading achievement among urban Native American children. The Reading Instruction Journal 1, 7-12

Watts, S. M., & Johnson, A. P. (1995). Using dialogue journals to improve literacy teacher education. Journal of Reading Education 1, 27-38

Taylor, B., Watts, S. M., Hanson, B., & Swanson, K. (1995). Classroom support for struggling readers: Linking early reading intervention and cross-age partner reading in grades one through four. Reading Manitoba 1, 4-9

Watts, S. M. (1995). Vocabulary instruction during reading lessons in six classrooms. Journal of Reading Behavior 4, 399-424

Watts, S. M. (1994). Considering issues of diversity in the creation of an effective reading program. Illinois Council Reading Journal 1, 21-24

Published Books

Watts-Taffe, S. (2007). Integrating literacy and technology: Effective practice in grades K-6. New York: Guilford Press

Graves, M. F., Watts-Taffe, S., & Graves, B. B. (1998). Essentials of elementary reading. (2nd ed.) Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Graves, M. F., Watts, S. M., & Graves, B. B. (1994). Essentials of classroom teaching: Elementary reading. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Book Chapters

Watts-Taffe, S., Fisher, P. J., & Blachowicz, C. L. Z. (2009). Vocabulary instruction for diverse students. Handbook of Research on Literacy Instruction: Issues of Diversity, Policy, and Equity New York Guilford Press.

Watts-Taffe, S. (2006). Textbook selection and respect for diversity in the United States. Promoting social cohesion through education: Case studies and tools for using textbooks and curricula (pp. 107-121). Washington, DC World Bank Institute.

Watts-Taffe, S., & Gwinn, C. B. (2005). Viewing professional development through the lens of technology integration: How do beginning teachers navigate the use of technology and new literacies? The 54th Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 443-454). Oak Creek, WI National Reading Conference.

Truscott, D. M., & Watts-Taffe, S. M. (2002). Supporting the English literacy development of ESL students in mainstream classrooms. Multicultural issues in literacy research and practice Hillsdale, NJ Eribaum.

Graves, M. F., & Watts-Taffe, S. (2002). The place of word consciousness in a research-based vocabulary program. What research has to say about reading instruction (3rd ed.) Newark, DE International Reading Association.

Watts, S. M. (1997). Cultural and linguistic diversity. Reading and learning in the content areas (2nd ed.) Columbus, OH Merrill/Macmillan.

Watts, S. M. (1996). Improving literacy instruction and assessment for all students: A response to Robert Calfee and Kathryn Au. The First R: A Right of All Children New York Teachers College Press.

Watts, S. M., & Peacock, J. (1994). Cultural and linguistic diversity. Reading and learning in the content areas Columbus, OH Merrill/Macmillan.

Truscott, D. M., & Watts-Taffe, S. Literacy instruction for second language learners: A study of best practices. National Reading Conference Yearbook (pp. 242-252).

Honors & Awards

  • Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, 1996.
  • Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 1996.
  • Outstanding Article Award, Organization of Teacher Educators in Reading, 1996.
  • Faculty Single Quarter Leave, University of Minnesota, 1994.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award, SUNY at Buffalo, 1991.
  • Predoctoral Summer Internship, Educational Testing Service, 1990.
  • Underrepresented Minority Graduate Fellowship, SUNY at Buffalo, 1987.
  • Outstanding Student in Mental Retardation/Physical Handicap, SUCAB, 1986.
  • President’s Award, SUNY at Buffalo, 1986.
  • Joseph T. Weingold Scholarship, SUCAB, 1984.
  • All-College Honors Activity Council, SUCAB, 1982.

Research Support

  • Watts, S. M., Strategy instruction and independent practice in grades four and six, University of Minnesota Faculty Summer Research Fellowship Program. $5,000. 12-1995
  • Espin, C.; Watts, S. M.; Markell, M., Survey of reading instruction for middle and secondary students, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota. $2,500. 11-1995
  • Watts, S. M. & Hansen, H., The preparation of teachers for culturally diverse student populations, The Bush Foundation Project on Excellence and Diversity in Teaching, University of Minnesota. $2,500. 11-1991
  • Graham, D. M., & Watts, S. M., An examination of the applicability of remedial reading clinical experiences across three states, Research and Creative Endeavors Committee (RACE), Eastern Montana College. $400. 10-1991
  • Watts, S. M., Vocabulary instruction across homogeneous ability groups in grades five and six, The Mark Diamond Research Fund, State University of New York at Buffalo. $430. 10-1990
  • Watts-Taffe, S., If not a quick fix, then what? Understanding an innovative school structure, inquiry-based teacher professional development, and school-university collaboration in an urban school, The Spencer Foundation. $30,950. 07-2002
  • Watts, S. M., A comparison of two methods of teaching vocabulary in grade five, Graduate School Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, University of Minnesota. $12,442. 05-1992
  • Ginsburg-Block, M. & Watts-Taffe, S., Improving reading achievement through an extended learning and community literacy initiative, University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). $20,000. 04-1999

Work Experience

  • 06-1986 – 08-1986, Substitute Teacher, Cantilician Center for Learning, Amherst, New York
  • 1986 – 1987, Special Education Teacher, Country Parkway Elementary School, Williamsville, New York
  • 1987 – 1988, Substitute Teacher, Williamsville Central School District, Williamsville, New York
  • 09-1988 – 08-1989, Instructor and Clinical Supervisor,
  • 1989 – 1991, Reading Diagnostician, Private Consultant
  • 06-1991 – 08-1991, Instructor, State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Learning and Instruction
  • 09-1991 – 06-1997, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • 09-1997 – 05-2004, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • 09-2003 – 05-2004, Visiting Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire, Education Department
  • 06-2004 – to Present, Educational Researcher and Consultant, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 06-2004 – to Present, Affiliated Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire, Education Department
  • 09-2007 – to Present, Associate Research Professor, University of Cincinnati, Division of Teacher Education


  • Committee Chair, International Reading Association Subcommittee on Research Publication Awards, 2001 to 2002.
  • Editorial Board Member, Reading Research Quarterly 2001 to Present.
  • Outside Reviewer, Review of Educational Research 1999.
  • Editorial Board Member, National Reading Conference Yearbook 1999.
  • Guest Co-Editor, Journal of Literary Research 1999 to 2000.
  • American Educational Research Association 1998.
  • Reviewer, Annual Reading Research Conference, International Reading Association 1998 to Present.
  • Consultant, Strong Souls Singing: African American Books for our Daughters and our Sisters 1998.
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Literacy Research 1998 to 2001.
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Educational Psychology 1996 to 2001.
  • Outside Reviewer, Journal of Reading Behavior 1995.
  • Editor, Twin Cities Area Reading Council Newsletter 1994 to 1995.
  • President,Twin Cities Area Reading Council 1994 to 1996.
  • Reviewer, National Reading Conference 1994.
  • Reviewer, AERA Student Research Award 1993.
  • Vice President,Twin Cities Area Reading Council 1993 to 1994.
  • Reviewer, Northeastern Educational Research Association 1991.

Courses Taught

  • Reading, Language and Literature: Primary.
  • Reading, Language and Literature: Intermediate.
  • Reading for Learners with Special Needs.
  • Literacy Development in the Intermediate Grades.
  • Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties.
  • Authentic Assessment in Literacy.
  • Facilitating the Comprehension of Informational Texts.
  • Reading Instruction that Promotes Critical Thinking in Grades 3-8.
  • Language Arts for Elementary Students.
  • Seminar: Recent Research in Reading.
  • Seminar: Research in Reading Comprehension.


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