Oswego State associate professor awarded

Maria Murray, an Oswego State associate professor in the curriculum and instruction department, recently received two awards for her work in literacy assessment and intervention in the Central New York area.

Murray was awarded the 2017 Perry A. Zirkel ’66 Education Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching. Zirkel is a university professor of education and law at Lehigh University and has made an impact on the education field. The award goes to a professor who contributes greatly to their profession’s field.

Kristen Munger, associate dean for the School of Education at Oswego State and 2016 recipient of the award, nominated Murray. Murray has been an associate professor for both undergraduate and graduate levels in the department for the past 10 years.

Literary assessment and intervention helps children who are learning how to read with a gap in their reading level and works to bring them up to grade-level or close to it. Murray received her master’s degree in special education with a concentration in learning disabilities and her doctorate degree in reading education from Syracuse University.

The CNY Reading Council unanimously voted and awarded Murray with the 2017 Celebrate Literacy Award for her work as founder and CEO of the Reading League, an organization based out of Syracuse, New York, to promote literacy by teaching evidence-based reading instruction and assessment.

The CNY Reading Council is an organization with a mission “to provide professional enhancement, service opportunities and networking possibilities in order to promote personal and professional growth for those interested or involved in the field of literacy,” according to the organization’s webpage.

“I was quite shocked and excited. It’s nice to be recognized by people I respect,” Murray said.

Murray began The Reading League with the mission “to build educator knowledge of how to teach reading using evidence-based, highly effective methods of reading instruction and assessment,” according to the organization’s webpage.

The Reading League consists of volunteering researchers and educators, a paid coordinator and a paid teaching coach. Each month, the organization hosts events with varying topics and teaching methods for about 200 educators in the CNY area. For teachers unable to attend, each event and presentation is recorded and posted online.

“Because of what Maria has started, more teachers are using effective, research-based instruction in their classrooms, which is resulting in more children learning to read proficiently,” said Stephanie Reed, a reading teacher at Donlin Drive Elementary School in Liverpool, New York.

Reed began following The Reading League about a year ago and frequently attends the events because she said she admires the organization’s stated mission “to bridge the gap between reading research and evidence-based reading instruction.” Reed said she often incorporates information she learned from The Reading League when she works with the staff at Donlin Drive Elementary School during professional development.

“There are a lot of ways of teaching reading. Some kids will learn to read no matter what method, and some need a specific method,” Murray said.

Photo provided by Jim Russell