Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Graduate Student Assistant Anna Gibbs was recognized with a 2021 Graduate Student Research Paper Award honorable mention distinction.

Each year, the University of Iowa College of Education Teaching and Learning Department recognizes graduate students for publications in which they were the first or sole author.

Gibbs was recognized for her research paper “Shared Reading and Science Vocabulary.” Gibbs authored the paper along with her faculty mentor and co-author Dr. Deborah Reed, the director of the Iowa Reading Research Center. The paper was about the study Gibbs conducted on teaching scientific vocabulary to kindergarten students. Her background in early childhood education and her interest in reading disabilities drew her to the topic.

“My research is focused on addressing the challenges teachers face when designing oral language instruction for young students with or at risk for developing reading difficulties,” Gibbs said. “More specifically, my research explores ways in which shared reading can be used as a vehicle for delivering vocabulary instruction to children.”

Gibbs created the materials, developed the protocols, trained the intervention teacher, and mentored the undergraduate student assisting with the project. This was the first project in which she took the lead role.

“Her study was innovative in and of itself, but Anna then had to confront delivering the intervention via web conference during the pandemic,” Reed said. “There was no precedence for this approach and many challenges presented themselves, but Anna managed all of it to complete her study.”

As Gibbs looks toward a career in research, she says she has learned a lot from this study.

“I like to think of this study as a springboard for future studies,” Gibbs said. “I learned what works, what didn’t work, and ways to improve the overall intervention experience for students and teachers.”