Alessandra E. Ward

Assistant Professor of Education


Phone: 508-286-3641

Fax: 508-286-3640


Ed.D., Boston University
M.Ed., University of Notre Dame
B.A., Boston College


Alessandra Ward considers herself a practitioner researcher whose research interests center around literacy motivation and engagement for young learners. She is interested in collaborating with teachers and literacy professionals to empower children to integrate cultural and literate practices to investigate topics of importance to themselves and to their communities. She also has a strong interest in children’s and young adult literature, and believes that providing learners with a diverse range of contemporary texts is crucial to increasing engagement.

Prior to her arrival at Wheaton, Dr. Ward was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. She has also coached graduate students pursuing licensure as reading specialists in the Donald D. Durrell Reading and Writing Clinic at Boston University, where she also served as a tutor for young learners. She has taught courses on literacy instructional and assessment methods for grades K-12, classroom discourse, and children’s and young adult literature. She is an experienced classroom teacher and reading specialist, and continues to prioritize direct engagement with children and their teachers on the belief that they are the key to transforming educational systems for greater equity.


Ward, A. E., & Duke, N. K. (in press). Every month should be reading month. Language Arts.

Ward, A. E., & Erickson, J. D. (2021). Sharing what works: Building knowledge through practitioner case study. The Reading Teacher. 

Frankel, K. F., Fields, S., & Ward, A. E. (2021). Adolescents’ identities as readers and mentors in a high school literacy mentorship class. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice.

Duke, N. K., Ward, A. E., & Pearson, P. D. (2021). The science of reading comprehension instruction. The Reading Teacher, 74(6), 663-672.

Erickson, J. D., Ward, A. E., Chase, J. & Fornauf, B. (2021). Five principles to nurture motivation within early reading interventions. The Reading Teacher, 74(5), 493-503.

Ward, A. E., Duke, N. K. & Klingelhofer, R. R. (2020, October 27). Observing young readers and writers: A tool for informing instruction. Literacy Now.

Frankel, K., Ward, A. E., & Fields, S. (2019). Leveraging adolescents’ agency, engagement, and comprehension-focused reading. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 63(2), 224-228.

Teaching Interests

As a former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach, Dr. Ward loves empowering new teachers with the skills, practices, and knowledge they need to help young learners become confident and purposeful readers and writers. She teaches undergraduate courses on literacy methods, supervises early childhood and elementary education licensure candidates in the field, and co-coordinates Wheaton’s Early Childhood and Elementary Education program.

Research Interests

Alessandra Ward’s research interests center around literacy motivation and engagement for young learners. She is currently part of the Great First Eight curriculum development project for Kindergarten and First Grade. Great First Eight is an assets-based, all-day curriculum that centers equity and justice for 0-8-year-old children living and learning in metropolitan areas. Dr. Ward frequently works at the intersections between literacy, science, and social and emotional learning.





Dolls House 203