Summer Literacy Institutes

JULY 2021 Courses & Workshops

Summer Institute participant

The NH Summer Literacy Institutes consist of graduate-level courses offered for one week (2.0 credits) or one week, plus additional remote learning (3.0 credits), as well a non-credit workshop. This article highlights our community and program from a previous summer, and is worth a quick read. 

Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m., except where noted. The offerings for 2021 are a mix of in person, hybrid, and online. The workshop and courses held on campus will follow all UNH CoVid 19 safety guidelines. Course participants who will be joining us on campus must prepare in advance to have a valid WildCat pass. Please review how to get your guest WCP here. For general questions or concerns about Covid 19, please refer to

Undergraduates who receive their bachelor’s degree in May 2021 are eligible to attend in July. Permission is required. You can register for a course or a workshop or both, but auditing privileges will not be allowed.

You may reserve your spot in credit courses by filling out a reservation form. Contact Sarah Mercush at or for additional information.

2021 Summer Literacy Institutes Instructors

  • Nawal Q. Casiano

    Nawal Q. Casiano, Keynote Speaker

  • Jaed Coffin
    Jaed Coffin, Course Instructor
  • Kabria Baumgartner

    Kabria Baumgartner, Workshop Instructor

  • Vicki Vinton
    Vicki Vinton, Course Instructor
    and Keynote Speaker
  • JerriAnne Boggis

    JerriAnne Boggis, Workshop Instructor

  • Linda Rief
    Linda Rief, Course Instructor
    and Keynote Speaker
  • Angela Gomez
    Angela Gomez, Course Instructor
  • Megan Marling

    Megan Marling, Course Instructor

  • Christina Ortmeier-Hooper
    Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, Course Instructor

Browse Credit Courses

Instructor: Jaed Coffin

ENGL 920 3.0 credits (7/5-7/9 8:15 am - 2:30 pm MTRF on campus, W online; 7/13 & 7/15 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm online)

DESCRIPTION: Telling stories--about ourselves, our pasts, and our communities--is one of our most natural human instincts. Such stories lay claim to who we are and where we come from. However, the stories we tell casually--in conversation and daily life--can often lose life when they're transformed into written text.  

In this course, teachers will learn how to develop digital platforms that will allow their students to tell compelling audio stories shareable with the communities they come from. During the week, course instructor and UNH creative writing professor Jaed Coffin will use his ongoing public humanities storytelling project as a model; he'll also be drawing from his experience as a storyteller for Moth Radio Hour and TEDx.  

In this course you will:  

  • Activate your storytelling instincts 

  • Create compelling first-person narratives 

  • Produce those narratives into audio format 

  • Learn how to build a digital platform to host multiple stories 

This course will be held in person, on campus the week of July 5, but Wednesday, July 7th will be a virtual, synchronous class. In addition, the class will meet virtually from 6:00-8:30 pm on Tuesday, July 13th and Thursday, July 15th. If you are interested in attending this course but are unable to due to circumstances related to CoVid 19, please email

Jaed Coffin is the author of Roughhouse Friday (FSG), a memoir about the year he won the middleweight title of a barroom boxing show in Juneau, Alaska. He's also the author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (Da Capo), which chronicles the summer he spent as a Buddhist monk in his mother's village in Thailand. A regular contributor to Down East Magazine, Jaed's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nautilus, and The Sun as well the Moth Radio Hour and TED. He teaches creative writing at the University of New Hampshire and lives in Maine with his wife and two daughters. You can read his work at 

Instructor: Linda Rief

ENGL 922 2.0 Credits (7/5-7/9 MTWRF 8:15 am - 2:30 pm)

DESCRIPTION: In my teaching I have discovered that digging deeply into short pieces of writing, especially poetry, for its intentional word choice, strategic organization, extraordinary imagery, and layers of feelings, helps students look for and notice similar techniques and connections in their own expansive interactions with all kinds of reading. Using the idea of Heart Maps from Georgia Heard, I created a way (Heart Books) for students to use these personal maps to guide their reading, as well as their writing. The reading, collecting, illustrating and talking about an unusually large number of poems helped them deepen their understanding of so many other texts. In this course, we will read classic and contemporary poets, discover what we notice about the writing, write out what these poems mean to us, illustrate (through a variety of art techniques) the visuals that come to mind as we read, and research each poet’s thinking about writing, reading, and poetry. Each participant will craft his or her own Heart Book to inspire and deepen his or her own (and your students’) reading (and writing). 

This course will be held in person, on campus the week of July 5 -9. If you are interested in this course but are unable to attend due to circumstances related to CoVid 19, please contact


Linda Rief left the classroom in June of 2019 after 40 years of teaching Language Arts with eighth graders. She misses their energy, their curiosity, and their desire to read and write. She is a national and international presenter on issues of adolescent literacy. Her newest books are The Quickwrite Handbook: 100 Mentor Texts to Jumpstart Your Students’ Thinking and Writing and Read Write Teach

In 2020 she received the Kent Williamson Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership, in recognition of outstanding leadership in the English Language Arts. A recipient of NCTE’s Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Middle School Educator in ELA, her classroom was featured in the series “Making Meaning in Literature”, produced by Maryland Public Television for Annenberg/CPB.  For three years she chaired the first Early Adolescence English/Language Arts Standards Committee of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Follow Linda on Twitter @LindaMRief. 

Instructor: Christina Ortmeier-Hooper

ENGL 920 2.0 Credits (MRF 8:15 am - 2:30 pm online; TW on campus)

DESCRIPTION: This course includes a series of directed readings on leadership/teacher research developed by the individual participant with the Director of the NH Literacy Institutes; it is tailored to meet the individual participants' needs for their own goals, school, classrooms, and students. Assignments include regular writing, independently developed projects, and meetings.   

This course will be held the week of July 12 in a hybrid format. Two days will be on campus, in person (July 13 and 14) to take part in the Leadership Workshop, and three days will be synchronous remote/online.  Tuesday, July 13th will include lunch and a keynote speaker. As of 2020, this course is required for entering MST students before the MST capstone.  

If you are interested in attending this course but are unable to due to circumstances related to CoVid 19, please contact  



Christina Ortmeier-Hooper is an Associate Professor of English. She has been a student and teacher in the NH Literacy Institute, and she began her teaching career as an English and ESL teacher in secondary schools.  She has also served as the director of First-Year Writing at the University of

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper

New Hampshire.  Her research interests continue to reflect her investment in school-university collaborations, writing teacher education, and adolescent literacy.  She has had essays published in English Journal, TESOL Journal, and College Composition and Communication. She is the author of numerous books including The ELL Writer: Moving Beyond Basics in the Secondary Classroom (Teachers College Press) and Writing Across Language and Culture (NCTE Press). 

Instructor: Vicki Vinton

ENGL 922 3.0 Credits (7/19-7/23 8:15 am - 2:30 pm MTWRF, 8/3 & 8/4 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm online)

DESCRIPTION: Barack Obama believed that the most important things he’d learned in life came from reading. “It has to do with empathy,” he said. “It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays. . . and that it’s possible to connect with someone else even though they’re very different than you.” In this course we’ll explore how to teach reading in ways that allow students to reap the same kind of benefits and insights Obama spoke of, while simultaneously nurturing our own lives as readers. 

As readers first, we’ll authentically engage with texts to consider how they might inform our understanding of ourselves, others and the world we live in. Then as teachers of reading, we’ll explore the implications of those meaningful experiences for the classroom by looking at: 

  • how to create and facilitate opportunities for students to read closely and think deeply with a minimum of scaffolding 

  • how to use questions, talk, and responsive feedback to support students’ creative and critical thinking and feelings in whole class, small group and individual conference settings 

  • how to invite students to write about their reading in meaningful, insightful and non-formulaic ways. 

This course will be held in person, on campus the week of July 19-23. The class will reconvene on 8/3 and 8/4 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm online and synchronous. If you are interested in this course but are unable to attend due to circumstances related to CoVid 19, please contact


Vicki Vinton is a literacy consultant and writer who has worked with teachers and coaches across the country and around the world for many years. She is the co-author of What Readers Really Do:

Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language, and the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, all published by Heinemann. Additionally, she’s the voice behind the literacy blog To Make a Prairie (, and has taught writing at Columbia University’s Teachers College, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education and CUNY’s Queens College. 

Instructors: Angela Gomez and Megan Marling

ENGL 920 2.0 Credits (7/26-7/30 MTWRF 8:15 am - 2:30 pm online synchronous)

DESCRIPTION: As English teachers, we regularly invite vulnerability into our classrooms. Through the practice of writing and literacy discussions, students get opportunities to process their thinking, wrestle with tough topics, and practice important social and emotional learning skills. But how often do we intentionally create this space for students? And when we do, how can we maximize the impact and make sure it’s a regular part of our practice and not just the nature of our content? In this course, we will think critically about the ways mental health, positive psychology, and social emotional learning intersect with literacy practices.  

Participants will:  

  • Engage in reflection that helps re-center the “why” of education, a revisit of teaching philosophy 

  • Learn about positive psychology and its potential impact on our daily lives in and out of the classroom 

  • Use reading, writing, and conversation to practice emotional management and healthy coping strategies 

  • Sift through some of the SEL resources available for educators, focusing on the ones that are most practical for their classrooms 

  • Build a personal toolkit of activities and strategies to help students understand the science of mental health and positive psychology and how that can impact their day to day lives 

This course will be held the week of July 26 and will be remote synchronous.   


Megan Marling works with high school students in a public school outside of Columbus, Ohio, where she teaches a range of secondary English courses, including college composition and journalism. She also has experience in teaching middle school students near Providence, Rhode Island. She has earned degrees from Miami University and the University of New Hampshire, specializing in writing and SEL. 

Angela Gomez is a middle school English teacher, but her life in education began way before that. Straight out of high school she joined the DOE as a paraprofessional working in 12:1:1 classrooms supporting students with educational disabilities. From there she became a substitute teacher working in various communities in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is currently working at the America’s School of Heroes in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. She’s taught in various classrooms settings including Integrated Co-Teaching, English as a New Language, and Advanced Regents Program classes. Being part of a diverse community of educators and students, Angela is passionate about cultivating a culturally responsive curriculum where students can see themselves in the texts they study. Having a passion for creative writing herself, she is also an advocate for using writing as a tool for social and emotional expression. Angela completed her MST through UNH during the summer of 2020. 


Browse Workshops

Instructors: Kabria Baumgartner and JerriAnne Boggis

July 8 - 9 (Th, F 8:15 am - 2:30 pm) 

Register for this workshop here.

DESCRIPTION: Fascinating stories about the history of African Americans in New England are now at our fingertips thanks to the work of scholars, librarians, and nonprofits organizations. But how do we integrate these powerful stories into K-12 classrooms? This two-day workshop explores storytelling, literature, and social studies amid the expansion of digital archival collections. There are two central questions at hand: 

  • What are the stories of freedom that we ought to share?
  • How can we use archival material to enrich our reading and analysis of literary texts written by writers of color?

This workshop will bring together scholars, librarians, and cultural leaders who will share best practices on incorporating archival materials in teaching literature. We’ll go on a walking tour of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire; we’ll analyze documents, from letters to newspaper clippings; and we’ll study excerpts from African American texts such as Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and view documentaries like Shadows Fall North.


Kabria Baumgartner is an associate professor of English and American Studies at the University of New Hampshire, where she was named the 2019 Outstanding Assistant Professor. Her research and writing interests focus on Black history, literature, and culture in nineteenth-century New England. She is the author of the award-winning book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America (New York University Press, 2019) and she has published numerous scholarly articles as well as op-eds in the Washington Post and WBUR’s blog Cognoscenti.

JerriAnne Boggis is Executive Director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, an organization that preserves, celebrates and honors African-American history in the state. She is a writer, educator, and community activist who works to correct the historical record on the racial complexity and richness of New Hampshire’s diverse past. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named in 2020 by the Seacoast Press as one of the 10 most influential women of the Century in New Hampshire.

Housing, Dining and Parking 

Summer housing on campus will not be available for 2021, due to CoVid 19. Limited dining services will be available; details will be shared with registered participants prior to July. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of our discounted rate at the Holiday Inn Express in Durham, NH. You must ask for the NH Literacy Institutes reservation when booking to receive the discount. Room reservations include breakfast, internet, and parking. The hotel is within walking distance of Hamilton Smith Hall. 

UNH Transportation Office (603) 862-1010
A valid permit must be displayed in your vehicle to park on campus. Resident permits (those
staying in a campus residence hall) and commuter permits can be purchased online usually in
May. Pay & Park kiosks are available at the following visitor lots: Sage Way, Edgewood Road,
and Campus Crossing at Mill Road.

NH Literacy Faculty participant in the classroom


NH Literacy Summer Institute participants in the classroom


NH Literacy Institutes faculty participant in the classroom