Reading and Language Arts

Pawley Hall, Room 490A
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3054

Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, Ph.D.

Research interests:

My research focuses on identifying effective ways to negotiate the cultural borders between various learning environments, and improving literacy teaching and learning in and out of school. I examine literacy experiences in classrooms, homes and other learning environments (e.g. the African American Church) for the purpose of developing connections within and across environments. For example, one of my current research projects helps teachers, administrators and parents develop creative ways to utilize out-of-school literacy experiences to improve in-school literacy teaching and learning.

  • Examining literacy experiences in various learning environments (including urban classrooms, the African American Church, homes)
  • Building home-school connections
  • Developing ways to utilize out-of-school literacy experiences to improve in-school literacy teaching and learning.

Past research activities/experience:

  • Examining literacy experiences in various learning environments (including urban classrooms, the African American Church, homes)
  • Building home-school connections
  • Developing ways to utilize out-of-school literacy experiences to improve in-school literacy teaching and learning
  • Developing ways to reinforce school-valued skills and strategies in out-of-school learning environments to improve academic achievement (especially for African American students)

Selected past research activities/experience:

  • Developed curriculum and provided professional development and follow-up sessions for church volunteers who participated in a community-based project between a local church and school to tutor 3rd graders during the 2016-2017 academic year. Final assessment showed a 15% increase in reading scores of 3rd grade students.
  • 3-year community-based partnership in Saginaw between St. Paul Baptist Church and Houghton-Jones Community Resource Center for PreK-10 students that focused on academics, personal & leadership development, and health & nutrition - included cross-generational mentoring community gardening project implemented in a “food desert”. (Funded by Wickes Foundation)
  • 6-year longitudinal study of literacy teaching and learning in K-8 urban classrooms in 8 schools (Funded by Michigan Department of Education Improving Teacher Quality Grants)

Selected publications:

  • McMillon, G.M.T. (2016). School-university-community collaboration: Building bridges at the water’s edge. Journal of Adult and Adolescent Literacy, 60(4), 375-381.
  • McMillon, G.M.T & McMillon, D.B. (2015). Social equity teaching in action: My community is my classroom. In Fenice Boyd and Cyndi Brock (Eds.), Social Diversity Within Multiliteracies: Complexity in Teaching and Learning (pp.154 – 167). New York: Routledge.
  • McMillon, G.M.T. (2013). It’s time to declare war on the reading crisis in the State of Michigan! Michigan Reading Journal, 46(1), 5-11.
  • Lazar, A., Edwards, P.A. & McMillon, G.M.T. (2012). Bridging literacy and equity: Guidelines for social equity literacy teaching. New York: Teachers College Press.’
  • Edwards, P.A., McMillon, G.T. & Danridge, J. (2010). Change is gonna come: Transforming literacy education for African American students. New York: Teachers College Press. (Winner of 2011 Edward Fry Book Award – Literacy Research Association).
  • McMillon, G.M.T. & Edwards, P.A. (2008). Examining shared domains of literacy in the church & school of African American children. In James Flood, Shirley Brice Heath, and Diane Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts, Volume II, (pp. 319-328). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, Inc.
  • McMillon, G.M.T. and McMillon, V.D. (2004). The empowering literacy practices of the African American Church. In Boyd, F.B., Brock, C. H. & Rozendal, M.S. (Eds.). Multicultural and Multilingual Literacy and Language: Contexts & Practices. (pp. 280-303). New York: Guilford Publications, Inc.

Research goals/plans for future projects
My future research goals/plans include the development of:

  • an English/Language Arts model for urban learners

  • a Christian education curriculum that reinforces school-valued literacy skills and strategies

  • strategies that reinforce school-valued literacy skills and strategies for parents to implement at homeContinuing to meet with K-8 urban teachers from 6-year longitudinal study to assist with sustainability of project teaching strategies.

Additional information about Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, Ph.D. can be found on:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-gwendolyn-thompson-mcmillon-69392811/
Academia.edu: https://oakland.academia.edu/GwendolynThompsonMcMillon
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gwendolyn_Mcmillon.