College of Education

About Us Admissions & Academics Research & Engagement Departments & Faculty Current Students

Sarah McCarthey

Biography

Sarah McCarthey's research focuses on teachers' writing instruction within current policy contexts. She serves as Department Head of Curriculum and Instruction. As co-editor (with Mark Dressman and Paul Prior) of Research in the Teaching of English, Sarah has been in the forefront of publishing outstanding literacy research. Her leadership in the University of Illinois Writing Project has linked the College of Education with local schools, Writing Studies, and the National Writing Project.

Key Professional Appointments

  • Head, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Sheila M. Miller Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Professor, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Editorial activity, Research in the Teaching of English (Journal), 2008 - 2013

Research & Service

Sarah McCarthey's current focus is on preparation of teachers to teach writing in K-12 schools within global contexts including Greece, Hong Kong and Singapore. Previous studies focused on the impact of professional development on teachers' writing instruction. She collected data on 20 teachers' writing instruction, philosophies of writing, and perceptions of professional development. In her work investigating teachers' attitudes towards writing and their writing instruction within policy contexts such as NCLB, she has identified trends in writing instruction including the implementation of writer's workshop, genre-based instruction, and skills approaches. She has also documented the importance of access to high-quality professional development for teachers to make changes in their writing instruction. Sarah is also actively involved in conducting research on teachers' and students' use of the online writing environment, Scholar. She is particularly interested in the nature of the feedback students provide peers and how they use that in their revisions.

Sarah was P. I. on the project "u-learn.net: An anywhere/anytime formative assessment and learning feedback environment" funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Small Business Innovation Research Program. This project corresponded with her work as a consultant on the Assess-As-you-Go Project with Bill Cope as P.I. The projects focus on innovation in assessment in writing as students engage in writing and peer review in technology environments.

Sarah was co-editor with Mark Dressman and Paul Prior of Research in the Teaching of English, a premier journal in the field of literacy, between 2008-2013. She is Project Investigator of the University of Illinois Writing Project and Co-Director with Scott Filkins (Champaign Unit #4). The project brings together local teachers to improve writing instruction in grades k-12.

Publications

Sanders-Smith, S. C., Lyons, M. E., Sylvia Ya-Hsuan, Y., & McCarthey, S. J. (2021). Valuing relationships, Valuing differences: Co-teachingCC practices in a Hong Kong early childhood program. Teaching and Teacher Education, 97, [103230].  link >

Mccarthey, S., Duke, N. K., Bloome, D., Faust, S., García-Sánchez, I. M., Stornaiuolo, A., & Alvermann, D. (2020). How Can We Study Children’s/Youth’s Out of School Experiences to Inform Classroom Practices? Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 69(1), 58-78.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J., Nuñez, I., & Lee, C. (2020). Translanguaging Across Contexts. In M. Dressman, & R. W. Sadler (Eds.), The Handbook of Informal Language Learning (pp. 349-367). Wiley-Blackwell.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2020). Considerations of methodology and epistemology in designing literacy studies. In M. H. Mallette, & N. K. Duke (Eds.), Literacy Research Methodologies (3 ed.). Guilford Press.

McCarthey, S. J., & James, C. L. (2020). Fostering Effective Writing Instruction across the Grades. In A. S. Dagen, & R. M. Bean (Eds.), Best Practices of Literacy Leaders: Keys to School Improvement (2 ed., pp. 231-255). Guilford Press.

Smith, A., West, A. J., & McCarthey, S. J. (2020). Literacies across sponsorscapes: mobilising notions of literacy sponsorship. Literacy, 54(2), 22-30.  link >

Magnifico, A. M., Woodard, R., & McCarthey, S. (2019). Teachers as co-authors of student writing: How teachers’ initiating texts influence response and revision in an online space. Computers and Composition, 52, 107-131.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (2019). Teacher Preparation for Writing Instruction in Singapore. In L. Seloni, & S. Henderson Lee (Eds.), Second Language Writing Instruction in Global Contexts: English Language Teacher Preparation and Development (pp. 91-110). (New Perspectives on Language and Education). Multilingual Matters.  link >

Kline, S., & McCarthey, S. J. (2018). Mediators of Inequity: Online Literate Activity in Two Eighth Grade English Language Arts Classes. Middle Grades Review, 4(1).

McCarthey, S. J., & Woodard, R. (2018). Faithfully following, adapting, or rejecting mandated curriculum: teachers’ curricular enactments in elementary writing instruction. Pedagogies, 13(1), 56-80.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., Kennett, K., Smith, A., & West, A. J. (2017). Facilitating Students’ Stances toward Technology-Enhanced Reading and Writing in the Classroom. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 47-89.

McCarthey, S. J., & Kang, G. (2017). Understanding influences on writing instruction: cases of two kindergarten teachers. Early Child Development and Care, 187(3-4), 398-417.  link >

Smith, A., Mccarthey, S., & Magnifico, A. (2017). Recursive Feedback: Evaluative Dimensions of e-Learning. In B. Cope, & M. Kalantzis (Eds.), e-Learning Ecologies: Principles for New Learning and Assessment (pp. 118-142). Routledge.  link >

Olmanson, J., Kennett, K., Magnifico, A., McCarthey, S., Searsmith, D., Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2016). Visualizing Revision: Leveraging Student-Generated Between-Draft Diagramming Data in Support of Academic Writing Development. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 21(1), 99-123.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., & Geoghegan, C. M. (2015). The Role of Professional Development for Enhancing Writing Instruction. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of Writing Research (2 ed.). Guilford Press.

McCarthey, S. J., Woodard, R., & Kang, G. (2014). Elementary Teachers Negotiating Discourses in Writing Instruction. Written Communication, 31(1), 58-90.  link >

Dressman, M., Mccarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2013). Editors' Introduction: All in the details. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(3), 209-211.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2013). Editors' Introduction: Writing Research outside the U.S.: Our Final Introduction. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(4), 361-364.

McCarthey, S. J., Magnifico, A. M., Woodard, R., & Kline, S. (2013). Situating Technology-Facilitated Feedback and Revision: The Case of Tom. In K. E. Pytash, & R. E. Ferdig (Eds.), Exploring Technology for Writing and Writing Instruction (pp. 152-170). IGI Global.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., & Mkhize, D. (2013). Teachers' orientations towards writing. Journal of Writing Research, 5(1), 1-33.  link >

Woodard, R., Magnifico, A. M., & Mccarthey, S. (2013). Supporting teacher metacognition about formative assessment in online writing environments. E-Learning and Digital Media, 10(4), 442-469.  link >

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2012). Editors' introduction: Tracking, assessment, and persistent problems of inequity. Research in the Teaching of English, 46(3), 229-231.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2012). Editors' Introduction: Challenging simplicity, embracing complexity. Research in the Teaching of English, 46(4), 337-339.

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2012). Editors' Introduction: Literate practices are situated, mediated, multisemiotic, and embodied. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(1), 5-8.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2012). Editors' Introduction: Continuity and innovation in literacy research. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(2), 109-111.

McCarthey, S. J., Woodard, R., & Kang, G. (2012). Access and Teachers' Perceptions of Professional Development in Writing. In C. Bazerman, C. Dean, J. Early, K. Lunsford, S. Null, P. Rogers, & A. Stansell (Eds.), International Advances in Writing Research: Cultures, Places, Measures (pp. 41-59). (Perspectives on Writing). WAC Clearinghouse & Parlor Press.

McCarthey, S. J. (2012). Understanding ecologies of writing in multiple settings. Pedagogies, 7(3), 261-267.  link >

Cope, B., Kalantzis, M., McCarthey, S., Vojak, C., & Kline, S. (2011). Technology-Mediated Writing Assessments: Principles and Processes. Computers and Composition, 28(2), 79-96.  link >

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2011). Editors' introduction: On the complexities of writing and writing research. Research in the Teaching of English, 46(1), 5-7.

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2011). Editors' introduction: 100 Years of Research. Research in the Teaching of English, 46(2), 133-140.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2011). Editors' Introduction: Semiotics in new hard times. Research in the Teaching of English, 45(3), 221-223.

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2011). Editors' Introduction: Generalizability or a thousand points of light? The promises and dilemmas of qualitative literacy research. Research in the Teaching of English, 45(4), 349-352.

Dressman, M. A., & McCarthey, S. J. (2011). Toward a Pragmatics of Epistemology, Methodology, and Social Theory. In N. K. Duke, & M. H. Mallette (Eds.), Literacy Research Methodologies (2 ed.). Guilford Press.

McCarthey, S. J., & Ro, Y. S. (2011). Approaches to writing instruction. Pedagogies, 6(4), 273-295.  link >

Vojak, C., Kline, S., Cope, B., McCarthey, S., & Kalantzis, M. (2011). New Spaces and Old Places: An Analysis of Writing Assessment Software. Computers and Composition, 28(2), 97-111.  link >

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2010). Editor's introduction: Researching across the current. Research in the Teaching of English, 44(4), 365-367.

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2010). Editors' Introduction: Countering theoretical and curricular narratives. Research in the Teaching of English, 44(3), 253-254.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2010). Editors' Introduction: Representations of diverse populations. Research in the Teaching of English, 45(1), 5-6.

McCarthey, S. J., & Zheng, X. (2010). Principles for Writing Practices with Young ELLs. In G. Li, & P. A. Edwards (Eds.), Best Practices in ELL Instruction Guilford Press.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2009). Editors' introduction: Rethinking teacher quality and classroom instruction. Research in the Teaching of English, 43(3), 245-246.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2009). Editors' introduction: Voice, space, and activity in english teaching and learning. Research in the Teaching of English, 44(1), 5-7.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2009). Editors' introduction: Adolescents' literacy and the promises of digital technology. Research in the Teaching of English, 43(4), 345-347.

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2009). Editors' Introduction: Literate practies: Theory, method, and disciplinary boundary work. Research in the Teaching of English, 44(2), 133-135.

McCarthey, S. J. (2009). Understanding English Language Learners’ Identities in Two Languages and Literacies in Two Contexts. In G. Li (Ed.), Multicultural Families, Home Literacies, and Mainstream Schooling (Literacy, Language and Learning). Information Age Publishing Inc..

Dressman, M., McCarthey, S., & Prior, P. (2008). Editors' Introduction: On research in the teaching of English. Research in the Teaching of English, 43(1), 5-11.

Dressman, M. A., McCarthey, S. J., & Prior, P. A. (2008). Editors' Introduction: Tales of transformation. Research in the Teaching of English, 43(2), 109-111.

Mccarthey, S. J. (2008). Writing. In T. L. Good (Ed.), 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook (pp. I-336-I-342). [36] SAGE Publishing.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2008). The impact of No Child Left Behind on teachers' writing instruction. Written Communication, 25(4), 462-505.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (2007). Four Metaphors of the Composing Process. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International Handbook of Research in Arts Education (pp. 477-495). (Springer International Handbooks of Education; Vol. 16). Springer.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (2007). Prelude: The Composition Section Composing as Metaphor and Process. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International Handbook of Research in Arts Education (pp. 447-451). (Springer International Handbooks of Education; Vol. 16). Springer.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., & García, G. E. (2005). English language learner's writing practices and attitudes. Written Communication, 22(1), 36-75.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., Guo, Y. H., & Cummins, S. (2005). Understanding changes in elementary Mandarin students' L1 and L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(2), 71-104.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2004). Bakhtin’s Dialogism in a Preschooler’s Talk. Literacy Teaching and Learning, 8(2).

McCarthey, S. J., López-Velásquez, A. M., Garcia, G. E., Lin, S., & Guo, Y. H. (2004). Understanding writing contexts for English Language Learners. Research in the Teaching of English, 38(4), 351-392.

McCarthey, S. J., & Moje, E. B. (2002). Identity matters. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(2), 228-238.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2002). Students' Identities and Literacy Learning. (Literacy Studies Series). International Reading Association.  link >

Abbott, J. A., & McCarthey, S. J. (2001). Classroom influences on first-grade students’ oral narratives. Journal of Literacy Research, 33(3), 389-421.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2001). Identity construction in elementary readers and writers. Reading Research Quarterly, 36(2), 122-151.  link >

Hoffman, J. V., Baumann, J. F., Afflerbach, P., Duffy-Hester, A. M., McCarthey, S. J., & Ro, J. M. (2000). Balancing Principles for Teaching Elementary Reading. Routledge.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (2000). Home–school connections: A review of the literature. Journal of Educational Research, 93(3), 145-153.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., Dressman, M., Smolkin, L., McGill-Franzen, A., & Harris, V. J. (2000). How will diversity affect literacy in the next millennium? Reading Research Quarterly, 35(4), 548-552.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (1999). Identifying teacher practices that connect home and school. Education and Urban Society, 32(1), 83-107.  link >

Hoffman, J. V., McCarthey, S. J., Elliott, B., Bayles, D. L., Price, D. P., Ferree, A., & Abbott, J. A. (1998). The literature-based basals in first-grade classrooms: Savior, Satan, or same-old, same-old? Reading Research Quarterly, 33(2), 168-197.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (1998). Constructing multiple subjectivities in classroom literacy contexts. Research in the Teaching of English, 32(2), 126-160.

Mccarthey, S. J. (1997). Connecting Home and School Literacy Practices in Classrooms with Diverse Populations. Journal of Literacy Research, 29(2), 145-182.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (1997). Making the invisible more visible: Home literacy practices of middle-class and working-class families. Early Child Development and Care, 127(1), 179-189.  link >

Elmore, R. F., Peterson, P. L., & McCarthey, S. J. (1996). Restructuring in the Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and School Organization. Jossey-Bass.

McCarthey, S. J., Corman, L., Adair, M., Barati, M., Bertino, J., McAngus, N., & Nordin, A. (1996). Building A Community of Learners: Team-Teaching Interdisciplinary Units in Multi-Age Classrooms. Language Arts, 73(6), 395-401.

Peterson, P. L., McCarthey, S. J., & Elmore, R. F. (1996). Learning from school restructuring. American Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 119-153.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., & Hoffman, J. V. (1995). The new basals: How are they different? Reading Teacher, 49(1), 72-75.

Hoffman, J. V., McCarthey, S. J., Abbott, J., Christian, C., Corman, L., Curry, C., Dressman, M., Elliott, B., Matherne, D., & Stahle, D. (1994). So What's New in the New Basals? A Focus on First Grade. Journal of Literacy Research, 26(1), 47-73.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (1994). Authors, Text, and Talk: The Internalization of Dialogue from Social Interaction during Writing. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(3), 200-231.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (1994). Response to Bloome: Violence, Risk, and the Indeterminacy of Language. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(3), 246-247.  link >

Mccarthey, S. J. (1994). Response to Rowe: Aligning Methods to Assumptions. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(3), 248-249.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., Hoffman, J. V., Christian, C., Corman, L., Elliott, B., Matherne, D., & Stahle, D. (1994). Engaging the new basal readers. Reading Research and Instruction, 33(3), 233-256.  link >

McCarthey, S. J. (1994). Opportunities and Risks of Writing from Personal Experience. Language Arts, 71(3), 182-191.

McCarthey, S. J. (1994). Students' Understandings of Metaphors in Teachers' Talk about Writing. Language Arts, 71(8), 598-605.

McCarthey, S. J., & Peterson, P. L. (1993). Creating Classroom Practice Within the Contexts of a Restructured Professional Development School. In D. K. Cohen, M. W. McLaughlin, & J. E. Talbert (Eds.), Teaching for Understanding: Challenges for Policy and Practice Jossey-Bass.

Mccarthey, S. J. (1992). The Teacher, the Author, and the Text: Variations in form and Content of Writing Conferences. Journal of Literacy Research, 24(1), 51-82.  link >

McCarthey, S. J., & McMahon, S. (1992). From Convention to Invention: Three Approaches to Peer Interaction During Writing. In R. Hertz-Lazarowitz, & N. Miller (Eds.), Interaction in Cooperative Groups: The Theoretical Anatomy of Group Learning (pp. 17-35). Cambridge University Press.

McCarthey, S. J., & Peterson, K. D. (1988). Peer review of materials in public school teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1(3), 259-267.  link >

Teaching

Sarah teaches graduate courses in research methods including CI 562 and CI 580; she also teaches CI 560: Trends and Issues in Language Arts. While coordinating the literacy methods courses for the licensure program, she also teaches the CI 476: Reading and Language Arts II.

Courses

Undergraduate Honors Research (CI 205) Course focuses on reading/understanding education research and working with a College of Education faculty mentor on a small research project. Student projects will be presented at the Spring Campus Undergraduate Research Symposium. Classes initially will be led by the instructor, but later will be conducted as a seminar with students leading discussions on the topic of their research. To the extent possible, students will select readings and research topics of personal interest.

Princ Prac Foster Indep Rdg (CI 471) Emphasizes reading comprehension and reading to learn in content fields in grades K-8. Includes focus on teaching reading to students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including dialect speakers and English learners.

Teach Elem & Mid Lang Arts (CI 476) Second of a two-course sequence that examines the basic theories, issues, methods, and materials for a developmental K-8 language arts program. It continues to emphasize the need to integrate the four language arts (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) as tools for learning across the curriculum. This second course, however, places a relatively greater emphasis on writing than on reading, speaking, and listening. Continues to address cultural diversity in language arts instruction, with emphasis on linguistic diversity.

Trends & Issues Language Arts (CI 560) Advanced seminar in literacy for teachers, researchers, and specialists. Focuses on trends and issues in elementary and secondary language arts. Current theories, relevant research and practical applications are considered in relation to reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS, delivered on Zoom.

Theory Prac Child Youth Comp (CI 561) Focuses on theory and practice of children's and youth written composition. Includes development of understanding of texts, pedagogy, motivation and classroom practices that facilitate writing. Students learn about their own writing, participate in peer writing conferences, and produce research or curricular projects for use in classrooms.