Dr. Sophie Degener

Dr. Sophie Degener is an associate professor in reading and language at National Louis University in Chicago.  She teaches classes in beginning reading, reading research, and literacy methods to undergraduates, masters students and doctoral students. She is also the Director of the Reading Program. Her research interests include family literacy, differentiating literacy instruction, and teacher education.

She completed her undergraduate work in English at University of Vermont, received an MAT in Elementary Education from National Louis University, and has a doctorate in Language and Literacy from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Prior to her work as a professor, she taught in Evanston, IL. Her work with readers of all abilities and their families has motivated her interest in helping educators understand the unique needs and circumstances of every student in order to design instruction, using high quality materials, that best meets those needs. She does professional development work with local schools to help teachers and administrators understand and implement balanced literacy instruction that reflects current understandings of best practice, especially in differentiated instruction, guided reading, and writing.

Dr. Degener is Associate Editor for the Illinois Reading Council Journal, co-editing and writing the quarterly Professional Development column. She has recently co-authored two books on differentiated reading instruction with Jennifer Berne:  Responsive Guided Reading in Grades K-5: Simplifying Small Group Instruction, published in 2010 by Guilford Press; and Strategic Reading Groups: Guiding Readers in the Middle Grades, published in 2012 by Corwin Press. The two authors are currently working on a new book about teacher-student interactions during reading and writing conferences.