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June 25, 2008
By Sue Putnam
Diane Barone, professor of literacy studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been appointed by President George W. Bush to the advisory board of the National Literacy Institute, a federal agency that provides leadership on literacy issues, including the improvement of reading instruction for children, youth and adults.
“It’s huge,” Barone said. “I’ve been on some great boards and large literacy panels, but this is a chance to have our voices heard in a bigger arena.”
The institute's advisory board consists of just 10 people appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. According to the institute, board members represent a variety of entities associated with adult literacy including: service providers, businesses with an interest in literacy, experts in literacy research, representatives of labor organizations and others.
Barone, who has been with the University since 1994, teaches courses in literacy in the College of Education and focuses her research on young children’s literacy development, particularly in high-poverty schools. She has conducted several studies of literacy development, including a four-year study of children exposed prenatally to crack/cocaine and a seven-year study of children in a high-poverty school.
“This (appointment) is clearly an indication of her national reputation in the area of literacy studies,” College of Education Dean William Sparkman said. “She will bring years of significant research and professional practice to the board, and more importantly, a real sense of what works in schools for struggling readers. I have no doubt that she will be a powerful voice for sensible educational policies in all areas of literacy instruction.”
Barone has also written several books, served for eight years as the editor of Reading Research Quarterly, and is the principal investigator of the $26 million dollar Reading First grant in Nevada. This grant is focused on improving students’ literacy learning in the primary grades.
Barone attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and obtained her undergraduate degree in psychology, then went on to Kent State University where she received her teaching endorsement and a master’s degree in early childhood education.
She taught in elementary schools, primarily as a first grade teacher, and during her last stint as an elementary teacher, she served as the demonstration teacher for Washoe County School District teaching first, second and third grade. During this time she completed her doctoral studies and received her doctorate in education from the University of Nevada, Reno. This spring she was named one of the University’s honored Foundation Professors.