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Beyond Words: GCU Expert Explores the Benefit of Wordless Books

Lakewood, N.J., July 1, 2010—Reading is about more than getting the words right, according to Kathy Froriep, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Georgian Court University School of Education who will share her expertise on stories without words at an upcoming conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr. Froriep, codirector of the GCU Reading Center, will discuss the topic at the 23rd World Congress on Reading during the International Reading Association’s July 12–15 meeting. The Toms River resident and former Manchester elementary school teacher received a Lucile Cornetet Individual Award, which includes a $1,800 travel grant from the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation. Worldwide, the foundation has granted only $21,667 to outstanding educators—including Dr. Froriep—to underwrite their professional activities.

Stories without words and their usefulness have been among Dr. Froriep’s areas of expertise since 1993 when she was looking for ways to expand her classroom library. That year she won a grant, which allowed her to buy wordless books for her students and research their effectiveness.

“We aren’t talking about concept books or visual literacy,” says Dr. Froriep. “It’s about using what kids know about language and story grammar—things they already know. Stories without words build on students’ existing strengths. They allow students to think critically and creatively, and they put readers—not the author—in charge of the narrative.”

Her conference session, “Reading Wordless Books: What do you see? What does it mean?” will give literacy experts from around the world a chance to use hands-on activities that highlight the benefits of teaching and learning with wordless books. In recent years Dr. Froriep has also presented her findings on wordless books to the National Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey Education Association, and the N.J. Coalition for Inclusive Education.

About Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and the Lucile Cornetet Estate
A bequest from the Lucile Cornetet estate was the basis for establishing the Lucile Cornetet Professional Development Fund in 2005. Miss Cornetet, a long-time educator in Ohio, died in 2001. The Educational Foundation supports and encourages intercultural understanding and educational excellence. Established in 1964, the Foundation is a non-profit organization located in The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International headquarters in Austin, Texas. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, established in 1929, is an honorary organization for women educators with more than 107,000 members in 17 countries.

About Georgian Court University
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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