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Julie Coiro

About Julie Coiro

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Julie Coiro

University of Rhode Island


Julie Coiro is Professor of Reading in the School of Education at the University of Rhode Island, where she currently teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in elementary and secondary literacy. Coiro speaks with educators nationally and internationally to share ideas about reading comprehension strategy instruction, the new literacies of the Internet, online reading comprehension, and effective practices for technology integration and professional development. Prior to her position at URI, Julie worked with Donald Leu, as Co-Director of The New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut.


Research. Julie Coiro’s scholarly activity as a reading researcher follows a series of five related research paths that seek to examine the changing nature of new Internet technologies and how that impacts thinking about literacy theory, students’ literacy development, reading comprehension assessment, professional development, and classroom instruction.  She has published widely in venues such as Reading Research Quarterly, Journal of Literacy Research, The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Theoretical Processes and Models of Reading (5th edition), The Handbook of Research on Teaching The English Language Arts (3rd edition), and The International Handbook of Literacy and Technology (2nd edition). Early in her research career, Coiro argued for a broader conception of reading comprehension that considered multiple aspects of reading on the Internet in her article Reading Comprehension on the Internet and she co-authored a handbook chapter, Toward a Theory of New Literacies Emerging from the Internet and Other Information and Communication Technologies, that helped to define an emerging theory of new literacies of online reading comprehension. From 2005-2008, she worked in school classrooms as part of the Teaching Internet Comprehension to Adolescents (TICA) Project, a federal research grant funded by the U. S. Department of Education. This project involved developing and refining an inquiry-based intervention called Internet Reciprocal Teaching and evaluating its effects on 7th grade students in economically challenged urban and rural school districts in Connecticut and South Carolina. In 2007, Coiro received an award from the Kansas Reading Association for Exploring the Online Comprehension Strategies Used By Sixth-Grade Skilled Readers to Search For and Locate Information on the Internet, a co-authored study published in Reading Research Quarterly. She also completed her dissertation , published in the Journal of Literacy Research, to further investigate the extent to which new online reading skills and strategies are required to comprehend information on the Internet.  


In 2008, she co-edited, with three colleagues, The Handbook of Research on New Literacies, a collection of 38 chapters by 60 authors from 7 countries who sought to integrate multiple lines of research in new literacies and more fully understand the complex issues associated with the changing nature of literacy in a digital age. Her second co-authored book, Teaching with the Internet K-12: Lessons from the Classroom (4th edition) links principles of new literacies to tangible lessons for elementary and secondary teachers across each of the content areas, with additional chapters for younger children, students with special needs, and students learning English as a second language. 


Coiro currently works as Co-Principal Investigator on The ORCA Project, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Connecticut, Pennsylvania State University, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences. This five-year project, funded by the U. S. Department of Education, seeks to develop, refine, and evaluate the reliability, validity, and practicality of three formats of online reading comprehension assessments (ORCAs). Between 2011 and 2013, these assessments will be used to measure the online research and comprehension skills of over 3,000 adolescents in Connecticut, Maine, and North Carolina. The results will communicate to states important information about the assessment of online reading comprehension and a preliminary version of what this might look like for adolescents.


Coiro’s research has been formally recognized by several organizations in the reading community.  In 2009, the International Reading Association (IRA) selected her as a distinguished finalist for the IRA Outstanding Dissertation of the Year, and in 2012, she was selected as a recipient of the Frank Pajares Award for Outstanding Work by the editors of the journal Theory Into Practice for her article Talking About Reading As Thinking: Modeling the Hidden Complexities of Online Reading Comprehension, that translated new literacies theory into practical, think-aloud models for classroom teachers.  Most recently, she was awarded the 2012 Early Career Achievement Award by the Literacy Research Association, which recognizes scholars early in their career who have made significant contributions to literacy research and education.



Teaching. Coiro teaches undergraduate courses in reading for elementary and secondary teachers, and she teaches graduate students in the URI’s Master’s in Reading Program.  She supervises graduate students interested in reading comprehension and educational inquiry across the curriculum and she offers short-term and long-term systematic professional development opportunities to educators around the country focused on how to integrate research-based instructional practices with rapidly emerging technologies. Before working in higher education, Coiro taught for nine years with students with a range of learning disabilities and social-emotional disorders in preschool, elementary, and middle school classroom settings.  



Advocacy and Service.  Julie Coiro works to increase awareness and understanding of the reading, writing, and communication skills needed to excel in a digital information society. Here in Rhode Island, Coiro initiated the URI Research Collaborative, a partnership with undergraduates, graduates, and faculty that offers independent study opportunities to collaborate on research projects around new literacies and participate in the In2Books e-mentoring experience. In2Books is a curriculum-based eMentoring program for Title I students distributed through the ePals Foundation. In 2009, Coiro received a small competitive grant through the URI Foundation to purchase a collection of 200 high-quality children’s books that are housed in the Curriculum Materials Library to support URI students volunteering in the In2Books program as well as other URI students preparing to work with children in some capacity.  Coiro’s white paper, co-authored with Clint Kennedy and titled The Online Reading Comprehension Assessment (ORCA) Project: Preparing Students For Common Core Standards and 21st Century Literacies, helps local educators understand the many ways in which her research team’s vision of online reading comprehension assessment reflects key elements of what students are expected to accomplish by seventh grade, according to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.


On a national level, Coiro headed up the revision of the International Reading Association’s (IRA) Position Statement on New Literacies and 21st Century Technologies and she coordinates the annual review and selection of IRA’s Innovative Teacher Award for Technology and Reading. In her dual roles as chair of IRA’s Technology, Communication, and Literacy Committee and President of the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group [TILE-SIG], she organizes an annual Pre-Conference Institute, facilitates a group of TILE-SIG members who author weekly blog posts for Reading Today Online, co-edits the TILE-SIG newsletter, and coordinates a series of roundtable sessions about literacy and technology integration at the TILE-SIG’s annual meeting.


Julie Coiro received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in the area of Cognition and Instruction from the University of Connecticut, a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of New Orleans with a focus on reading, and a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Connecticut with a focus on students with learning disabilities.  



Click here to access her current CV or visit Coiro’s website at to access some of her recent publications.


Julie offers presentations, keynote addresses, workshops and seminars. Contact Julie directly at or phone (401) 874-4872 for more information.