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Barbara Steckel

Professor, Program Director

Barbara Steckel headshot

Barbara is director of the reading programs in the Graduate School of Education. Her courses are enriched by her background as an elementary and middle school reading specialist, literacy coach, adolescent literacy consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and director of a district literacy program.

As coach and director of literacy she has made a significant contribution to improvement of literacy education through initiatives to introduce teachers and administrators to formative assessments, varied fiction and nonfiction materials, and research-based instructional practices. Her courses reflect her focus on the practical concerns and needs of teachers as they attempt to make a positive impact on the literacy lives of students.

Read Six Guiding Principles to Help Classroom Teachers Boost Literacy.

Dr. Steckel is active in various organizations:

  • Chair of Bylaws Committee, Massachusetts Reading Association 2020-2021
  • Past president of the Massachusetts Reading Association
  • The Massachusetts Association for College and University Reading Educators, President, 2014-2016.
  • Research Round Table Coordinator, Massachusetts Association for College and University Reading Educators, Sturbridge, MA, 2014.
  • Massachusetts Reading Association, On-line Member Services Committee, 2014.
  • Governing Board Member, Mason Pilot School, Roxbury, MA 2013-2016.
  • Literacy Researchers Association, Member.
  • The International Reading Association, Member.
  • Presents sessions on current issues in literacy at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Reading Association, the Greater Boston Council of the International Reading Association, Literacy For All, and The International Reading Association.

Selected Publications

  • Steckel, B., & Shinas, V., (2017). Technology integration for the twenty-first century classroom: Principles for effective planning. New England Journal of Reading. 52(1).
  • Van Vaerenewyck, L., Shinas, V., Steckel, B. (2017) Sarah’s story: One teacher’s enactment of TPACK plus in the history classroom. Literacy Research and Instruction.
  • Steckel, B., Shinas, V. (2017). It’s Not the Tools It’s the Teaching: Tips for Technology Integrated Vocabulary Instruction. LiteracyToday.34(3)
  • Mason, P., Shinas, V., Steckel, B., et.al, (2016). Readers, viewers, thinkers: Examining close reading through a practitioner’s lens: A white paper prepared by the Studies and Research Committee of the Massachusetts Reading Association. Primer 44 (2).
  • Steckel, B. and Shinas, V. (2016). A new reason to collaborate: Working together to support student learning with technology. Primer 44 (2).
  • Steckel, B. Shinas, V., Van Vaerenewyck, L. (2015). Artistic technology integration: Stories from primary and elementary classrooms. The Reading Teacher 69(1).
  • Steckel, B., (2009). Fulfilling the Promise of Urban Literacy Coaches: What Does it Take to Make an Impact? The Reading Teacher 63(1).
  • Steckel, B. (2009). A Coach’s Story, Primer 36(2).
  • Steckel, B. and Seymour M. (2008).  A Study Guide For Parents of High School Age Students, Assabet Valley Technical High School Title 1 Project publication.
  • Steckel, B. (2005).  Re-Conceptualizing Professional Development. Primer 33(1), 11-14.
  • Steckel, B. and Conroy, C.A. (2005).  Literacy Champions. Primer 33(1), 43-44. Reading Association, Studies and Research Committee publication.

Selected Presentations


  • The socio-cultural components of TPACK +, Literacy Research Association Association, research round table presentation, Nashville, Tennessee, Steckel and Shinas, December, 2017.
  • The roles of the reading specialist: Joys and challenges. International Literacy Association, Boston, Massachusetts, Barbara Steckel, Joshua Jenkins, Jaenine Cortazar, Ruth Guilford, Linda DiMartino, 2016.
  • Artistic technology integration in the literacy classroom: What teachers need to know. Session presented at the International Literacy Association, Annual Conference. Boston, Massachusetts, Steckel and Shinas. July 2016.
  • Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group Program. Session presented at the International Literacy Association Annual Conference Boston, Massachusetts.  Valerie Harlow Shinas and Barbara Steckel. July, 2016


  • Creating Inclusive Spaces: Reading, Writing, Thinking, Talking with Digital Tools, Community of Scholars, Lesley University, Shinas and Steckel. March, 2017
  • Apps for Engagement: Technology Integration Across the Curriculum. The 2nd Annual Literacy Carousel: Engagement Across the Curriculum, NOBSCOT Reading Council, Shinas and Steckel, March, 2017.
  • Technology Integrated Literacy Instruction: Tips for Vocabulary instruction, Bridgewater State University, Resource Conference for Reading Specialists, Invited Speakers, Steckel and Shinas. January, 2017.
  • Opportunities for Discourse, Critical Thinking, and Social Justice: Literature and Language in the classroom, Mason Pilot School, Boston, MA, Steckel, January 2016.

Research Project

Artistic Technology-Integrated Literacy Instruction, How do effective integrators of technology use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within literacy and disciplinary instruction - A conceptual framework and guiding principles for application into practice. 2013-2016.

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