Dr. Julie Bryant, associate professor of education, and Jennifer Fox, instructor of education, recently took over as the new co-editors of “The Missouri Reader,” the state peer-reviewed literacy journal published by the Missouri State Council of the International Reading Association (MSC-IRA).
Bryant and Fox have completely redesigned the publication, taking it from a static PDF document to a fully interactive online journal. The new look is more visually appealing with full-color pictures and embedded videos and is fully interactive with the ability to rate articles, leave comments and have immediate access to extended information.
They have also redesigned the types of content in the publication. In the past it was simply a scholarly research-based journal mostly featuring long research articles. While it is still a scholarly publication, they now feature shorter research articles, book reviews, classroom stories, author interviews and more.
Both Bryant and Fox had previously served as peer reviewers for “The Missouri Reader” and when the previous editors were ready to step down, Bryant and Fox were approached with this opportunity.
Fox’s area of expertise is in the intersection of technology and literacy and she wanted to use this knowledge to help move “The Missouri Reader” forward. “Through communication with the previous editors, we realized that this organization was struggling,” Fox said. “We want to do what we can to make it better. I knew that helping to overhaul the publication would really help our organization.”
Serving as editors is completely voluntary and they will hold the position until they are ready to step down. “The biggest challenge so far has been the time commitment,” Bryant said. “It has been really time consuming, yet so much fun. We are really contributing to literacy and so it is worth it.”
“It took me longer than expected to just figure out the platform for the digital publication and how to design it with the new format,” Fox said. “But the new interactive design is definitely worth the time I invested!”
Bryant and Fox are also excited about how this will benefit students in SBU’s Department of Education. The students also will have the opportunity to submit book reviews or articles and learn from the information presented through the publication. Three SBU students had work published in this latest edition.
“In the world of education, it is very significant to be published,” Fox said. “So this is a tremendous opportunity for our students.”
“This is also very much a professional journal,” Bryant said. “So it’s great for our students to be able to gain knowledge and be exposed to these professional development opportunities.”
Bryant and Fox teach their students that it is important to not just be active in their fields, but to be leaders. They want to be role models for their students and feel that serving as editors for “The Missouri Reader” is one way they can do this. According to Bryant, “we tell our students all the time that we never want to quit learning and this was another opportunity to demonstrate that.”
With the new online platform, they are confident that readership is increasing. Both professors also recently attended the Write to Learn conference where they were able to promote the publication as a means for promoting literacy in Missouri.
“The Missouri Reader” is a free publication and available to anyone. Membership to MSC-IRA is not required. The journal can be directly accessed at http://www.joomag.com/magazine/the-missouri-reader/M0556812001390325279.
Bryant and Fox feel this has been a great opportunity for them as individual professionals but also, more importantly, is a great opportunity to promote SBU in the education world and provide SBU students with additional professional development opportunities.
“We believe in literacy so much that this has been worth the time. It has been so much fun to do,” Fox said. “It gives us a way to better connect with authors, teachers, readers and others who have a vested interest in literacy in Missouri.”
“We’re completely excited about this,” Bryant said. “It has been so much fun to reveal the new and improved publication!”