Kyley Pulphus, Doctoral Candidate, awarded the 2023 Helen M. Robinson Grant by the International Literacy Association

July 11, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA - Kyley Pulphus, doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction in the Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education, has been recognized by the International Literacy Association (ILA) as the 2023 Helen M. Robinson Grant recipient. The ILA’s Helen M. Robinson grant was established in memory of eminent literacy scholar, Helen M. Robinson, to support a doctoral student in the early stages of their dissertation research in the area of reading and literacy. Robinson (1906 – 1988) was an American writer and stellar literacy educator, who assumed lead writer position of the Dick and Jane readers after the death of William S. Gray in 1960.

Applicants for the Helen M. Robinson Grant must be doctoral students at the planning phase or beginning stages of their dissertations in the area of reading and literacy. Through a rigorous evaluation process involving a committee of international literacy researchers, proposals were evaluated on the following: research question, rationale for the research, literature review, and methodology, as well as research significance, clarity, cohesion, and specificity of proposal. Applicants also were required to submit a budget and timeline for project as part of the application process.

Inspired by the lack of lack of access to quality writing instruction, which is especially problematic for young Writers of Color, Pulphus submitted her application and her plan to study the creation of a student-centered, culturally responsive, and antiracist elementary writing workshop. Pulphus focused her central research question on, How can individuals create antiracist, culturally responsive writing spaces? With a subsequent line of inquiry that seeks to explore what happens when Black students receive the support and affirmation they need to be successful writers?Kyley Pulphus

“I am humbled that ILA has selected me for this honor,” stated Pulphus. “This recognition affirms for me that this is an important topic for the field. It’s crucial that young people have learning environments that respect and honor the identities they bring to the classroom.”

Scheduled to begin data collection in the fall of 2023, Pulphus selected case study design to investigate a student-centered, culturally responsive, and antiracist elementary writing workshop. Pulphus’s study seeks to discover how the participants–the teacher and the young writers–perceive the experience, and to ascertain effective practices of all those involved. Writing workshop was initially created and operationalized by Graves and Murry (1980) and Graves (1983) and has been described as the “Gold Standard of writing instruction” (Newkirk & Kittle, 2013, p. 1). Writing workshop is an approach to the teaching of writing that is meant to support young people in becoming capable writers. Pulphus has been a both a traditional classroom teacher and a community-based educator, and her LLC, We Scribblin’ assists in the development of strong and thoughtful writers and writing teachers. Pulphus was also an award-winning children’s film maker and worked for Disney. Dr. Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, Pulphus’s major professor, a professor in the Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education, and Director of the LSU Writing Project, commented, “Kyley has been an exceptional doctoral student. It has been my privilege to work with her. As a Native New Orleanian who has devoted much of her educational career to working with mostly Black students, she is highly cognizant that young Writers of Color are vulnerable to systemic inequities that underestimate and undervalue their voices and intelligence, which is well documented in the literacy field. Kyley identified an issue and a gap in the literature, and her study promises to significantly contribute to the literacy field. Kyley Pulphus is also the rare doctoral student who has exemplified the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’ wherein she has influenced my thinking about writing instruction, and she has expanded my frames of reference in terms of anti-racist pedagogical practices and voice. This is a huge honor for her, and I am thrilled for her.”

About Lutrill and Pearl Payne LSU School of Education (SOE)

A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, the SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in Instructional Coaching, educational technology, and urban & community education, the SOE offers a writing pedagogy minor, and a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. Visit the LSU Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education

About LSU College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE)

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan. Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education.