Book talk focuses on building student resilience

Rachelle Savitz at the podium
Rachelle Savitz during her book talk on Nov. 16. (Photos by Kristen Martin)

The College of Education hosted a professional development book talk focused on Dr. Rachelle Savitz’s book, “Trauma-sensitive literacy instruction: Building student resilience in English language arts classrooms.”

“Our students — when they’re entering the classroom — are bringing all of who they are into the classroom,” said Savitz, an associate professor in the Department of Literacy Studies, History Education and English Education.

During the book talk, Savitz focused on several pillars, including investigating biases, providing academic choice, fostering peer-to-peer relationships, building from who students are and what they know, and sharing vulnerabilities.

“We really need to take into consideration if we’re asking our students to share and inviting them to open up, that’s part of what we need to do as well,” she said.

Participants had several moments throughout the event to discuss ideas with each other and share with the audience at large. One of the topics addressed how educators have intentionally considered and addressed the pillars Savitz mentioned in their classrooms, what it looked like and how students responded to it.

“We need to support our students for who they are,” she said. “We need to tell our students that their experiences are valid.”

A large piece of Savitz’s talk centered on the idea that schools are focused on the physical safety of students, but sometimes overlook their emotional safety.

A limited number of books were provided to attendees, due to the generosity of the Margaret Blount Harvey Literacy Institute. The talk was held November 16 in the Janice Faulkner Gallery of Joyner Library with help from the Joyney Library Teaching Resource Center.

Savitz standing in front of the audience
Savitz leads a breakout discussion during her book talk on Nov. 16.

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