Christina L. Dobbs

Assistant Professor
Program Director, English Education

Dr. Christina L. Dobbs is an assistant professor and director of the English Education program. Her research interests include academic language development, the argumentative writing of students, and professional development for secondary content teachers. Her work has been published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, Professional Development in Education, and the Journal of School Leadership. She is the author of several books, including Investigating Disciplinary Literacy (2017) and Disciplinary Literacy Inquiry & Instruction (2019).  She is a former high school teacher in Houston, Texas, as well as a literacy coach and reading specialist.

EdD, Human Development & Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

MEd, Language & Literacy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

BA, English, Texas A&M University

Dr. Dobbs' research program takes a fine-grained approach to looking at how students explicitly use academic language in their persuasive essays. The current dataset is one of the largest ever assembled for close study at the middle school level, studying approximately 750 essays on a variety of topics written by 179 middle graders over the course of a supplemental vocabulary intervention. The studies being conducted analyze this data closely for a variety of language features ranging from word-level to discourse-level structures, providing us with heretofore unknown information about students' writing development.

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Dr. Christina Dobbs Contributes to ILA’s First-Ever Set of National Standards for Literacy Professionals

Phillips Galloway, E., Dobbs, C. L., Olivo, M., & Madigan, C. (2019). ‘You can…’: An examination of linguistically-diverse learners’ development of metalanguage and agency as language users of academic register within a heteroglossic instructional approach.  Linguistics and Education, 50, 13-24.

Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L., & Charner-Laird, M. (2019, March). Disciplinary Literacy Inquiry & Instruction.  West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International and International Literacy Association.

Baron, C., Dobbs, C. L., & Martínez-Álvarez, P. (2018). Using historical building analysis to support English language learners’ bi-cultural and historical thinking skills development. In L. C. de Oliveira & K. M. Obenchain (Eds.), Teaching History and Social Studies to English Language Learners: Preparing Pre-service and Inservice Teachers (pp. 67-92).  Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J., & Charner-Laird, M. (2017).  Investigating disciplinary literacy: A framework for collaborative professional learning.  Cambridge: MA: Harvard Education Press.

Dobbs, C. L., Ippolito, J., & Charner-Laird, M. (2017). Scaling up professional learning: Technical expectations and adaptive challenges. Professional Development and Education, 43(5), 729-748.

Dobbs, C. L. & Kearns, D. (2016). Using new vocabulary in writing: Exploring how word and learner characteristics relate to the likelihood that writers use newly taught vocabulary. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 29(9), 1817-1843.

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