Rutgers Center for Literacy Development Recognizes Plainfield Educators

Joan Cansdale, Supervisor of Secondary English Language Arts Credits: Plainfield Public Schools
Donna Mullaney, Supervisor of Elementary English Language Arts Credits: Plainfield Public Schools

PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Rutgers Center for Literacy Development has recognized two English Language Arts (ELA) Supervisors in the Plainfield Public Schools district.

Joan Cansdale, Supervisor of Secondary English Language Arts, and Donna Mullaney, Supervisor of Elementary English Language Arts, were honored with the Literacy Development Award "for their commitment to providing high quality professional development for their teachers in Plainfield“ at an event in New Brunswick on April 24, 2017.

Each year Cansdale and Mullaney attend Rutgers Center for Literacy Development with their ELA Team and ELA Teacher Leaders.  The entire team participates in literacy trainings, with the goal of bringing what they have learned back to the district.  Once the training is over, the Teacher Leaders plan turnkey sessions at their schools.

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“We are honored by the recognition given to our educators by the Rutgers Center for Literacy Development. This award to Ms. Cansdale and Ms. Mullaney also acknowledges Plainfield Public Schools’ commitment to its students and their staff,” said Acting Superintendent of Plainfield Public Schools Dr. Debra J. Sheard.  “We are serious about our students’ education, and providing time and resources to increase our teachers' ability to meet the demands of the classroom is extremely important.”

Additionally, Cansdale and Mullaney wrote an article featured in the Rutgers Center’s newsletter entitled, “Making The Most of Summer Reading.” In their article they encourage families to continue reading during the summer months to prevent the “summer slide,” a drop in their reading skills.


Shared with permission for Rutgers Center for Literacy:

Written by Joan Cansdale and Donna Mullaney
Plainfield Public School District, New Jersey

With the summer days quickly approaching it is the perfect time to foster a love of reading and ensure children maintain the reading gains they made throughout the school year. 

Research shows children and adolescents who do not make reading a priority during the summer months experience a big drop in reading skills (Allington and McGill-Franzen, 2003). Providing opportunities to read over the summer is one way of preventing the “summer slide.” Making summer reading a priority can provide children with the tools necessary to ensure year-long learning success and cultivate a lifelong love of reading.

We know that motivation plays an important part in summer reading, but how do we get children interested in reading during those lazy, hazy days of summer?

In order for children to be excited about reading they need books that pique their interests and stimulate their curiosity. Are they interested in science, sports or travel? Do they enjoy mysteries, adventure or comedy stories? Choice is widely acknowledged as a method for enhancing motivation.  Researchers Worthy and McKool (1996) found that allowing students to make choices about their reading material increased the likelihood that they would engage more in reading. Other researchers, Guthrie and Wigfield (2000), suggest that providing genuine student choice increases effort and commitment to reading.

This summer, encourage children to make reading a priority. Provide ideas for helping them incorporate reading into their summer routine, such as:

  • Set aside time each day when the television is turned off and everyone reads.
  • Go outside and find a comfortable place to read.
  • Visit your local library to check out new books and magazines.
  • The library can also be a great resource for summer reading activities and for cooling off with a good book. Check to see the calendar of events they offer for the summer. 












For additional information, please contact Gloria Montealegre 908-731-4333. or Visit

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