In one current project, funded by a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Aukerman is examining how children in bilingual classroom settings make use of social and textual resources to make sense of first- and second-language text.
Additional areas of inquiry include the functions of student and teacher questions during talk about text; the affordances of various genres, including content area texts, for shared textual inquiry by children learning to read; and the social and dialogic dimensions of reading comprehension.
Aukerman’s research focuses on the relationship between classroom discourse and reading comprehension, with emphasis on children’s talk surrounding literature and their talk about nonfiction texts. She examines the pedagogical possibilities engendered by classroom contexts in which there is ample discursive space for children to explore their own and each other’s textual sense-making. In much of her work, she has sought to better understand alternatives to traditional teacher evaluation in situations where a student’s ideas might be perceived as incorrect or off-track. She has investigated how children become differently accountable to each other and to the text when the teacher deliberately steps away from a position of primary textual authority, and she has explored what those findings might mean to teachers in professional development settings. Her article, "When reading it wrong is getting it right: Shared evaluation pedagogy among struggling fifth grade readers," won the 2009 Albert J. Harris award from the International Reading Association.
“I argue that comprehending a text demands taking an evaluative stance with respect to it: That is to say, the reader must be in a position of one who knows, seeks to know, and discovers—and who has the authority to make claims about what a text says and means and what s/he thinks of that. The moment a reader makes those claims, s/he is evaluating, in the sense that s/he is assigning value and meaning to the text. Thus I propose that reading is a fundamentally evaluative task, and that by making the child’s evaluative stance toward the text irrelevant (which is what happens when reading instruction principally focuses on the teacher’s interpretation and interpretive techniques), we misrepresent to children what reading actually is.”
-from “When reading it wrong is getting it right: Shared evaluation pedagogy among struggling fifth grade readers” (Research in the Teaching of English, 2007)
Assistant Professor of Reading/Writing/Literacy, Graduate School of Education, The University of Pennsylvania, 2004-2008
Bilingual Elementary Teacher. Phoenix, AZ. 1994 - 1998
Aukerman, M., & Walsh, H.W. (2009). "Getting 'real' in virtual talk about text." The Middle School Journal, 49(4), 53-61.
Aukerman, M. (2008). “In praise of wiggle room: Locating comprehension in unlikely places.” Language Arts, 86(1), 52-60.
Aukerman, M., Belfatti, M. & Santori, D. (2008). “Teaching and learning dialogically organized reading instruction.” English Education, 40(4), 340-364.
Aukerman, M. (2007). “When reading it wrong is getting it right: Shared evaluation pedagogy among struggling fifth grade readers.” Research in the Teaching of English, 42(1), 56-103.
Aukerman, M. (2007). “A Culpable CALP: Rethinking the Conversational/Academic Language Proficiency Distinction in Early Literacy Instruction.” The Reading Teacher, 60(7), 626-635.
Aukerman, M. (2006). “Who’s afraid of the big ‘bad answer’?” Educational Leadership, 64(2), 37-41.
Aukerman works to bring interested teachers together to investigate the relationship between student sense-making, the nature of classroom talk, and reading instruction. She has provided instructional leadership for a number of practice-based professional development academies for teachers, including academies focused on dialogic discourse about scientific text, the role of text in mathematics, and emergent literacy.
Aukerman is currently on the review board for Language Arts as well as for the Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature (Routledge, 2009).