Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Literacy - University of Maine - Literacy, Language, and Culture

Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Literacy - University of Maine - Literacy, Language, and Culture

Biography

Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine. She was also appointed the Correll Professor of Early Literacy. Dr. Bennett-Armistead received her doctorate in Teacher Education, Curriculum and Policy from Michigan State University, where she was also the director of Michigan State University’s Child Development Laboratory, the largest lab school in the United States. Dr. Bennett-Armistead has authored and co-authored four books, several articles, a children’s informational text series, a DVD on early literacy practices. She is the early literacy consultant for Raising Readers and a literacy consultant for Save the Children, U.S. She regularly speaks nationally and internationally on ways to support literacy development in homes and
early education settings.

Co-Author’s: William Dee Nichols, Ph.D.

What Now? What’s Next?: An examination the effects of a community collaboration to develop literacy and skills among incarcerated women


For three and a half years, the What Now? What’s Next? Project has worked to supply innovative programming for women incarcerated in a jail in northern New England. Through a partnership with the local adult education program, the correctional institution, the local Literacy Volunteers group, and literacy faculty from a neighboring university, weekly programs have been offered to women in the jail. This presentation will examine the types of programming and how it is offered as well as the effects on the more than 300 women who have engaged with it.

This presentation will detail the context, intervention and results of the What Now? What’s Next? Project, which is a community collaboration of an adult education program, university literacy faculty, a Literacy Volunteers group, and a county jail within a community that is experiencing a rapid inflation of the number of prisoners due, in part, to the growing drug epidemic in this New England state. The presenters will share how the collaboration developed, the creation of the intervention, and a view of the programming offered including writing groups, family literacy programming, book clubs, financial literacy programming and more. Over the three and a half years that the program has been running, more than 300 women have engaged with some aspect of the programming. Presenters will share samples of the women’s writing and hear stories of the effects of the programming on the women’s lives. Employing a qualitative approach, the presenters have examined the program since its inception and have observed several themes emerge but are left with many more questions. Participants in this session will be encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences with Justice Literacy programming.