Alum earns national recognition for literacy research

January 5, 2024

Jon Wargo, a doctoral graduate of the college’s Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) program, received the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Media Literacy Award. He was also named Early Literacy Teacher Educator of the Year.

As a researcher in literacy and a teacher educator at the Marsal Family School of Education (University of Michigan), Wargo examines the impact of media and technology in connection with the development of critical literacy in minoritized children and nondominant youth. Each year, the NCTE Media Literacy Award recognizes an educator who has developed innovative approaches for integrating media analysis and composition into their instruction.

Professional headshot of Jon Wargo.
CITE Ph.D. program alum Jon Wargo.

He utilizes the innovative and creative abilities of young people as indicators and sources for meaningful literacy education. “One of the things my work showcases is that young children are quite capable of being recognized as sophisticated knowers in spaces where others – perhaps with adult lenses  –  may understand them just as children,” he said.

The Early Literacy Teacher Educator Award, which is presented by the Early Childhood Education Assembly of NCTE, recognizes a teacher educator specializing in early childhood education with a focus on language and literacy development. In addition, the award acknowledges inclusive educators making an impact on the practice of English education in early childhood.

Wargo was recognized for both awards at the annual NCTE Annual Convention, which was held in Columbus, Ohio from Nov. 16-19, 2023.

During his time at the college, Wargo was inspired by his former Professors Django Paris, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Avner Segall, Peter De Costa, Trixie Smith, Susan Florio-Ruane and Cheryl Rosaen. “I had a phenomenal time with them as my professors and I just feel so grateful that I was at the college during a very special time,” he said. “One thing that MSU taught me is that the teacher education classroom is, and will forever be, a ripe site for inquiry.”