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Dr. Leighton earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University with a Spanish major and an Arabic minor. While teaching at a language immersion, elementary public charter school in Washington, D.C. she earned her M.Ed. from George Washington with licensure to teach Spanish and ESL. She continued to pursue her interest in bilingualism and biliteracy at Boston University where she earned her Ed.D. in the field of literacy and language. Dr. Leighton joined Emmanuel College in the fall of 2010. Dr. Leighton’s research focuses on ensuring students have meaningful learning opportunities that foster language and literacy development in increasingly multilingual and multicultural classrooms, schools, and communities. 

What I Love About Emmanuel: 

I love working with my students here at Emmanuel. It is inspiring to work with pre-service teachers, to share with them my experiences as a former classroom teacher, and to give them tools that will help them transform the lives of others through education.

Ed.D., Boston University; M.Ed., George Washington University; B.S.LA., Georgetown University

  • EDUC1111: The Great American Experiment
  • EDUC3211: Literacy and Literacy Methods I
  • EDUC3212: Literacy and Literacy Methods II
  • EDUC3300: Sheltered English Instruction: Teaching ELLs
  • ENGL3307: Survey of Literature for Children and Young Adults

Books 

  • Wagner, C.J., Frankel, K.K., & Leighton, C.M. (Eds.) (2024). Becoming Readers and Writers: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence, Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003271406

Refereed journal articles

  • Leighton, C.M., Giunco, K., Golden Hughes, T., Popp, J., Arya, P., Chen, X., Appleget, A., & Rose, C. (In press). Elementary teacher candidates’ expressions of agency around literacy. Teacher Development.
  • Arya, P., Rose, C., Chen, X., Appleget, C., Giunco, K., Golden Hughes, T., Leighton, C.M., & Popp, J. (2024). Examining Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Literacy Instruction. Action in Teacher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/01626620.2024.2357077

Selected Publications

  • O’Brien, L.M., Carocca, F.A., Enos, B., Leighton, C.M., & Caffey, E. (2021). Empowering Teachers to Reimagine Instruction that Builds Students’ Literacies. MRA Primer, 49(2), 9-27.https://issuu.com/vshinas/docs/2021_primer_journal
  • Leighton, C.M., Ford-Connors, E., Proctor, C. P., & Wyatt, J. (2021) Teacher talk that supports young multilingual students’ participation in Exploratory Discourse. Reading Psychology. doi: 10.1080/02702711.2021.1888354
  • Giunco, K., & Leighton, C.M., Balthazar, K. (2020). Enhancing reading engagement through the use of representative texts and grade-level “literacy partners”. MRA primer, 48(2), 24-38.
  • Leighton, C.M., Ford-Connors, E, Proctor, C.P., & Wyatt, J. (2019). Engaging Second-grade ELs in Complex Texts, Topics, and Tasks. Literacy and Research Instruction. doi: 10.1080/19388071.2019.1638473
  • Leighton, C.M., Ford-Connors, E., Robertson, D.A., Wyatt, J., Wagner, C.J., Proctor, C.P., & Paratore, J.R.. (2018). "Let's FaceTime tonight:" Using digital tools to enhance coaching. Reading Teacher72(1), 39-49. doi: 10.1002/trtr.1676
  • Leighton, C.M., O'Brien, L.M, Giunco, K. (2017). Advancing English learners' disciplinary knowledge and academic language using complex expository textNew England Research Association Journal, 52(1), 7-18.
  • O'Brien, L.M. & Leighton, C.M. Use of Increasingly Complex Text to Advance ELLs' Knowledge and Academic Language (2015). Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice. 64(1), 169-192. doi: 10.1177/2381336915617579 
  • O'Brien, L.M., Paratore, J. R., Leighton, C.M., Cassano, C., Krol-Sinclair, B., & Greif Green, J. (2014). Examining the differential effects of a family literacy program and the language and literacy growth of linguistically diverse children with varying English vocabularies, Journal of Literacy Research, 46(3), 383-415doi: 10.1177/1086296X14552180.

Book Chapters

  • Robertson, D.A., Dunham, V., & Leighton, C.M (in press). Leveraging digital tools to expand teachers’ access to literacy coaching: A review of the literature. Chapter proposal submitted to Research Handbook on Classroom Observation, Edward Elgar (invited).
  • Giunco, K., Leighton, C.M., & Tumushabe, G (2024). Designing literacy instruction to support critical consciousness: The case of one sixth-grade student. In K. Covino & C. Mulcahy (Eds.) Moving students toward empowerment, equity, and education for liberation: The intersections of critical pedagogy, critical literacy, and social justice. Rowman and Littlefield (Invited). 
  • Leighton, C.M., Wagner, C.J., & Frankel, K.K. (2024). Introduction: Approaching literacy from an identity perspective. In C. J. Wagner, K. K. Frankel, & C. M. Leighton (Eds.) Becoming Readers and Writers: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 1-8). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003271406-1
  • Leighton, C.M. (2024). Introduction to literate identities in middle childhood. In C. J. Wagner, K. K. Frankel, & C. M. Leighton (Eds.) Becoming Readers and Writers: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 67-72). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003271406-8
  • Giunco, K.M., Leighton, C.M., & O’Brien, L.M. (2024). Designing literacy instruction to support reading identity negotiations: The case of one fifth-grade classroom. In C. J. Wagner, K. K. Frankel, & C. M. Leighton (Eds.) Becoming Readers and Writers: Literate Identities Across Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 89-104). Routledge (invited). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003271406-10
  • Ossa-Parra, M., Wagner, C.J., Proctor, C.P., Leighton, C.M., Robertson, D.A., Paratore, J.R., & Ford-Connors, E. (2016). Dialogic reasoning: Supporting emergent bilingual students' language and literacy development. In C.P. Proctor, A. Boardman, & E.H. Hiebert (Eds.), Teaching emergent bilingual students: Flexible approaches in an era of new standards (pp. 119-137). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Ford-Connors, E., Robertson, D. A., Leighton, C., Paratore, J. R., Proctor, C. P., & Carney, M. (2015). Comprehension Instruction within the Context of Common Core Standards. In S. R. Parris & K. Headley (Eds.). Comprehension Instruction: Research Based Best Practices, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Social Media

Selected Presentations

  • Leighton, C.M., Giunco, K., & Tumushabe, G. Practitioner Inquiry in Support of a Novice Literacy Teacher’s Developing Agency. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Atlanta, GA, November 30, 2023.
  • Wagner, C.J., Frankel, K.K., & Leighton, C.M. (chairs). Literacy as an identity practice across childhood and adolescence. Alternative session presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Atlanta, GA, November 30, 2023.
  • Chen, X., Arya, P., Appleget, C., Giunco, K., Golden Hughes, T., Leighton, C.M., Popp, J. Rose, C., & Van Wig, A. Literacy PSTs’ Beliefs, Problems of Practice and Emerging Agency: A Call for Dialogue between Teacher Educators. Alternative session presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Atlanta, GA, December 1, 2023.
  • Giunco, K., Leighton, C.M., Tumushabe, G. Designing literacy instruction to support critical consciousness: The case of one sixth-grade student. Paper presented at New England Educational Research Organization, Portsmouth, NH, May 3, 2023. 
  • Giunco, K.M. Leighton, C.M, Tumushabe, G. Coaching to support a novice teacher’s efforts to be an agent of change. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Phoenix, AZ, December 1, 2022. 
  • Giunco, K., Leighton, C.M., & O’Brien, L.M. Sixth-grade students’ evolving reading identities when literacy is positioned as a tool for change. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association Conference, Atlanta, GA, December 1, 2021.
  • Leighton, C.M., O’Brien, L.M., & Giunco, K.M. Supporting positive reading identities in a fifth-grade classroom. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, virtual, December 2, 2020
  • Giunco, K., & Leighton, C.M. Enhancing reading engagement through the use of representative texts and grade-level "literacy partners". Sylvia D. Brown Scholarship, MRA ($990.64).
  • Emmanuel College Faculty Excellence in Teaching award recipient (2016-2017)
  • 2010: Elsbeth Melville Scholarship, Boston University Women's Guild
  • 2010: Invited alumni-graduation speaker, EWS Community Freedom Public Charter School
  • 2001: Nominated as DC Charter Schools' Teacher of the Year

Dr. Leighton is involved in several research projects to deepen understanding about literacy and language instruction grounded in asset-based view of both students and teachers. She collaborates with practicing teachers to foster teacher agency while exploring areas they identify as critical to their development as literacy instructors and to their students’ academic growth. Their work is iterative as they explore instructional approaches (e.g., teaching with complex and culturally relevant texts, engaging students in critical reasoning discussions, centering students’ literate identities in curriculum and instruction) to promote academic engagement, rich classroom discourse, and authentic literacy and language experiences. Her work is guided by the question: how can teacher educators contribute to the ongoing work of literacy teachers to implement meaningful and equitable instruction?