Longtime Stenhouse author Linda Dorn passed away on September 18 after a brief struggle with cancer. Linda created nine books and videos for Stenhouse, including Teaching for Deep Comprehension and Apprenticeship in Literacy. A professor of Reading Education at the University of Little Rock, Linda was also the founder and director of the UALR Center for Literacy since 2005. There she created a professional learning model called the Comprehensive Literacy Model—a systemic design for continuous school improvement. Coaches, teachers, intervention teachers, Reading Recovery teachers, and Comprehensive Intervention Model teachers all working collaboratively in a clear, structured way to lift schools into excellence. It broadened into a national network involving partnerships with five universities across twelve states.
Stenhouse Senior Literacy editor Bill Varner was working with Linda on a new book when she died. “Linda and I had hoped to work together to increase the network, publishing books that further supported the network’s ideas—both in professional learning and literacy instruction,” said Varner, “and hopefully identify some new authors along the way. We have a book going into production that she just finished with her co-author Carla Soffos, entitled The Comprehensive Intervention Model. She worked right up until the last week of her life.
“When I joined Stenhouse,” Varner continued, “Linda was a key author in not only the financial success of the company, but also the philosophical core of our mission. Like Peter Johnston, she was an educator who internalized the ideas of the founder of Reading Recovery, Marie Clay, and extended that work in the U.S. Linda believed that teachers collaborating together—whether in the classroom or viewing the video in large Zoom chats with the different university partnerships—helped identify evidence-based best practice. One thing that especially stands out in Linda’s work for me is her intensity and drive. She was a passionate dynamo.”
“That’s a good description of Linda,” said Philippa Stratton, who co-founded Stenhouse and served as Linda’s editor for many years. “She was passionately driven to ensure that those students most in need received the instruction that would enable them to grow into literate human beings. And she was deeply generous and supportive to all who had the privilege of working with her in that endeavor.”
Linda embodied the core mission and identity of Stenhouse: supporting teachers as respected professionals who work together to improve instruction so that each child has the foundational skills to create agency over their own lives.