Mary Napoli, Ph.D.

Mary Napoli, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Reading, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education
Professor-in-Charge, Master of Education in Literacy Education
Program Coordinator, Literacy Leadership Certificate
Program Coordinator, Reading Specialist Certification Program
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W331

    Dr. Mary Napoli is an Associate Professor of Reading and Children's Literature. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Language and Literacy education with a minor in women's studies from The Pennsylvania State University. She has published numerous books, articles, book chapters, and professional resource materials pertaining to children's literature. As a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher, she brings a wealth of practical classroom experience, extensive knowledge of children's literature, literacy resources, and strategies to her undergraduate and graduate teaching.

    Dr. Napoli has served as a member of numerous book award committees including the International Literacy Association Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award Committee ( 2015-2016), Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Committee for Peace and Social Justice ( 2013- 2016), , National Council of Teachers of English, NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children committee (2009-2012), National Council of Teachers of English, Children’s Literature Assembly Notable Books in the Language Arts Award committee, (2007-2011). Member, Baker’s Dozen Committee, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book ( 2009-2010), Notable Books for a Global Society Committee, International Literacy Association/Children’s Literature Special Interest Group, (2003-2006). Chair, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Committee, the Pennsylvania Center for the book ( 2004-2005).

    Research Interests

    Children's and adolescent literature

    Critical literacy

    Transactional theory of reader response


    Colabucci, L. & Napoli, M. (2020). Books as Partners: Diverse Literature in the Early Childhood Classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

    Napoli, M. & Berger-Knorr, A. (2018). Teaching for social justice: Nonfiction texts and multigenre writing. In V. Yenika-Agbaw, R.M. Lowery, & P.H. Ricks (Eds.), Using nonfiction for civic engagement in classrooms: Critical approaches (pp. 39-51). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Colabucci, L., & Napoli, M. (2017). Beyond compassion? An analysis of the Jane Addams children's book award. Journal of Children's Literature, 43(1), 28-36.

    Napoli, M. & Sychterz, T. (2015). Chatting with artists: Multimodal illustrator studies. In V. Yenika-Agbaw & T. Sychterz (Eds.), Adolescents rewrite their worlds: Using literature to illustrate writing forms (pp.127-147). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Napoli, M. & Sychertz, T. (2015). Graphic novels come alive in a sixth grade classroom. In V. Yenika-Agbaw & T. Sychterz (Eds.), Adolescents rewrite their worlds: Using literature to illustrate writing forms (pp. 148-162 ). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Janisch, C., Liu, X., Akrofi, A., & Napoli, M. (2014). An exploratory inquiry of wordless picture book oral compositions across cultures. In C.B. Leung, J., C. Richards, & C.A. Lassonde (Eds.), International collaborations in literacy research and practice (pp. 85-97). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

    Napoli, M., Van Zile, S., & Ritholz, E. (2012). Literary elements tool kit for grades 4-8. New York: Scholastic.

    Napoli, M., Van Zile, S., & Ritholz, E. (2012). Using picture books to teach 8 essential literary elements. New York: Scholastic.

    Napoli, M. (2012). Girls around the globe as advocates for political, cultural and social literacy at home. In E. O’Quinn (Ed.), Girls’ literacy experiences in and out of school: Learning and composing gendered practices (pp. 71-89). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Napoli, M. (2011). The enduring influence of Judy Blume. The Journal of Reading, Writing, and Literacy, 51(1), 89-99.

    Napoli, M. (2011). Going green: Empowering readers to change the environment. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 47(2), 76-79.

    Akrofi, A., Liu, X., Janisch, C., & Napoli, M. (2011). The Red book travels to China, Ghana and back to the U.S.:How wordless picture books shaped narrative understandings of stories. Childhood Education, 87(6), 387-394.

    Yenika-Agbaw, V., & Napoli, M. (Eds.). (2011). African and African American children’s and adolescent literature in the classroom: A guide for teachers. New York: Peter Lang Publishers, Black Studies & Critical Thinking series.

    Wilburne, J., Keat, J., & Napoli, M. (2011). Cowboys count, monkeys measure, and princesses problem solve: Building early math skills through storybooks. Baltimore, MD: Brooke’s Publishing Company.

    Napoli, M. & Van Zile, S. (2008). Teaching literary elements with picture books. New York: Scholastic.


    Ph.D., Language and Literacy Education, Pennsylvania State University

    M.S., Reading Education, Marywood University

    B.S., Elementary Education, East Stroudsburg University

    Course Schedule
    EDUC 321: Methods of Teaching Intermediate and Advanced Readers
    EDUC 320: Teaching Beginning Readers
    EDUC 352: Teaching Language Arts
    EDUC 421: Children’s Literature
    EDUC 432: Children’s Literature in the Writing Curriculum
    EDUC 422: Literature for Children and Adolescents
    EDUC 452: Teaching Writing
    EDUC 497B: Special Topics - Multicultural Children’s Literature
    EDUC 565: Literacy Leadership
    LLED 594: Research in Language and Literacy