Dr. Tara Thompson’s career started as an Early Childhood teacher in South Carolina where she has continued teaching for 26 years. She is a former classroom teacher and reading interventionist and taught kids kindergarten through fifth grade. For the last nine years Dr. Thompson has worked as a reading coach and a response to intervention specialist in Chapin, SC. As a literacy coach, she often made video tapes of exemplary teachers and three of those are part of the book Reading Revealed: 50 Expert Teachers Share What They Do and Why They Do (Stephens, D., Harste, J.C & Clyde, J. A., 2019). She also made two videos for the book. In one, she talks to fourth graders about Book Talks and in the other, Dr. Pamela Jewett interviews her about the Hypothesis-Test process. This publication is a rich resource for all K-5 teachers. It is designed to help them learn about literacy practices that ensure reading is experienced as joyful, personal, relevant, and meaningful. Prior to this, Dr. Thompson was a co-author on a publication in Reading Teacher.
Dr. Thompson is also an adjunct professor who teaches in the Department of Graduate Education and Leadership/Literacy program for Canisius University and the University of South Carolina. She is passionate about teaching readers and writers and was awarded Columbia Area Reading Council's (CARC) 2018-2019 Distinguished Reading Teacher of the Year award. Dr. Thompson earned National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education in 2001 and 2011, and earned a PhD in Language and Literacy from the University of South Carolina in December 2018. Her research focused on reading engagement and the impact on student identities and achievement. Implications from her work suggest that when teachers engage kids in conversations that consistently revolve around what they did, said, and felt in the midst of reading text, they can better understand their students’ reading identities and help them refine their understanding of text. Acting and interacting to understand in this way simultaneously sends messages to kids that who they are is equally important as how they are. This contributes to relationship building and seamlessly weaves together teaching and learning about texts and one another.