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Ryan McCarty


Assistant Professor, Reading and Language Department

Programs/Classes Taught:

Programs: M.A.T. in Elementary Education, M.A.T. in Secondary Education, M.Ed. in Reading


RLL 539: Literacy Methods II: Grades 5-9
RLR 540: Teaching Content Area Literacy at the Middle and Secondary Level


RLR 593: Seminar in Reading Research
RLR 510: Diagnosis and Assessment of Reading
RLR 511: Instructional Strategies for Literacy Interventions

Dr. Ryan McCarty’s philosophy of education is to approach teaching as working for social justice, with the goal of creating a more equitable world.  He specializes in preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to support the literacy achievement of diverse students.

Areas of Expertise:

Disciplinary Literacy, Argumentative Writing, Literacy Assessment, Literacy Leadership


Dr. Ryan McCarty joined the faculty of the Reading and Language Program at National Louis University in the Fall of 2016.  He teaches classes in reading methods, content area literacy, reading research, and reading diagnosis and intervention.  He also runs the North Shore Summer Reading Improvement Program, which provides one-on-one tutoring to students who are experiencing reading or writing difficulties.

Dr. McCarty’s research interests include disciplinary literacy and argumentative writing.  He studies how diverse students can use advanced literacy practices from disciplines like history and science to write effective arguments and advocate for change in their communities.  He also provides professional development and literacy leadership consulting services to Chicago-area schools.

Prior to joining NLU, Dr. McCarty coached principals and school leaders with a national education nonprofit in Massachusetts, helping them use assessment data and best practices in literacy instruction to ensure students met the Common Core State Standards.  He also worked with district leaders to design and deliver literacy professional development for principals, coaches, and teachers.

Ryan previously worked within Chicago Public Schools as a literacy coordinator and coach for a large school management organization.   He taught middle and high school English, Reading, and History in CPS and the northern and western suburbs of Chicago for 10 years.  An alumnus of National Louis University, Ryan enjoys the opportunity that NLU affords to work with adult learners who are committed to making an impact on the lives of their students.

Ryan was named an Emerging Education Policy Scholar for 2014-2015 by Fordham Institute/AEI.  He has presented his research at a number of national literacy conferences and has worked as a blogger for a national teaching website. 


PhD, Language, Literacy and Culture, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016
M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, National Louis University, 2001
B.S., Secondary Education, Indiana University, 1998

Research and Interests:

Students are bombarded by conflicting messages from dubious sources every day as they read texts online and engage with other media.  As the current election cycle underscores, the ability to deal with competing claims and misleading rhetoric is essential in today’s world.  Disciplinary literacy, which apprentices students into the literacy practices that experts use in disciplines such as history and science, can help students manage the heavy literacy demands of 21st Century citizenship.

Dr. McCarty is engaged in design-based research of an approach to helping diverse students read across texts and write effective historical arguments by improving their use of warrants, or statements that explain how evidence supports their claim.  He is also developing a case study with a local high school to examine how to increase the enrollment of Latino students in Advanced Placement courses and ensure they are successful once they get there.  He plans to study how teachers can use technology to scaffold the reading of complex disciplinary texts in a tutoring setting.


McCarty, R. (December, 2015).  “Heuristics as warrants: Leveraging sourcing and corroboration heuristics as warrants in the historical argumentative writing of 11th grade students”. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Carlsbad, CA.

McCarty, R. (May, 2013) “A Meta-Analysis of Historical Argumentation”. Paper presented at the Campbell Collaboration Colloquium, Chicago, IL.

McCarty, R. and Parsons, M. (May, 2010) “I’m Looking for a Black Man’s Face on Some Money”: Recognizing Students Funds of Knowledge for Social Studies Learning. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Bloomington, IL.

McCarty, R. and Parsons, M. (November, 2009) “What’s Writing Got to Do With Social Studies?” Collaborative Action Research on Integrating Content Area Writing & Social Studies. Paper presented at the National Council for the Social Studies, Atlanta, GA.

McMahon, S.I. and McCarty, R.P. (December, 2008) Content Area Literacy: Bridging University and Classroom, Theory and Practice. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference, Orlando, FL.

Raphael, T.E., McCarty, R.P. & McMahon, S.I. (February, 2008). The Evolving Identities of Participants in the Standards Based Change Process: Building Capacity for Long-Term Change. Paper presented at the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research Annual Meeting, Bloomington, IN.

McMahon, S.I., McCarty, R.P., & Raphael, T.E. (November, 2007). Using Formative Needs Assessments as Ongoing Interventions for Schools Engaged in Standards-Based Change. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference, Austin, TX.

Contact Information:

Phone: (312) 261-3782 
Twitter: @RyanP_McCarty

National Louis University
122 S. Michigan Ave.
Rm. 3050
Chicago, IL 60603


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
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