Park University’s Watson Literacy Center to Host “Powerful Texts” Event

Friday, August 16, 2013

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Blanche SoslandAug. 16, 2013 —The relationship between bullying and literacy among children will be the topic of discussion in the third installment of the Park University Dorothy Harper Watson Literacy Center’s 10th anniversary Powerful Texts Series. Blanche Sosland, Ph.D., a Park professor emeritus of education, will be the guest speaker at the event, to be held Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m., in Room 221A of the Mabee Learning Center/Academic Underground on the University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

In her presentation, “The Power of Texts, the Power of Kindness,” Sosland will discuss her work on the problem of and causes of bullying, including the cycles of frustration and failure that students experience in schools that can lead to students becoming bullies, targets of bullying or both. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

Sosland is co-author, with SuEllen Fried, a 1975 Park graduate, of Banishing Bullying Behavior: Transforming the Culture of Pain, Rage and Revenge and Banishing Bullying Behavior: Transforming the Culture of Peer Abuse. Sosland’s focus is on literacy and how success or failure at learning to read can make the difference in whether a child experiences school in positive or negative ways.

“Dr. Sosland’s passion for helping students experience success and avoid frustration has always been central to her work, and I am certain that this passion will be evident to everyone who attends her presentation,” said Kathy Lofflin, Ph.D., associate professor of education and director of the DHWLC. “Kindness can be powerful. Her work is all about breaking the cycles of pain, anger and cruelty that are too often a part of the school culture.”

The Literacy Center’s Powerful Texts Series invites local authors with ties to Park to share how texts have been powerful for them and for others. Authors speak about their inspiration, skills and goals for making a difference with their work. The DHWLC is named for Dorothy Harper Watson, Ph.D., a 1952 graduate of Park University and an internationally known literacy researcher, advocate and educator. Because she believed Park provided learning opportunities that she might not have had otherwise, she thanked the University by endowing the Literacy Center at Park, which was dedicated in June 2003.

For more information about the Dorothy Harper Watson Literacy Center or the Powerful Texts Series, contact Lofflin at or (816) 584-6419.