Laura Cutler

Expected Graduation: 2020


Early Childhood Education

Research Interest(s)

Children's literature, Fathers' participation in early literacy activities, Gender identity development in early childhood


  • Rena Hallam, Rob Palkovitz, Advisors

Laura Cutler

Laura has been in the field of early childhood for over ten years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Delaware and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Maryland. Laura taught kindergarten and first grade in the Florida public school system for 6 years before returning to her alma mater to accept a position with Delaware’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, Delaware Stars. Laura is currently a full-time Ph.D. student in the Department and is responsible for instructing two undergraduate courses: Life Span Development and Families & Developmental Disabilities. She also serves as Vice President of the Education Graduate Association and is a children’s and young adult book reviewer for the International Literacy Association’s blog. Laura’s research interests focus jointly on children’s literature and gender identity development in early childhood. She explores how children’s literature shapes identity development, particularly in regard to gender identity development, and investigates various aspects of the home literacy environment, including fathers’ participation in early literacy activities. Laura hopes to continue on an academic trajectory and plans to conduct research and deliver instruction at a post-secondary institution.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Projects

  • Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Picture Books: A Contemporary Content Analysis of Popular and Award-Winning Picture Books
  • Using Data to Refine Technical Assistance in QRIS: Lessons Learned From a Statewide Initiative Promoting Curriculum-Based Assessment

Recent Publications

  • Cutler, L. (2018). Challenging the familiar: Using fractured fairy tales to introduce critical literacy. Literacy Today, 35(6), 36-37.
  • Cutler, L., & Angus, C. (2018) International Literacy Association Book Reviews: International Children’s Books, April 2018
  • Cutler, L. (2015). Delaware Stars Curriculum and Assessment Pilot: Final Report June 2015. Delaware Stars for Early Success, University of Delaware;
  • Cutler, L. & Graham, S. (2008). Primary grade writing instruction: A national survey. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 907-919.

Recent Presentations

  • Cutler, L. & Buell, M. (2017). Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Picture Books: A Contemporary Content Analysis. International Literacy Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FL. Poster Presentation.
  • Ye. A., Cutler, L., Gilden, C., Xie, Y., Yun, Y, & Gaviria, Y. (2017). Investigating the Bidirectional Relationship Between Home Environment and Student Achievement: A Cross-Lagged Longitudinal Analysis. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • Cutler, L. & Buell, M. (2017). Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Picture Books: A Contemporary Content Analysis. Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX. Poster Presentation.
  • Cutler, L. (2017). The Power of Yet: Fostering a Growth Mindset in Children Through Picture Books. Read Aloud Delaware Conference, Middletown, DE.
  • Panel participant during the University of Patras’ 2nd Forum on Intercultural Dialogue & Learning: Educating the “Other”: Intercultural Education at a Crossroads. Patras, Greece. October 2016.
  • Hallam, R., & Cutler, L. (2016). Using Data to Refine Technical Assistance in QRIS: Lessons Learned From a Statewide Initiative Promoting Curriculum-Based Assessment. National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development, Baltimore, MD.
  • Cutler, L. (2016). Home Literacy Environments and Their Effects on Young Children’s Literacy Development: A Review of the Literature. Marion Steele Research Symposium, Newark, DE.
  • Cutler, L. (2016). Fractured Fairy Tales: A Vehicle for Introducing Critical Literacy in Early Childhood. Read Aloud Delaware Conference, Middletown, DE.

Professional Experiences

  • Curriculum and Assessment Program Coordinator and Professional Development Instructor , Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood, Delaware Stars for Early Success, University of Delaware, 2014-2017;
  • First Grade Teacher, Pershing Elementary School, Orange County Public School District, Orlando, FL, 2011-2013

Honors & Awards

  • Amy Rextrew Graduate Student Award, University of Delaware, 2018
  • Inaugural Recipient, Lynn R. Okagaki Graduate Tuition Scholarship in Human Development, University of Delaware, 2017
  • Professional Development Award, Office of Graduate and Professional Education, University of Delaware, 2016
  • Teacher of the Year Nominee, Pershing Elementary School, 2012
  • Cum Laude, University of Delaware, 2003
  • Degree with Distinction, University of Delaware, 2003

Professional Memberships

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • International Literacy Association (ILA)
    • Children’s Literature and Reading SIG
  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD)
  • National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
    • Ethnic Minorities SIG

Past Education

  • M.A. Special Education, University of Maryland, 2005
  • B.S. Early Childhood Development and Education, Early Childhood Special Education, University of Delaware, 2003