Past Institutes

Teaching and Understanding Literature (2020-2021 Online Series)

In the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, Humanities Texas held a weekly webinar series for English language arts teachers, providing resources and strategies that help students become more confident and sophisticated readers and effective writers.


The curriculum aligned with the TEKS, with presentations that examined how literature helps students cultivate empathy and understand history, focused on dynamic assignments that further students' engagement with literature, and emphasized the critical reading skills necessary for success at the post-secondary level.

Each faculty member led a 75-minute session over Zoom that included a lecture, Q&A, and discussion. Faculty addressed the following topics: teaching Close Reading and Analysis with the Close Reading Interpretive Tool; understanding students as writers; teaching and understanding poetry; authors Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass, and Sandra Cisneros; developing engaging writing assignments; graphic narratives; Native American literature and culture; Japanese American literature of the Internment; utopian and dystopian literature; creative reading and writing; Latinx literature; young adult literature; and Black literatures.

Like all Humanities Texas programs, the webinar series was content-based and teacher-centered, with an emphasis on teaching with texts and developing effective pedagogical strategies.


The spring webinar series was led by faculty director Sarah Ruffing Robbins (Texas Christian University). The fall and spring series featured presentations by Jennifer Buehler (Saint Louis University); Norma E. Cantú (Trinity University); Amy Earhart and Regina Mills of Texas A&M University; Betty Sue Flowers, Patricia M. García, Coleman Hutchison, and Susan Schorn of The University of Texas at Austin; Reneé Gokey (National Museum of the American Indian); Robert S. Levine (University of Maryland); Jenny Mann (New York University); Brandon Manning (Texas Christian University); Grace Morizawa (National Japanese American Historical Society); Naomi Shihab Nye (Young People's Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation; Texas State University); and Emmy Pérez (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley).


You can view the full schedule for both the fall and the spring webinars here.


The institute was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email