William Dee Nichols

Dee NicholsProfessor of Literacy Education
Phone: 207.581.3117

226 Merrill Hall
University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469-5766

Bio: William Dee Nichols is a professor of literacy education and former dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine. Prior to his arrival at UMaine, Dr. Nichols served as director of the School of Teaching and Learning at Western Carolina University and chair of the Special Interest Group of Balanced Literacy for the International Reading Association. Dr. Nichols also has been a faculty member at Cumberland College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Virginia Tech University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of literacy development, literacy teaching methods and strategies, reading diagnosis, and young adult literature. His research interests include fluency development, vocabulary instruction, and reading comprehension with particular interest in professional development in these areas. He is also interested in the early stages of reading development and helping all learners develop a solid foundation in literacy. Dr. Nichols received the outstanding alumni award from the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University in 2013. He was awarded the Dean’s Research and Creative Achievement Award by UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development for the 2016-17 school year.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction w/ emphasis in Literacy, 1995, Texas A&M University
M.A.Ed. Elementary Education w/ certification in Literacy, 1991, Appalachian State University
B.S. Middle School Education w/ concentrations in Science and Language Arts, 1988, Appalachian State University

Courses taught at UMaine

EHD 101 The Art and Science of Teaching
ERL 319: Teaching Reading and Language Arts Preschool to Grade 3
ERL 320: Teaching Reading and Language Arts in Grades 4-8

ERL 537: Literacy Across the Curriculum
ERL 601: Graduate Seminar

Sample Publications

Refereed Journals

  • Nichols, W. D., Kellogg, R., Rupley, W. H., Rasinski, T. R., Paige, D. (Accepted 4-12-18). Why Poetry for Reading Instruction? Because We Can!, The Reading Teacher
  • Paige, D. D., Smith, G. S., Rupley, W. H., Nichols, W. D., Rasinski, T. R., Magpuri-Lavell, T. (2018). A PATH analytic model linking the impact of foundational skills to third-grade state reading achievement, The Journal of Educational Research
  • Henderson, D. C., Rupley, W. H., Nichols, J. A., Nichols, W. D., Rasinski, T. V. (2017). Triangulating teacher perception, classroom observations, and student work to evaluate secondary writing programs. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2017.1344941
  • Paige, D., Rupley, W. H., Smith, G., Rasinski, T.R., Nichols, W. D., Magpuri-Lavell, T. (2017). Is prosodic reading a strategy for comprehension? Journal for Educational Research Online, 9(2) 245-275.
  • Rasinski, T. R., Paige, D., Rains, C., Stewart, F., Julovich, B., Prenkert, D., Rupley, W. H., & Nichols, W. D. (2017). Effects of intensive fluency instruction on the reading proficiency of third-grade struggling readers. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2016.1250144
  • Brabham, B. C., Rupley, W. H., Nichols, J. A., Paige, D., Nichols, W. D., Rasinski, T. R. (2016) Teachers’ Perceptions and Implementation of Professional Development in Writing Instruction. Journal of Studies in Education, 6(3) 32-61 doi:10.5296/jse.v6i3.9620   
  • James, M.C., Nichols, J.A., Nichols, W.D., Rupley, W.H., Franks, A., Raskinski, T.V., & Paige, D.D. (2016). Tracking Exposed: The potential for undermining urban high school students’ academic success through course placement practices.  IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education, 6(3), 173-180. DOI: 10.9790/7388-060304173180  
  • Keil, M. J., Rupley, W. H., Nichols, J. A., Nichols, W. D., Paige, D., Rasinski, T. R. (2016). Teachers’ perceptions of engagement and effectiveness of school community partnerships: NASA’s online STEM professional development. Journal of Studies in Education, 6(2) 1-23.
  • Phillips, D., Nichols, W.D, Rupley, W., Page, D., Rasinski, T. (2016). Efficacy of professional development: Extended use of focused coaching on guided reading instruction for teachers of grades one, two, and three. International Research in Higher Education, 1(2) 12-24.
  • Rasinski, T., Chang, S., Edmondson, E., Nageldinger, J., Nigh, J., Remark, L., Srsen, K., Walsh-Moorman, E., Yildirim, K., Nichols, W., Page, D., & Rupley, W. (2016). Reading fluency and college readiness. The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 60(4) 453-460
  • Doi: 10.1002/jaal.559
  • Rasinski, T. R., Rupley, W. H., Paige, D.D., Nichols, W. D. (2016). Alternative text types to improve fluency for competent to struggling readers. International Journal of Instruction 9 (1), e-ISSN: 1308-1470 ● www.e-iji.net p-ISSN: 1694-609X
  • Mraz, M., Nichols, W. D., Caldwell, S., Beisley, R., Sargent, S. E., & Rupley, W.H. (2013). Improving oral reading fluency through readers’ theatre. Reading Horizons, 52 (2) 163-179.
  • Rupley, W. H., Nichols, W. D., Mraz, M.A., & Blair, T. R. (2012). Building conceptual understanding through vocabulary instruction. Reading Horizons, 51 (4) 299-321.


  • Rasinski, T.R., Rupley, W. H., Nichols, W. D.  (2012).  Phonics and Fluency Practice With Poetry:  Lessons That Tap the Power of Rhyming Verse to Improve Students’ Word Recognition, Automaticity, and Prosody; and Help Them Become Successful Readers.  New York:  Scholastic.

Refereed Yearbook chapters

  • Nichols, W. D., Rickelman, R., Young, C. A., & Rupley, W. H. (2008). Understanding and applying reading instructional strategies: Implications for professional development in the middle schools.  In M. Foote, F. Falk-Ross, S. Szabo, & M. B. Sampson (Eds.), Navigating the Literacy Waters: Research, Praxis, & Advocacy (220-236). College Reading Association Yearbook, Texas A&M University-Commerce.
  • Rupley, W., Willson, V., Mergen, S., Rodriguez, M., Nichols, W., & Logan, J. (1999).  Teachers use of informal assessment and students’ reading performance. .  In T. Shanahan and F. Rodriguez-Brown (Eds.)  National Reading Conference Yearbook 48, (pp.201-208).
  • Nichols, W., Rupley, W, & Mergen, S. (1999). Improving elementary teachers ability to implement reading strategies in their teaching of science content. In E. Sturtevant, J. Dugan, P. Linder, & W. Linek (Eds.), Literacy and community (188-213).  College Reading Association, Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Book Chapters

  • Nichols, W. D., Mraz, M., & Rupley, W. H. (In Press) Words everywhere: Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Learners. (IRA, Book Chapter)
  • Rasinski, T., Nichols, W., & Rupley, W. H. (In Press). Using Alternative Texts to develop Fluency for Struggling Readers.  (IRA Book Chapter)
  • Nichols, W. D., Mraz, M., Caldwell, S., Beisley, R. (2012). Increasing Students’ Oral Reading Fluency Through Readers’ Theater (IRA Book Chapter)
  • Rasinski, T., Rupley, W., & Nichols, W.D.  (2010). Two essential ingredients: Phonics and fluency getting to know each other (reprint in). In R. M. Bean, N. Heisey, and C. M. Roller (Eds.) Preparing Reading Professionals (second edition) Newark: DE The International Reading Association.  (This is a reprint of an article that was originally published in the 2009 The Reading Teacher, 62(3), 257-260.
  •  Nichols, W. D., Walker, B. J., & McIntyre, B. (2009) Assessing adolescent literacy. In K. D. Wood & W Blanton (Eds.), Literacy Instruction for Adolescents: Research-based Practice. Guilford Press.