Penny Kittle, Founder and Board President

"I want to change the world. I want hundreds of BLF libraries to be awarded each year. I want every teacher with the vision to transform reading to be given the resources to make it happen."

As teacher, author, and advocate, Penny Kittle is dedicated to helping students and teachers develop a passion for reading and writing.

Penny is an English teacher, literacy coach, and director of new teacher mentoring at Kennett High School in North Conway, New Hampshire. She teaches 10th, 11th, and 12th graders each fall and also occasionally in the alternative night school for adult students.

In the summer Penny teaches graduate students at the University of New Hampshire Literacy Institutes.

Throughout the year, she travels across the U.S. and Canada (and once in awhile even farther) speaking to teachers about empowering students through independence in literacy. She believes in curiosity, engagement, and deep thinking in schools for both students and their teachers.

Penny stands on the shoulders of her mentors, the Dons (Murray & Graves), and the Toms (Newkirk & Romano), in her belief that intentional teaching in a reading and writing workshop brings the greatest student investment and learning in a classroom.

In 2008, Penny received the Literacy Leader award for the state of New Hampshire, given by the New England Reading Association.

Penny is the author of Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers, Write Beside Them: risk, voice, and clarity in high school writing, Inside Writing: how to teach the details of craft & My Quick Writes (co-authored with her mentor and friend, Donald H. Graves), The Greatest Catch: a life in teaching, and Public Teaching: one kid at a time. She recently co-edited (with Tom Newkirk) a collection of Don Graves’ work, Children Want to Write: Don Graves and the Revolution in Children's Writing.

She was a columnist for Voices from the Middle, an NCTE publication, for six years.

Penny’s writing has been featured in ASCD’s Educational Leadership, The Colorado Reading Council Journal, The Manitoba ASCD Journal, The Journal of the Colorado Language Arts Society, California English, Scholastic, and Ohio State University’s Adolescent Literacy in Perspective Journal.

In 2009, Penny received the James N. Britton award from the National Council of Teachers of English for Write Beside Them. In 2015, Penny received the Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership of the National Council of Teachers of English.

In 2012 Penny and her husband founded the Book Love Foundation, a 501(3)(c) non-profit foundation with one goal: to put books in the hands of teenagers.

  • Lewis and Clark College, MAT, Education: English and Curriculum & Supervision
  • Oregon State University, BS, Elementary Education & Language Arts