María   G.  Leija

Assistant Professor  

Office: EEDUC 2.616
Phone: (956) 665-3409
Email: maria.leija@utrgv.edu

Dr. María G. Leija

María Leija, Ph.D., earned her doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bilingual and Literacy Studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her research focuses on elementary Latina/o preservice and in-service teachers’ pedagogical practices in Spanish/English bilingual classrooms. She utilizes Latino Critical Race theory to examine classroom discourse and pedagogical practices. She has examined and published on the use of children’s literature for teaching the social studies and language arts by capitalizing on themes such as immigration and Latino community cultural practices.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Bilingual preservice and inservice teachers' pedagogical practices
    • Biliteracy, bilingualism, and biculturalism
    • Latino children's literature
    • Read alouds
  • Education

    • PhD, Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas - Austin, 2017
    • MEd, Bilingual Education, Boise State University, 2007
    • BA, Elementary Education, Boise State University, 2003
  • Currently Teaching

    RLIT 6305 90L - Conducting Literacy Research:
    Syllabus
    Course Evaluations
    Textbooks
    READ 3320 12 - Early Literacy Development:
    Syllabus
    Course Evaluations
    Textbooks




Selected Publications


  • María Fránquiz, Maria Leija, and Irene Garza. "“Figuring” Bidirectional Home and School Connections Along the Biliteracy Continuum," Bilingual Research Journal 38, no. 2 (May 2015): 152-171.

  • Gilberto Lara and Maria Leija. "Discussing Gender Roles and Equality by Reading Max: The Stubborn Little Wolf.," Social Studies and the Young Learner 27, no. 2 (2014): 22-25.



Selected Grants and Fellowships


  • Maria Leija. Reflections on Teacher Education Practices of First-Year Tenure Track Professors at an HSI, 2017-2018 HSI SIRG Research Initiative, College of Education and P-16 Integration, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, $1,250.00 (September 2017 - August 2018)



Selected Presentations


  • Gilberto Lara and Maria Leija. "Recognizing Heterogeneity in Latino Cultural Knowledge," Literacy Research Association (LRA) Annual Conference, Literacy Research Association (LRA), Tampa, FL (November 2017)

  • Gilberto Lara and Maria Leija. "Culturally Relevant Children's Literature as Mentor Texts," Literacy Research Association (LRA) Annual Conference, Literacy Research Association (LRA), Tampa, FL (November 2017)

  • Maria Leija and Manuel Martínez. "Using Interactive Read Alouds to Discuss Immigration Issues," Biliteracy: Construyendo puentes y uniendo culturas, TABE, McAllen, TX (October 2017)

Current Courses

RLIT 6305 90L - Conducting Literacy Research:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks
READ 3320 12 - Early Literacy Development:
Syllabus
Course Evaluations
Textbooks

Previous Courses