Dr. Linda J. Dorn

July 29, 1946September 18, 2019
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Dr. Linda J. Dorn of North Little Rock, Arkansas passed away peacefully on September 18 after losing her battle with colon cancer. Incredibly young at heart at 73, Linda J. Dorn was a professor emeritus of reading at UA Little Rock in the College of Education and Health Professions. Recently retired from UA Little Rock, Linda continued to support her doctoral students on a weekly basis and was integrally involved in the future planning for the Center for Literacy, a center that she created and served as the director since 2005. Known nation-wide for her pioneering work in teaching children read and training teachers to be effective teachers of reading, Linda J. Dorn authored 14 books and book chapters, 13 peer-reviewed journal articles, 26 technical reports, received state and federal grants totaling nearly 7 million dollars, delivered over 90 papers at international, national, and state reading conferences, gave 40 keynote addresses at national and state reading/literacy conferences, and served as the President of the Reading Recovery Council of North America. As a nationally recognized leader in literacy, Linda J. Dorn received the Distinguished Service in Literacy Award from the Arkansas State Reading Association in 2016, served on numerous editorial review boards including the prestigious Reading Recovery Journal and the International Journal of Language and Literacy. Teaching at UA Little Rock for 29 years, Linda J. Dorn developed and implemented the Literacy Coach Graduate Certificate program in 2004, the PhD in Reading program in 2008, and the Dyslexia Therapist Graduate Certificate program in 2015. As director of the Center for Literacy, she founded and directed the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy and the Comprehensive Intervention models in 2005 involving five universities across 12 states and 200 school districts; founded and directed the Comprehensive Literacy Learning Network in 2010 which networked over 300 active teacher leaders and teachers using video conferencing technologies. Known by her colleagues as an influential force in her field and full of graciousness and generosity, Linda J. Dorn received the University Faculty Excellence Award in Research in 2000, the UALR Graduation and Retention Medallion in 2014, the Gene Campbell Scholarship Research Award in 2018, and the College of Education and Health Professions Dean’s Award in 2019. Moreover, she received the 2010 Arkansas Powerful Woman Award for her commitment and dedication to reading efforts in Arkansas. Dedicated to her PhD and EdS students, Linda J. Dorn served as chair and major advisor for 14 dissertations since 2014 and 48 theses since 2010. At the time of her death, she was also serving as chair on 19 additional dissertations. Linda J. Dorn will be greatly missed by her colleagues and students in Arkansas and nationwide.

Linda is preceded in death by her parents, Raymond Williams and Katherine Hillard Williams. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Jan W. Dorn; her sons Jeff Swanner (Laura), Tony Swanner (Robin); step son Scott Dorn (Kay); step-daughters Ruth Anne Freeborn (Peter) and Elizabeth Dorn (Steve Wurtz) ,five grandchildren and one great grandchild and her brother, Jack Williams. She is also survived by her beloved “furbabies”, Mattie, Socks and Patty. Linda will be greatly missed by her family and friends as well as her colleagues and students in Arkansas and nationwide.

A Memorial Service honoring Linda will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, September 27th at Griffin Leggett Healy and Roth Funeral Home, 5800 West 12th St., Little Rock, Arkansas. Please share your memories of her with her family at


  • Raymond Williams, Father (deceased)
  • Katherine Hillard Williams, Mother (deceased)
  • Jan W. Dorn, Husband
  • Jeff (Laura) Swanner, Son
  • Tony (Robin) Swanner, Son
  • Scott (Kay) Dorn, Step-son
  • Ruth Anne (Peter) Freeborn, Step-daughter
  • Elizabeth Dorn (Steve Wurtz), Step-daughter
  • Jack Williams, Brother
  • Five Grandchildren
    One Great-Grandchild
    "Furbabies" Mattie, Socks and Patty


  • Memorial Service Friday, September 27, 2019


Dr. Linda J. Dorn

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jennifer Richardson

October 1, 2019

I am incredibly thankful for Linda's mentorship and friendship all these years and the time she spent with me. I have no words to express just how much sympathy I have for you, her family and friends. I know it will be hard to live without her in this world, and I pray that you find comfort in the everyday things that you shared with Linda, until we see her again.

Donna Franczek

September 29, 2019

You all have my sympathy. Dr. Dorn, fondly called, Linda : My professor who showed me what it means to teach literacy with a balanced approach.
My mentor who taught me to embrace the journey by setting lofty goals.
My friend who shared compassion and insight into struggling readers.
Thankful for being a part of my life Linda! Your dedication continues in me through all I touch as a literacy coach daily. LOVE!

V Anne Allen

September 29, 2019

As the first Reading Recovery Trainer for the establishment of the Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Programs at UALR, I knew and worked with Linda Jean at UALR for six years before my retirement. She was, indeed, a positive and committed force in the fields of reading and early literacy. Many children and students became literate because of her dedication; and teachers, statewide, became more efficient and effective literacy coaches. We send prayers for and condolences to her family and colleagues. Sincerely, Charles and Anne Allen

Susan Grogan

September 27, 2019

I add my sympathy to her family and friends. I cannot imagine your loss. I agree with everything that has been written about her here. Dr. Linda was so gracious and thoughtful to me, as well as everyone who studied under her. I was in the first Ph.D. cohort and I remember her emailing me back and forth with help at 1 AM and 2 AM several nights in a row, as I was finishing up my last dissertation chapters, working beyond the call of duty. Her books were incredibly useful for thousands of teachers and specialists and we all admired her, almost as a saint, which of course, she was to us. She taught us more than how to follow a child, she taught us to honor them. We love you, Linda.

Monica Guthrie

September 26, 2019

Linda was so smart! She was fun to be around, a kind person, a visionary, and so generous with her time and knowledge. Her vast knowledge drew me in. I wanted to soak in that knowledge during all of our professional development gatherings. I remember becoming part of the UALR family. I couldn’t wait to pack my bag, get on the plane, and head to UALR for a few days of deep thinking and wonderful discussions with Linda. Such wonderful memories. She challenged us to think and explore - that blessing will continue to serve me throughout my teaching career. Linda was my mentor and my friend who I will miss dearly.

To Linda’s family my heart aches for you. Prayers and thoughts of comfort are being sent out to all of you.

Rachel Mosher

September 26, 2019

I am so blessed to be able to say Linda was my friend through my career. Thank you, family, for sharing her with us. God only knows the impact she has made. May He fill you with peace, comfort and also blessings at this time of loss.

Andrea Landwehr

September 26, 2019

To Linda's Family,

We want you to know how much Linda touched our lives and changed the face of literacy in the Green Bay Area Public School District. She laid the literacy foundation for so many children and teachers in our community. Linda will always have a special place in our hearts...she was the connector of many of the wonderful relationships we cherish in Green Bay!

We are thinking of all of you today. We lost a beloved lost a wife, mother, grandmother, colleague and friend. Her legacy will live on forever.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your heart, mind and soul. You are the eternal pebble in the pond.

With love and deep admiration,
Kay, Kortney, Andrea....and all the lives you touched in Green Bay.

Connie Briggs

September 24, 2019

Linda had more energy and passion about her work than almost anyone I know. She was always willing to share resources she had developed and her time if requested. She made a huge contribution to the learning of others through Reading Recovery and the Comprehensive Literacy model that she developed.
She will be greatly missed by colleagues, friends, and former students.

Connie Briggs

Sharon Gates

September 24, 2019

Linda was a caring, supportive, and encouraging teacher leader, mentor and friend to me! She told me "Sharon, you have a passion for literacy. Go and share your passion and people will listen." I will hold all of the conversations I had with her in my heart. It was her passion for literacy that I so admired. I wondered sometimes if she ever slept! It was not uncommon to see emails of support sent out from her after midnight. She cared about teachers and held a high belief that they were the agents of change in our schools. As her student, a teacher, and her friend, she will always hold a special place in my heart and I will miss her!
I pray for God's comfort to all of Linda's family and close friends. .From the words of Winnie the Pooh....Linda...
"You may be gone from my sight, but you are never gone from my heart."

Silver White

September 24, 2019

I traveled to Little Rock from California many Summers to learn from Linda and bask in her warmth and love. I credit my gift of teaching reading and understanding how children learn to Linda and so many others she mentored.

I am a better person because Linda passed my way. My memories of her and Summers in Little Rock abound. Her vibrant spirit will always live on.

Silver White
Oakland, California