Skip to content Skip to navigation

Faculty members

Rebecca Silverman

Rebecca Silverman
Rebecca Silverman
Academic Title 
Associate Professor
Contact Information
Program Affiliations 
CTE: Literacy, Language, and English Education
Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD)
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)

I am currently working on several projects.  In one project, I am working with collaborators Patrick Proctor (Boston College) and Jeff Harring (University of Maryland) on analyzing reading and writing data from a study of the CLAVES Intervention in upper elementary schools.  CLAVES stands for Comprehension, Language, and Vocabulary for ELs and, in Spanish, claves means keys or clues.  We hope to help students develop the keys or clues to reading and writing in the upper elementary grades.  In another project, I am working with Jan Edwards, Ana Taboada Barber, and Jeff Harring at the University of Maryland on an evaluation of Toggle Talk, a code-switching intervention, in Baltimore, MD public schools (  Additionally, I am analyzing data from a study of cross-age peer learning with ELs and non-ELs in elementary school ( and from a study of a new early childcare and development program in Yangon, Myanmar where I was a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar.  

My research is focused on the language and literacy development and instruction of early childhood and elementary age children from diverse backgrounds.  I am particularly interested in how to best support children who may have difficulty in learning to read and write.  Some children have difficulty developing literacy due to problems related to decoding or encoding text (i.e., figuring out how sounds and symbols connect to make words).  Other children have difficulty developing literacy due to language-related differences.  My work focuses primarily on children in the latter group.  Some of my work is exploratory.  I investigate how language skills (e.g., semantics, syntax, morphology) influence reading and writing outcomes for both monolingual and bilingual children, and I study which classroom practices are positively correlated with children's language and literacy development.  Some of my work is experimental.  I develop and evaluate instruction that aims to support children's language development, and, thereby, their literacy development as well.  I have conducted studies on interactive and extended read alouds, peer learning, multimedia supports, and small group intervention.  In both my exploratory and experimental research, my goal is to shed light on innovative ways for facilitating the language development of diverse learners in order to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become proficient readers and writers in school and beyond.

Ed.D. Human Development and Psychology, Harvard University 2005

Ed.M. Language and Literacy, Harvard University, 2001

B.A. English, George Washington University, 1998

Visiting Associate Professor (Fulbright Scholar), Yangon University of Education, 2017-2018

Associate Professor, Special Education, University of Maryland, 2012-2018

Director, Language and Literacy Research Center, University of Maryland, 2014-2018

Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Maryland, 2006-2012

Director, Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard University, 2005-2006

EDUC228E: Becoming Literate in School I

EDUC228F: Becoming Literate in School II

EDUC 258: Literacy Development and Instruction

Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. M., Hartranft, A. M., Artzi, L., Nunn, S. J., & McNeish, D. (2017).  Effects of a cross-age peer learning program on the vocabulary and comprehension of ELs and non-ELs in elementary school.  Elementary School Journal, 117, 485-512.

Silverman, R. D., Taboada Barber, A., Doyle, C. B., & Templeton, S. (2016).  Vocabulary instruction for English learners across the elementary grades.  In Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy development with English learners.  New York, NY: Guilford.

Silverman, R. D. & Hartranft, A. M. (2015).  Developing vocabulary breadth and depth in young children.  New York, NY: Guilford. 

Silverman, R. D., Coker, D. L., Proctor, C. P, Harring, J. R., Piantedosi, K., & Meyer, A. G. (2015).  The relationship between language skills and writing outcomes for linguistically diverse students in upper elementary school.  Elementary School Journal, 116, 103-125.

Silverman, R. D., Proctor, C. P, Harring, J. R., Hartranft, A. M., Doyle, C. B., & Zelinke, S. B. (2015).  Language skills and reading comprehension in English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual children in grades 2-5.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28, 1381-1405.

Silverman, R. D., Proctor, C. P., Harring, J. R., Doyle, B., Mitchell, M. A., & Meyer, A. G. (2013).  Teachers’ instruction and students’ vocabulary and comprehension: An exploratory study with English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual students in grades 3-5.  Reading Research Quarterly, 49, 31-60.

Back to the Top