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Faculty members

Rebecca Silverman

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

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.  See https://clavescurriculum.org/.  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 dialect-shifting intervention, in Baltimore, MD public schools (https://learningtotalk.umd.edu/toggletalk/).  In a third project, I have worked with colleagues at the University of Maryland on the Children Study their World preschool curriculum.  We plan to study the curriculum in schools in the coming years.  See https://education.umd.edu/about-college/administration/csw.  Additionally, I am analyzing data from a study of multimedia-enhanced cross-age peer learning with ELs and non-ELs in elementary school (https://ca.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/msrb).  Finally, I am writing up findings from a study of a new early childcare and development program in Yangon, Myanmar where I was a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar.  Across all of these projects, my interest is in identifying ways to support children in early childhood and elementary school setting develop the reading and writing skills needed in school and beyond.

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., Artzi, L., McNeish, D., Hartranft, A. M., Martin-Beltran, M., & Peercy, M. M. (2019.)  Effects of different media on vocabulary learning in kindergarten and fourth grade. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 56, 106-116.

Martin-Beltrán, M., Montoya-Ávila, A., García, A.,Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2019). ‘Time for una pregunta’: Understanding Spanish use and interlocutor response among young English learners in cross-age peer interactions while reading and discussing text. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.  22 (1), 17-34.

Michener, C. J., Proctor, C. P., & Silverman, R. D. (2018). Features of instructional talk prediction of reading comprehension.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 31, 725-756.

Proctor, C. P., Harring, J. R., & Silverman, R. D. (2017). Linguistic interdependence between Spanish language and English language and reading: A longitudinal exploration from second through fifth grade.  Bilingual Research Journal, 40, 372-391.

Martin-Beltran, M., Tigert, J., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2017).  Developing a zone of relevance: Emergent bilinguals’ use of social, linguistic, and cognitive support in peer-led literacy discussions.  International Multilingual Research Journal.  11, 152-166.

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.

Martin-Beltran, M., Tigert, J., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2017).  Using digital texts vs. paper texts to read together: Insights into engagement and mediation of literacy practices among linguistically diverse students.  International Journal of Educational Research, 82, 135-146.

McNeish, D., Stapleton, L. & Silverman, R. D. (2017).  On the unnecessary ubiquity of Hierarchical Linear Modeling.  Psychological Methods, 22, 114-140.

Ritchey, K. D., Palombo, K., Silverman, R. D., & Speece, D. L. (2017).  Effects of an informational text reading comprehension intervention for fifth grade students.  Learning Disabilities Quarterly.  40, 68-80. Learning Disability Quarterly's Award for “Must-Read Article for 2017.”

Silverman, R. D., Kim, Y., Hartranft, A. M., Nunn, S. J., & McNeish, D. (2017).  Effects of a multimedia enhanced reading buddies program in kindergarten and fourth grade.  Journal of Educational Research, 110, 391-404.

Kieffer, M. J., Petscher, Y., Proctor, C. P., & Silverman, R. D. (2016).  Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Modeling the contributions of language comprehension skills to reading comprehension in the upper elementary grades.  Scientific Studies of Reading, 20, 436-454.

Wexler, J., Mitchell, M., Clancy, E., & Silverman, R. D. (2016).  An investigation of literacy practices in high school science classrooms.  Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties.  33, 258-277.

Proctor, C.P., Harring, J.R., & Silverman, R.D. (2015).  Comparing reading profiles of biliterate Latino/a children in elementary school: Evidence from the simple view of reading.  Miríada Hispánica. 10(1), 59-82.

Murphy, P. K., Rowe, M. L., Ramani, G., & Silverman, R. D. (2015).  Promoting critical-analytic thinking in children and adolescents at home and in school.  Educational Psychology Review, 26, 561-578.

Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R. D., Schatschneider, C., & Speece, D. L. (2015).  Prediction and stability of reading problems in middle childhood.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48, 298-309.

Michener, C., Sengupta-Irvina, T., Proctor, C. P. & Silverman, R. D. (2015).  Culturally sustaining pedagogy within monolingual language policy: Variability in instruction. Language Policy, 14, 199-220.

Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Silverman, R. D., & Daniel, S. M. (2015).  Curricular design and implementation as a site of teacher expertise and learning.  Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 21, 867-893. 

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.

Daniel, S. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. D. (2016).  Moving beyond yes or no: Shifting from over-scaffolding to contingent scaffolding in literacy instruction with emergent bilingual students.  TESOL Journal, 7, 393-420.

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.

Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltran, M., Silverman, R. D., & Guthrie, S. (2015).  “Can I ask a question?”:  ESOL and mainstream teachers engaging in distributed and distributive learning to support English language learners’ text comprehension.  Teacher Education Quarterly, 42, 33-58.

Case, L.P., Speece, D. L., Silverman, R. D., Schatschneider, C., Montanaro, E., & Ritchey, K. D. (2014).  Immediate and long-term effects of tier 2 reading instruction for first grade students with a high probability of reading failure.  Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 7, 28-53.

Silverman, R. D., Proctor, C. P., Harring, J. R., Doyle, B., Mitchell, M. A., & Meyer, A. G. (2014).  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.

Leider, C. M., Proctor, C. P., & Silverman, R. D. (2014).  The biliteracy translation measure: Using written translations to index bilingualism and biliteracy in Spanish and English.  NYS TESOL Journal, 1(2), 9-24. 

Leider, C. M., Proctor, C. P., & Silverman, R. D., & Harring, J. R. (2013).  Examining the role of vocabulary depth, cross-linguistic transfer, and types of reading measures on the reading comprehension of Latino bilinguals in elementary school.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9, 1459 - 1485.

Silverman, R. D. (2013).  Investigating video as a means to promote vocabulary for at-risk children.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38, 170-179.

Rowe, M., Silverman, R. D. & Mullen, B. (2013).  The role of pictures and gestures as nonverbal aids in preschoolers' word learning in a new language.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38, 109-117.

Silverman, R. D., Crandell, J., & Carlis, L. (2013).  Read alouds and beyond: The effects of read aloud extension activities on vocabulary in Head Start classrooms.  Early Education and Development, 24, 98-122.

Silverman R. D., Speece, D. L., Harring, J. R., & Ritchey, K. D. (2013).  Fluency has a role in the Simple View of Reading.  Scientific Studies of Reading, 17, 108-133.

Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R. D., Montanaro, E. A., Speece, D. L., & Schatschneider, C. (2012). Effects of a Tier 2 supplemental reading intervention for at-risk fourth grade students. Exceptional Children, 78, 318-334.

Harring, J. R., Kohli, N., Silverman, R. D., & Speece, D. L. (2012).  A second-order conditionally linear mixed effects model with observed and latent variables and covariates.  Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 19, 118-136.

Proctor, C. P., Silverman, R. D., Harring, J. R., & Montecillo, C. (2012).  The role of vocabulary depth in predicting reading comprehension among English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual children in elementary school.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25, 1635-1664.

Proctor, C. P. & Silverman, R. D. (2011).  Confounds in assessing biliteracy's effect on language development. Educational Researcher, 40, 62-64.

Leung, C., Silverman, R. D., Nadakumar, N., & Hines, S. (2011).  Difficulty of words encountered in first-grade basal readers: A Rasch model for preschool ELL and monolingual English speakers.  American Educational Research Journal, 48, 421-461.

Speece, D. L., Schatschneider, C., Silverman, R. D., Case, L. P., Jacobs, D., Cooper, D. (2011).  Early identification of reading problems in a response to intervention framework.  Elementary School Journal, 111, 585-607.

Speece, D. L., Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R. D., Schatschneider, C., Walker, C., & Andrusik, K. (2010).  Identifying children in middle childhood who are at risk for reading problems.  School Psychology Review, 39, 258-276.

Case, L. P., Speece, D. L., Silverman, R. D., Ritchey, K. D., Schatschneider, C., Cooper, D., Montanaro, E., & Jacobs, D. (2010).  Validation of a Tier 2 reading intervention for first grade children.  Journal of Learning Disabilities, 43, 402-417.

Silverman, R. D. & Crandell, J. D. (2010).  Vocabulary strategies in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.  Reading Research Quarterly, 45, 318-340.

Silverman, R. D. & Hines, S. (2009).  The effects of multimedia enhanced instruction on the vocabulary of English language learners and non-English language learners in pre-kindergarten through second grade.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 305-314.

Silverman, R. D. (2007).  Vocabulary development of English-language and English-only learners in kindergarten.  Elementary School Journal, 107, 365-383.

Silverman, R. D. (2007).  A comparison of three methods of vocabulary instruction during read-alouds in kindergarten.  Elementary School Journal 108, 97-113.

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