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Rebecca Silverman

Photo of Rebecca Deffes Silverman

Rebecca Deffes Silverman

Associate Professor

Assistant: Cherylynn Walker


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.

Other Titles

Associate Professor of Education

Program Affiliations

CTE: Literacy, Language, and English Education
Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD)
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)

Research Interests

Child Development | Early Childhood | Elementary Education | Literacy and Language | Parents and family issues | Teachers and Teaching | Technology and Education

See a full list of GSE Faculty research interests >

Recent Publications

Shelton, A., Wexler, J., Silverman, R. D., & Stapleton, L. M. (2019). A Synthesis of Reading Comprehension Interventions for Persons With Mild Intellectual Disability. REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 89(4), 612–51.

Leider, C. M., Proctor, P., & Silverman, R. D. (0AD). The Biliteracy Translation Measure: Using Written Translations to Index Bilingualism and Biliteracy in Spanish and English. NYS TESOL Journal.

Martin-Beltran, M., Montoya-Avila, A., Garcia, A. A., Peercy, M. M., & Silverman, R. (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.

Rebecca Silverman in the News

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