Language & Literacy
The UT Physicians Pediatric Center for Autism and Related Conditions recognizes that the challenges faced by children with developmental concerns are complex neurodevelopmental issues in which multiple developmental concerns likely overlap and require a comprehensive look at every child. This understanding guides our approach to utilizing patient-centered, evidence-based methods in our diagnostic evaluations and our treatment recommendations. We are a multi-disciplinary team that includes developmental and behavioral pediatrics, child psychology, and speech and language pathology.
The Dan L Duncan Children's Neurodevelopment Clinic provides comprehensive assessments of children, adolescents, and young adults who are thought to have developmental or behavioral problems, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
Play and Learning Strategies is a preventive intervention program to strengthen the bond between parent and child and to stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development. The program is facilitated by a trained parent educator who presents each session to the parent(s) and coaches the parent(s) in using the specific techniques that are either demonstrated in person or via videotaped examples of real mothers and children utilizing specific techniques at age appropriate levels. Guided practice opportunities during each session help parents move from watching listening and talking, to doing. PALS Infant curriculum consists of 10 sessions and is appropriate for parents of infants from about 5 months to 18 months. PALS Toddler consists of 12 sessions and is appropriate for parents of toddlers from about 18 months to 3 years.
Reach Out and Read is a national program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. The Children's Learning Institute is home to the Texas branch of this program.
Throughout the school year, our School-Based Programs provide early intervention to students who are at-risk for or who are experiencing reading and math failure as well as enrichment programs for students with grade level academic skills.
In order to best prepare individuals for independent research careers in the education sciences, the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) will provide four postdoctoral fellows with extensive training in special education research with a focus on language and literacy interventions.
During the summer break, CLI Clinics provides hands-on tutoring in reading and math to help children prepare for the upcoming school year. These targeted tutoring programs can be instrumental in helping children develop the skills they need to be successful.
In 2007, the Children’s Learning Institute was selected by the Governor of Texas to be the community partner with and home base for the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office. Members of the Texas Head Start Collaboration Office are housed in the Children’s Learning Institute offices, take advantage of access to the experts within the facilities, and are partially supported by funds from the Institute over and above the budget provided by the state.
Texas School Ready is a comprehensive preschool teacher training program combining a research-based, state-adopted curriculum with ongoing professional development and progress monitoring tools. The goal of this program is to help children be better prepared for school.
The proposed project brings together two widely used, evidence-based coaching approaches for supporting early childhood teachers. We will utilize a face-to-face model with a remote instruction model in a comparative analysis, which will be conducted over a three year period. The purpose of this study is to contrast these two approaches in order to investigate their benefits to teachers’ understanding and instructional practices, which support children’s language and literacy skills. An economic analysis of the models will help us to identify the most effective and efficient methods for providing coaching in early childhood settings.
The purpose of the CITT-ART study is to evaluate the effects of office-based therapy with home reinforcement on reading and attention outcomes for children with symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency (CI), a vision disorder. Children with symptomatic CI report significantly more symptoms when reading and doing close work (e.g., blurred vision, headaches, double vision, loss of concentration, frequent loss of place, trouble remembering what was read), have more behaviors that lead to academic difficulties (e.g., difficulty finishing assignments), and score worse on parent ratings of attention compared to children with normal binocular vision. There is evidence that the symptoms and adverse academic behaviors associated with CI can be reduced through treatment. The CITT-ART study tests the hypothesis that reducing or eliminating these symptoms and behaviors will lead to improved reading performance and attention.
This project examines how word definitions, contextual support, and cognate status affect fourth grade Spanish-speaking English learners’ (EL) understanding of unfamiliar words in text. The use of dictionary definitions is a ubiquitous practice in EL instruction, yet, the field lacks experimental work that isolates and tests the effect of dictionary definitions on EL vocabulary learning.
The purpose of this project is to expand and validate the first standardized, observational assessment of the quality of shared book reading in early childhood classrooms, called the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (SABR) 2.0.
Idea Detectives: Individualized Intervention in Reading Comprehension and Word Reading Based on Best Evidence From Cognitive Science
The purpose of this research is to develop an intensive reading intervention (Idea Detectives) for students in grades 2-3 at risk for or identified as having serious reading difficulties or disabilities (students with RD). Within a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) or Multitier Systems of Support (MTSS) framework, this will be a Tier 3 intervention, intended for students who demonstrate inadequate response to previously-provided intervention. It will be designed to be implemented in small groups in daily 45-min lessons by a special educator or reading interventionist. The project also includes the development of an online library of video clips that can be viewed by teachers to help them understand how to implement the intervention.
The purpose of ICARD research is to learn about the best treatment approaches for children who have both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and serious reading difficulties (RD).
Neural Correlates of Reading Comprehension in Typical and Struggling Readers: A Multimodal Neuroimaging Study
The major goals of this neuroimaging project are to evaluate school-aged children and their response to reading intervention as part of a multidisciplinary center on learning disabilities involving a consortium of three Texas universities (University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, and UT Health).
The added benefit of combining the Texas School Ready program in the classroom with the Play and Learning Strategies program in the home is the focus of the Parents And Teachers Together (e-PATT) study. This study parallels an earlier study conducted at CLI. However, this project utilizes remote technology in coaching and training to conduct these interventions.
Preparing Pequeños is studying the effectiveness of a comprehensive Spanish school readiness curriculum combined with small group instruction towards improving literacy, language, math, and social skills for prekindergarten English language learners from low-income backgrounds. The project will provide the educational field with information about the impact of small group instructional practices on language and academic development of English language learners from low-income backgrounds. The project also will provide the field with much-needed research surrounding the cross-linguistic transfer of Spanish to English within early academic settings. Because the project is longitudinal in nature, we also will be evaluating how educational-intensive small group instructional approaches impact English language learners' academic competencies in both languages in kindergarten.
This project addresses the pressing need for assessment tools that teachers can use to efficiently identify children’s strengths and weaknesses in English and Spanish, monitor students’ learning, and inform instruction. The School Readiness Curriculum Based Measurement System includes research-based progress monitoring tools that assess vocabulary, letter identification, graphophonemic knowledge, phonological awareness, math, and science in English and Spanish speakers aged 3 to 6 years.
Teaching Together-PreK: A Home-School Intervention for Young Children At-Risk for Academic Difficulties
The purpose of this project is to iteratively develop and pilot test Teaching Together-PreK, a multi-tiered pre-kindergarten curriculum that will provide whole-class shared book reading experiences (Tier 1) and targeted small-group language and literacy instruction (Tier 2). The classroom intervention builds on an existing, Tier 1 language and literacy supplementary curriculum, Read It Again-PreK!, which has been evaluated in IES funded studies. In addition, aligned home activities will be developed with a focus on parents whose children are not responding adequately with Tier 1 instruction alone.
Testing the Efficacy of Reading RULES: A Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention for First-Grade Children with Decoding and Comprehension Difficulties
The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effects of a program called Reading RULES. Reading RULES was developed at the Children’s Learning Institute for first-grade students who are at risk for reading difficulties or disabilities in both word reading and comprehension. Students who do not learn to read adequately in the early grades typically have persistent reading difficulties. Potential persistent reading problems may be prevented or their severity reduced if they are addressed aggressively and early. Reading RULES provides carefully-sequenced instruction in word reading, fluency, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension, combining whole-class mini-lessons in comprehension and vocabulary with supplemental small-group Tier 2 intervention for the students in the classroom who are most at-risk for reading difficulties.
The Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) is a collaborative effort between the US Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth. The purpose of this research is to develop a comprehensive, easy-to-administer kindergarten screening assessment that is a valid predictor of later academic success. The test will be administered in both English and Spanish. Upon completion of this research project, the TX-KEA assessment will be available free for use in Texas’ public school districts that serve up to 400,000 new kindergarten students yearly.
This three-year study developed and documented the feasibility and promise of a professional development intervention targeting teachers of at-risk toddlers in childcare settings. The first two years were spent developing and field-testing each component of the intervention, and the third year included a small, randomized control pilot study of the complete program. The 12-week intervention, called “Toddler Language in the Classroom” (TLC) was designed to improve at-risk toddlers’ language outcomes by increasing quality language and literacy experiences in the childcare setting. The intervention includes didactic training and in-class mentoring to assist teachers in achieving knowledge of early language development, empowerment in their role in supporting toddlers’ language development, and competence in applying specific language promoting strategies within daily caregiving contexts such as meal/snack time, centers/free play time, circle/book-reading time, outdoor time, and transition times.
The Beginning Education: Early Childcare At Home program is a web-based professional development system specifically designed for home childcare providers and is available in English and Spanish. The program is free to all users on CLI Engage and focuses on supporting the socio-emotional, cognitive, language, literacy, and mathematics development of young children.
The online CIRCLE Activity Collection offers a variety of hands-on activities that teachers and parents can use with their children. Teachers can implement during large group, small group, centers, and one-on-one instruction. Language, literacy, social emotional skills, mathematics, and science are the core concepts covered.
The Texas School Ready child progress monitoring tool, the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, enables a teacher to quickly measure a child’s progress in a particular skill area. Utilizing this instrument allows teachers to appropriately focus their lessons.
CLI Engage is a comprehensive e-learning platform housing TSR Online professional development, child progress monitoring tools, and classroom observation tools - available for free to Texas public schools, Head Start programs, and Texas Rising Star Certified Providers.
Developing Talkers and Hablemos Juntos are curriculum supplements to promote oral language. Listening comprehension and vocabulary skills are targeted through lessons, materials, and instructions on developing and strengthening children’s oral language skills. For interested teachers and caregivers, CLI regularly conducts Developing Talkers Training.
eCIRCLE Professional Development provides online courses featuring extensive video-based demonstrations of effective instructional practices, application-based assignments, and activities. The program is designed specifically for teachers, school leaders, and intervention specialists.
Core competencies are defined as an individual’s demonstrated skills and abilities. The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document lists observable skills that, when accomplished, demonstrate competency in a particular area of knowledge.
The purpose of the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines is to outline expectations about what children should know and be able to do across domains of learning during specific age ranges and to outline steps for caregivers to support healthy development.
The Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment System (TX-KEA) covers multiple child development domains and better informs kindergarten teachers about the children in their classes, helping them to design more appropriate learning opportunities. In August 2017, TX-KEA launched on CLI Engage.
The Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, published in 2008, were developed to help educators provide all preschool children with the proper foundations for school success. CLI also created a web-based professional development tool to provide educators an introduction to the guidelines. This instrument includes video examples of child behaviors and classroom interactions and provides instructional strategies for teachers to support students.
The Unlocking Understanding comprehension training series includes practical approaches teachers can implement in their classrooms immediately. Each training focuses on a specific strategy and is customized specifically for the grade levels you teach. Training sessions are designed to guide teachers through a set of instructional approaches shown by research to be effective in classrooms across grade levels. Scaffolds, model lessons, and time for planning are also included in each session.