College of Education *
College of Education *
Rebecca Silverman (CHSE)
Rebecca Silverman
Contact Information:
Room: 1311-D Benjamin Building
Phone: (301) 405-6465

Rebecca Silverman (Ed.D., Harvard University)
Associate Professor; Special Education Program
Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE)

Research Labs, Centers, Affiliations and Special Appointments:
Director of the Maryland Language and Literacy Research Center


Research Interests | Bio | Grants & Projects | Publications | Curriculum Vitae |

Research Interests

Language and Literacy; Differentiated Instruction and Response to Intervention; Instructional Supports for Children from Low-Socioeconomic or English Learning Backgrounds and Children with Language and Literacy Related Learning Difficulties


Professional Biography

I began my career as an elementary school teacher in a public school in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. As a teacher, I struggled with how to best support my students in language and literacy. Therefore, I decided to pursue my master's degree in language and literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). While at HGSE, I learned about the importance of using empirical methods to understand children's development and how instructional practices affect children's development over time. Thus, I elected to continue my education in the language and literacy doctoral program at HGSE to become an educational researcher.

Now, as an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, I teach classes and conduct research on the language and literacy of children in the early childhood and elementary school years. My research focuses on the vocabulary and comprehension of children from diverse backgrounds and with various strengths and needs. Thus, most of my research includes children from low-socioeconomic or English learning backgrounds and children with language and literacy related learning difficulties. To determine how to best support a wide range of children, I have investigated how language skills predict reading and writing outcomes in elementary school, how instruction affects children’s vocabulary and comprehension development, and how peer learning supports children from various backgrounds. I recently completed developing and investigating a peer learning program for use in diverse classrooms (, and I am currently working with colleagues to develop an intervention for struggling fourth grade students (

I believe that to make a difference in the education of children, researchers need to work together, in partnership with schools, to identify the most promising ways to support children in language and literacy. Thus, to foster collaboration among the many researchers at the University of Maryland focused on language and literacy, I recently began the Maryland Language and Literacy Research Center (LLRC), which brings together faculty and students to focus on language and literacy issues in education from different perspectives. The LLRC is part of a larger campus initiative, the Language Science Center (LSC), which focuses on advancing language science at the University of Maryland and beyond, through integrated research and training that links fundamental science with applications in education, technology, and health. Through the LLRC and the LSC, I expect that faculty and students at the University of Maryland will have a major impact on improving language and literacy education. See for more information about LLRC and LSC.

I will be accepting doctoral students for mentorship in the 2015 – 2016 academic year. Applicants with an interest in language and literacy in early childhood and elementary school contexts are encouraged to apply. I have a limited amount of funding to support qualified students. Please apply at the website below by December 1, 2014 for best consideration. And, please contact me with any questions.

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Grants & Projects

Proctor, C. P, Silverman, R. D., & Harring, J. R. (2014-2017). The CLAVES Intervention Project: Developing a supplemental intervention for Comprehension, Linguistic Awareness, and Vocabulary in English for Spanish speakers. Funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES; Goal Two English Learners Grant), $1.5 million. Role: Co-Investigator.

Silverman, R., Martin-Beltran, M., & Peercy, M. (2011-2014). Reinventing reading buddies: Developing a cross-age peer-tutoring program to promote the vocabulary and comprehension of English learners. Funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES; Goal Two English Learners Grant), $1.5 million. Role: Principal Investigator.

Silverman, R., Proctor, P., & Harring, J. (2009-2013). Investigating vocabulary breadth and depth and comprehension in English monolingual and Spanish-English bilingual students in grades 2-5. Funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES; Goal One Reading and Writing Grant), $1.4 million. Role: Principal Investigator.

Speece, D.L., Ritchey, K.D., & Silverman, R. (2006-2012). Reading development and response to instruction in middle childhood. Funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) to the Learning Disability Research Center led by Martha Denckla, Principal Investigator, at the Kennedy Krieger Institute of Johns Hopkins University. $2.15 million subcontract to the University of Maryland. Role: Co-Investigator (2006-2011) & Principal Investigator (2011-2012).

Speece, D.L., Case, L.P., Cooper, D.H., Schatschneider, C., & Silverman, R. (2006-2012). Markers and modification of early reading skill. Funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), $2.5 million. Role: Co-Investigator (2006-2011) & Principal Investigator (2011-2012).

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Selected Publications

Silverman, R. D. & Hartranft, A. M. (2015). Developing Vocabulary and Oral Language in Young Chldren. 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.

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.

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(1), 28-53.

Silverman, R. (2013). Investigating video as a means to promote vocabulary for at-risk children. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38(3), 170-179.

Rowe, M., Silverman, R. & Mullen, B. (2013).  The role of pictures and gestures as nonverbal aids in preschoolers' word learning in a new language.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38(2), 109-117.

Silverman, R., 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(2), 98-122.

Silverman R., Speece, D. L., Harring, J. R., & Ritchey, K. (2013). Fluency has a role in the Simple View of Reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 17(2), 108-133.

Proctor, P., Silverman, R., 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(7), 1635-1664.

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(3), 318-334.

Leung, C., Silverman, R., 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(2), 421-461.

Silverman, R. & Crandell, J. (2010). Vocabulary strategies in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.  Reading Research Quarterly, 45(3), 318-340.

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

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