Rebecca D. Silverman is an Associate Professor of Early Literacy at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Passionate about supporting children’s literacy development, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in language and literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is now a leading researcher and teacher educator in the field.

Dr. Silverman’s research focuses on language and literacy development in early childhood and elementary school. Her work has contributed to the research base on using read alouds, multimedia, cross-age peer learning, and small group dialogic instruction to support the vocabulary development and reading comprehension of diverse learners. Dr. Silverman leads the Language to Literacy Research Lab ( and is engaged in research-practice partnerships in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Silverman’s teaching focuses on bridging research and practice. She has taught pre-service general and special education teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels; she has led professional development on research-based practices for supporting language and literacy for in-service early childhood and elementary school educators; and she has mentored numerous doctoral students who will serve as the next generation of researchers and teacher educators. She has also taught internationally, having been a Fulbright Scholar in Myanmar.

Dr. Sillverman has been active in service to the field. She has been on the Editorial Board of such journals as Reading Research Quarterly and The Reading Teacher, and she currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Elementary School Journal ( She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Literacy Association ( She is an advisor for such organizations as Sesame Workshop and the Public Broadcasting Service, and she participates in working groups for the California State Board of Education and the UCSF Dyslexia Center.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2018 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Editor in Chief, The Elementary School Journal (2022 - Present)
  • At Large Member on the Board of Directors, International Literacy Association (2022 - Present)
  • Visiting Associate Professor (Fulbright Scholar), Yangon University of Education (2017 - 2018)
  • Director, Language and Literacy Research Center, University of Maryland (2014 - 2018)
  • Associate Professor, Special Education, University of Maryland (2012 - 2018)
  • Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Maryland (2006 - 2012)
  • Director, Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard University (2005 - 2006)

Professional Education

  • Ed.D., Harvard University, Human Development and Psychology (2005)
  • Ed.M., Harvard University, Language and Literacy (2001)
  • B.A., George Washington University, English (1998)

Research Interests

  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary Education
  • Literacy and Language
  • Parents and Family Issues
  • Teachers and Teaching
  • Technology and Education

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research focuses on early language and literacy development and instruction.

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Filling in the Blank: The Development of a Writing Screener for Elementary School Students Who Speak African American English. Language, speech, and hearing services in schools Byrd, A. S., Oppenheimer, K., Silverman, R., Edwards, J. 2024: 1-9


    PURPOSE: Clinicians are tasked with using culturally and linguistically appropriate tools to evaluate oral and written language development accurately. However, limited tools account for linguistic diversity in writing. This gap can lead to under- and overdiagnosis of students who speak nonmainstream dialects. This study addressed that gap by developing a writing task to identify nonmainstream dialect features in the writing of early elementary school students. We describe the development, feasibility, and results of pilot testing of the task.METHOD: One hundred fifty-one first and second graders participated in the study as part of a larger study of nonmainstream dialect use. Students completed standardized literacy and language assessments and the researcher-developed writing task. The writing task used a novel fill-in-the-blank format to identify morphological features that vary between Mainstream American English and nonmainstream varieties such as African American English.RESULTS: Second-grade students performed better on the writing task than first graders, and writing performance was strongly related to standardized literacy scores. Literacy skills were the strongest predictor of Mainstream American English use in writing, but spoken dialect use also correlated with written dialect use.CONCLUSIONS: The writing task captured dialect use in early elementary school students' writing, and students' performance on standardized literacy measures predicted written dialect features. These results are a first step toward developing a standardized measure to help professionals appropriately diagnose written expression disorders within linguistically diverse students.SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:

    View details for DOI 10.1044/2023_LSHSS-23-00131

    View details for PubMedID 38306497

  • Texting and tutoring: Short-term K-3 reading interventions during the pandemic JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH Silverman, R. D., Keane, K., Hsieh, H., Southerton, E., Scott, R. C., Brunskill, E. 2023
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Early Literacy Instruction for Emergent Bilinguals READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY Crosson, A. C., Silverman, R. D. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1002/rrq.456

    View details for Web of Science ID 000729332200001

  • Beyond Decoding: A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Language Comprehension Interventions on K-5 Students' Language and Literacy Outcomes READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY Silverman, R. D., Johnson, E., Keane, K., Khanna, S. 2020

    View details for DOI 10.1002/rrq.346

    View details for Web of Science ID 000565867600001

  • The power of "Screen Time": Harnessing It to Promote Language and Literacy Learning in Early Childhood and Elementary School American Educator Silverman, R. D., Keane, K. 2020
  • The Effect of COVID on Oral Reading Fluency During the 2020-2021 Academic Year AERA OPEN Domingue, B. W., Dell, M., Lang, D., Silverman, R., Yeatman, J., Hough, H. 2022; 8
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Teacher and Multilingual Student Discourse During Small Group Text-Based Discussions LANGUAGE AND LITERACY Budde, C. M., Marcus, M., Martin-Beltran, M., Silverman, R. D. 2022; 24 (2): 216-244
  • The Effect of a Language and Literacy Intervention on Upper Elementary Bilingual Students' Argument Writing ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL Silverman, R. D., Proctor, C., Harring, J. R., Taylor, K. S., Johnson, E. M., Jones, R., Lee, Y. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1086/716897

    View details for Web of Science ID 000726188900001

  • Centering Language and Student Voice in Multilingual Literacy Instruction READING TEACHER Proctor, C., Silverman, R. D., Jones, R. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1002/trtr.2051

    View details for Web of Science ID 000684168700001

  • Revisiting Reading Buddies to Support Multilingual Learners and Their Peers READING TEACHER Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. M., Taylor, K. S. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1002/trtr.2045

    View details for Web of Science ID 000679567200001

  • Early Screening for Decoding- and Language-Related Reading Difficulties in First and Third Grades ASSESSMENT FOR EFFECTIVE INTERVENTION Silverman, R. D., McNeish, D., Speece, D. L., Ritchey, K. D. 2021; 46 (2): 99–109
  • Explorations of Classroom Talk and Links to Reading Achievement in Upper Elementary Classrooms JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Goodwin, A. P., Cho, S., Reynolds, D., Silverman, R., Nunn, S. 2021; 113 (1): 27–48

    View details for DOI 10.1037/edu0000462

    View details for Web of Science ID 000610912000003

  • Teaching Bilingual Learners: Effects of a Language-Based Reading Intervention on Academic Language and Reading Comprehension in Grades 4 and 5 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY Proctor, C., Silverman, R. D., Harring, J. R., Jones, R., Hartranft, A. M. 2020; 55 (1): 95–122

    View details for DOI 10.1002/rrq.258

    View details for Web of Science ID 000505297100006

  • A Synthesis of Reading Comprehension Interventions for Persons With Mild Intellectual Disability REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH Shelton, A., Wexler, J., Silverman, R. D., Stapleton, L. M. 2019; 89 (4): 612–51
  • '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 Martin-Beltran, M., Montoya-Avila, A., Garcia, A. A., Peercy, M., Silverman, R. 2019; 22 (1): 17–34
  • Observational research on vocabulary and comprehension in upper elementary school classrooms Learning through language: Towards an educationally informed theory of language learning. Silverman, R. D., Hartranft, A. M. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 2019
  • The relationship between media type and vocabulary learning in a cross age peer-learning program for linguistically diverse elementary school students CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Silverman, R. D., Artzi, L., McNeish, D. M., Hartranft, A. M., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. 2019; 56: 106–16
  • Features of instructional talk predictive of reading comprehension Reading and Writing Michener, C. J., Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D. 2018; 31 (3): 725-756
  • 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 Martin-Beltrán, M., Tigert, J. M., Peercy, M. M., Silverman, R. D. 2017; 82: 135-146
  • Effects of a cross-age peer learning program on the vocabulary and comprehension of English learners and non-English learners in elementary school The Elementary School Journal Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltrán, M., Peercy, M. M., Hartranft, A. M., McNeish, D. M., Artzi, L., Nunn, S. 2017; 117 (3): 485-512
  • An investigation of literacy practices in high school science classrooms Reading & Writing Quarterly Wexler, J., Mitchell, M. A., Clancy, E. E., Silverman, R. D. 2017; 33 (3): 258-277
  • On the unnecessary ubiquity of hierarchical linear modeling. Psychological Methods McNeish, D., Stapleton, L. M., Silverman, R. D. 2017; 22 (1): 114
  • Effects of an informational text reading comprehension intervention for fifth-grade students Learning Disability Quarterly Ritchey, K. D., Palombo, K., Silverman, R. D., Speece, D. L. 2017; 40 (2): 68-80
  • Developing a zone of relevance: Emergent bilinguals’ use of social, linguistic, and cognitive support in peer-led literacy discussions International Multilingual Research Journal Martin-Beltrán, M., Daniel, S., Peercy, M., Silverman, R. 2017; 11 (3): 152-166
  • Linguistic interdependence between Spanish language and English language and reading: A longitudinal exploration from second through fifth grade Bilingual Research Journal Proctor, P., Harring, J. R., Silverman, R. D. 2017; 40 (4): 372-391
  • Effects of a multimedia enhanced reading buddies program in kindergarten and fourth grade Journal of Educational Research Silverman, R. D., Kim, Y., Hartranft, A., Nunn, S., McNeish, D. 2016
  • Moving beyond yes or no: Shifting from over‐scaffolding to contingent scaffolding in literacy instruction with emergent bilingual students TESOL Journal Daniel, S. M., Martin‐Beltrán, M., Peercy, M. M., Silverman, R. 2016; 7 (2): 393-420
  • 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 Kieffer, M. J., Petscher, Y., Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D. 2016; 20 (6): 436-454
  • Developing vocabulary breadth and depth in young children The Essential Library of PreK-2 Literacy Series Silverman, R. D., Hartranft, A. M. Guilford. 2015
  • The relationship between language skills and writing outcomes for linguistically diverse students in upper elementary school The Elementary School Journal Silverman, R. D., Coker, D., Proctor, P., Harring, J., Piantedosi, K. W., Hartranft, A. M. 2015; 116 (1): 103-125

    View details for DOI 10.1086/683135

  • Curricular design and implementation as a site of teacher expertise and learning Teachers and Teaching Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Silverman, R. D., Daniel, S. 2015; 21 (7): 867-893
  • ' 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 Peercy, M. M., Martin-Beltrán, M., Silverman, R. D., Nunn, S. J. 2015; 42 (4): 33-58
  • Language skills and reading comprehension in English monolingual and Spanish–English bilingual children in grades 2–5 Reading and Writing Silverman, R. D., Proctor, P., Harring, J. R., Hartranft, A. M., Doyle, B., Zelinke, S. B. 2015; 28 (9): 1381-1405
  • Comparing reading profiles of biliterate Latino/a children in elementary school: Evidence from the simple view of reading Miríada hispánica Proctor, P., Harring, J. R., Silverman, R. 2015: 59-82
  • Culturally sustaining pedagogy within monolingual language policy: Variability in instruction Language policy Michener, C. J., Sengupta-Irving, T., Proctor, P., Silverman, R. 2015; 14 (3): 199-220
  • Prediction and stability of reading problems in middle childhood Journal of Learning Disabilities Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R. D., Schatschneider, C., Speece, D. L. 2015; 48 (3): 298-309
  • Promoting critical-analytic thinking in children and adolescents at home and in school Educational Psychology Review Murphy, K., Rowe, M. L., Ramani, G., Silverman, R. 2014; 26 (4): 561-578
  • 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 Silverman, R. D., Proctor, P., Harring, J. R., Doyle, B., Mitchell, M. A., Meyer, A. G. 2014; 49 (1): 31-60
  • 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 Case, L., Speece, D., Silverman, R., Schatschneider, C., Montanaro, E., Ritchey, K. 2014; 7 (1): 28-53
  • Investigating video as a means to promote vocabulary for at-risk children Contemporary Educational Psychology Silverman, R. 2013; 38 (3): 170-179
  • Fluency has a role in the simple view of reading Scientific Studies of Reading Silverman, R. D., Speece, D. L., Harring, J. R., Ritchey, K. D. 2013; 17 (2): 108-133
  • 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 Leider, C. M., Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D., Harring, J. R. 2013; 26 (9): 1459-1485
  • Read alouds and beyond: The effects of read aloud extension activities on vocabulary in Head Start classrooms Early Education & Development Silverman, R., Crandell, J. D., Carlis, L. 2013; 24 (2): 98-122
  • The role of pictures and gestures as nonverbal aids in preschoolers’ word learning in a novel language Contemporary Educational Psychology Rowe, M. L., Silverman, R. D., Mullan, B. E. 2013; 38 (2): 109-117
  • Effects of a tier 2 supplemental reading intervention for at-risk fourth-grade students Exceptional children Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R. D., Montanaro, E. A., Speece, D. L., Schatschneider, C. 2012; 78 (3): 318-334
  • A second-order conditionally linear mixed effects model with observed and latent variable covariates Structural equation modeling: a multidisciplinary journal Harring, J. R., Kohli, N., Silverman, R. D., Speece, D. L. 2012; 19 (1): 118-136
  • The role of vocabulary depth in predicting reading comprehension among English monolingual and Spanish–English bilingual children in elementary school Reading and Writing Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D., Harring, J. R., Montecillo, C. 2012; 25 (7): 1635-1664
  • Difficulty of words encountered in first-grade basal readers: A Rasch model for preschool ELL and monolingual English speakers American Educational Research Journal Leung, C., Silverman, R., Nadakumar, N., Hines, S. 2011; 48 (2): 421-461
  • Confounds in assessing the associations between biliteracy and English language proficiency Educational Researcher Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D. 2011; 40 (2): 62-64
  • Validation of a supplemental reading intervention for first-grade children Journal of learning disabilities Case, L. P., Speece, D. L., Silverman, R., Ritchey, K. D., Schatschneider, C., Cooper, D. H., Montanaro, E., Jacobs, D. 2010; 43 (5): 402-417
  • Identifying children in middle childhood who are at risk for reading problems School psychology review Speece, D. L., Ritchey, K. D., Silverman, R., Schatschneider, C., Walker, C. Y., Andrusik, K. N. 2010; 39 (2): 258
  • Vocabulary practices in prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms Reading Research Quarterly Silverman, R., Crandell, J. D. 2010; 45 (3): 318-340
  • 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 Silverman, R., Hines, S. 2009; 101 (2): 305
  • Vocabulary development of English-language and English-only learners in kindergarten The Elementary School Journal Silverman, R. D. 2007; 107 (4): 365-383
  • A comparison of three methods of vocabulary instruction during read-alouds in kindergarten The Elementary School Journal Silverman, R. 2007; 108 (2): 97-113
  • The Biliteracy Translation Measure: Using Written Translations to Index Bilingualism and Biliteracy in Spanish and English NYS TESOL Journal Leider, C. M., Proctor, P., Silverman, R. D. Submitted