David Dickinson, Ed.D.

David Dickinson:

Research Area
Early literacy development, Professional development

Dr. David K. Dickinson is a leading expert in the field of early literacy. Due to his considerable interest in early literacy, he has served on numerous advisory boards and spoken to many gatherings of teachers and educational leaders.  Dickenson's interest in helping preschool teachers better support childrenís language and literacy development resulted in a longitudinal study of the language and literacy development of low-income children. Results of this study, launched in 1987 with Dr. Catherine Snow, are shared in Dr. Dickinsonís book Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2001)


After five years of teaching in elementary schools in the Philadelphia area, he attended Harvard's Graduate School of Education specializing in language and cognitive development and later helped lead teacher education programs at Tufts University and Clark University. In 1994, in collaboration with colleagues in the Center for Children & Families in EDC, Dr. Dickenson began developing an approach to helping preschool teachers more effectively support childrenís language and literacy called LEEP (Language Environment Enrichment Project). He has reported his research in numerous articles and chapters and in 2001 co-edited Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Guilford Press) with Susan B. Neuman.

Dickinson has also directed the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality (NEQRC), one of the four Quality Research Centers funded by Head Start.  The NEQRC is examining the impact of Head Start on children's language and literacy development and its impact on families, with special attention being given to the development of children whose first language is Spanish.

Currently Dr. Dickenson is continuing to study approaches to helping preschool better foster children's language development and studying the effects of combining a strong content-rich curriculum with professional development designed to help teachers support children's language growth. 


Selected Publications

Books, Curriculum and Research Tools:

Dickinson, D.K. & Neuman, S. (Eds.), (2006). Handbook of early literacy research: Vol II. New York: Guilford Publications.

Schickedanz, J. A. & Dickinson, D.K. & Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (2005), Opening the World of Learning: A Comprehensive Early Literacy Program. Parsippany, NJ: Pearson Early Learning.

Smith, M.W., Dickinson, D.K. with Sangeorge, A. & Anasatopoulos, A. (2002). Toolkit for Assessing Early Literacy in Classrooms. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Dickinson, D.K. & Tabors, P.O. (Eds.) (2001). Beginning literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Neuman, S. B. & Dickinson, D. K. (Eds.), (2001). Handbook of early literacy research. New York: Guilford Publications.

Selected Recent Articles and Chapters:

Dickinson, D.K. (2006). Toward a toolkit approach to describing classroom quality. Early Education and Development, 17, 1, 177-202.

Dickinson, D.K. & Brady, J. (2005). Toward Effective Support for Language and Literacy Through Professional Development: A Decade of Experiences and Data. In Zaslow, M. & Martinez-Beck (Ed.). Critical issues in early childhood professional development. (pp. 141 - 170). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A. & Essex, M. (2005). A Window of Opportunity We Must Open to All: The Case for High Quality Center-based Preschool. In Dickinson, D.K. & Neuman, S.B. Handbook of early literacy research: Vol. II.

Adger, C.T., Hoyle, S.M. & Dickinson, D.K. (2004). Locating learning in in-service education for preschool teachers. American Education Research Journal, 41 (4), 867 - 900.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A., Clark-Chiarelli, N., & Wolf, A. (2004). Cross-language transfer of phonological awareness in low-income Spanish and English bilingual preschool children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, pp. 323-347.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A. & Clark-Chiarelli, N. (2004). Preschool-based prevention of reading disability: Realities vs. possibilities. In C.A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B.J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds.), Handbook of Language and Literacy: Development and Disorders (pp.209 - 227). New York: Guilford Press.

Dickinson, D. K., St. Pierre, R. B., & Pettengill, J. (2004). High-quality classrooms: A key ingredient to family literacy programs' support for children's literacy. In B. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family Literacy (pp. 137-154). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dickinson, D.K., McCabe, A., Anastasopoulos, L., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Poe, M. (2003). The Comprehensive Language Approach to Early Literacy: The Interrelationships Among Vocabulary, Phonological Sensitivity, and Print Knowledge Among Preschool-aged Children. The Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 465-481.

Dickinson, D.K. (2003). Are measures of "global quality" sufficient? Educational Researcher, 32, 27 - 28.Dickinson, D.K. (2003). Toward More Effective Support for Language and Literacy in Preschool Classrooms Serving Low-Income Populations. In monograph for the National Center for Family Literacy.

Dickinson, D.K. (2003). Why We Must Improve Teacher-Child Conversations in Preschools and the Promise of Professional Development. In L. Girolametto & E. Weitzman (Eds.), Enhancing caregiver language facilitation in childcare settings (pp. 4-1 - 4-8). Toronto, Canada: The Hanen Institute.

Dickinson, D.K., & McCabe, A. (2003). A Framework For Examining Book Reading in Early Childhood Classrooms. In A. van Kleeck, , & S. Stahl, & E.B Bauer (Eds.), On Reading Books to Children: Parents and Teachers (pp. 95 - 113). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum.

Dickinson, D.K. & McCabe, A. & Sprague, K. (2003). Teacher rating of oral language and literacy development (TROLL): Individualizing early literacy instruction with a standards-based rating tool. The Reading Teacher, April, 554 - 569.

Dickinson, D.K. (2002). Shifting Images of Developmentally Appropriate Practice As Seen Through Different Lenses. Educational Researcher, 31 (1), 26-32.

Dickinson, D.K. & Tabors, P.O. (2002). Fostering language and literacy in classrooms and homes. Young Children, March, 10 - 18. Howard, 240-255.

Dickinson, D.K. & McCabe, A.. (2001). Bringing it all together: The multiple origins, skills and environmental supports of early literacy. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 16, 4, 186-202.


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