Our Commitment to Literacy
Good language and literacy skills are fundamental to success in school and in all occupations. Low literacy skills are also associated with several adverse health issues including increased mortality and hospitalization as well as poor control of chronic health conditions.
The MGH Institute recognizes the important role of literacy in helping individuals to achieve educational and health outcomes, and was one of the first graduate schools to include literacy education in its speech and language program.
Through its educational programming and research projects, the MGH Institute has become an important resource for training literacy specialists and adding to the knowledge base in language and literacy.
BEAM Director Joanna Christodoulou is gaining attention for working to stop – and reverse – the effects of the summer slump in struggling readers.
Reading Specialist Licensure Program
Through its Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy and Language the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Department offers K-12 teachers a program of study that prepares them to become licensed reading specialists.
The CSD Department also provides its master’s degree students the opportunity to choose concentrations in literacy, including one that prepares students for Reading Specialist Licensure.
Literacy Initiatives at the Institute
All students in the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program learn the important relationship between oral and written language, and actively provide literacy intervention in CSD’s Speech Language and Literacy Center (SLLC). Literacy is an integral component of the services offered at the SLLC, which serves both children and adults with communication and reading difficulties.
Members of the Institute community are active in many national literacy research programs and initiatives, including HILL for Literacy, which promotes instructional reform in schools nationwide.
Literacy Research at the Institute
The Speech, and Language Literacy (SAiL Literacy) Lab, under the direction of Dr. Tiffany Hogan, conducts research on the relationship between language development and literacy skills. One of these studies, affiliated with the Language and Reading Research Consortium (LAARC) is a 5-year national project focused on reading comprehension development.
The Brain, Education, and Mind (BEAM) Team is a research group led by Dr. Joanna Christodoulou. The BEAM Team studies typical and atypical reading development, and approaches to harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes. The BEAM Team works with school-age participants who are typically developing, who have learning disabilities/differences, or who have unique brain anatomy.
The CSD Department's focus on language and literacy is international in scope, with faculty presenting and conducting research with colleagues in South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Professor Charles Haynes and Professor Emerita Pamela Hook are currently involved in two large-scale studies:
- A five-year project in Saudi Arabia that centers on development of tests that can predict later reading and writing skills and
- An intervention study with colleagues in Campinas, Brazil that examines grade school Portuguese-English Language Learners' responses to computerized instruction in language and literacy.