Susan B. Neuman  Professor, UM School of Education

Current Projects

Ready to Read

Ready to Read

Ready-to-Read is a project in the School of Education's Ready to Learn Center at the University of Michigan.

We study how young children learn to read. Our research questions include:

We are grateful to the children and families who participate in our research. By participating in Ready-to-Read, you contribute significantly to our knowledge of reading development. And at the same time, together we will explore how you can best support your child's development.

We invite you to explore our Ready-to-read website, learn more about our research, and discover how your family can get involved with Ready-to-Read.

Project Website: Ready-to-read

Ready to learn: World of Words

World of Words

The World of Words (WOW) curriculum integrates multiple sources of information and technology to stimulate children's literacy development in content areas aligned with national pre-kindergarten standards. In collaboration with the creators of Sesame Street®, WOW uses child-friendly media to support children's learning as they encounter new words and concepts in science, mathematics, social studies, and health. Throughout the WOW curriculum, teachers guide children through developmentally appropriate exercises to increase literacy skills while developing their knowledge and vocabulary in academic content areas.

Project Website: Ready to Learn: World of Words

Project Great Start

The Project Great Start Professional Development Initiative is a research-based professional development program designed to improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators.

In collaboration with community colleges across the state, and with the Michigan 4C association, this initiative is targeted to provide caregivers in urban early childhood settings access to quality educational experiences through coursework and on-site coaching.

In this way, we work toward building caregivers' knowledge and skills, increasing the quality of care available to children who are at risk and need additional social and emotional support to build school readiness skills.

Project Website: Project Great Start

Every Child Ready to Read

Working with the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Services for Children, the Ready to Read Research Team is evaluating the Every Child Ready to Read initiative--an innovative program designed to provide public libraries with vital tools to help prepare parents for their critical role as their child's first teacher. The results of the evaluation, involving both quantitative and qualitative evidence, will become available August, 2009.

Ready to Learn: Creating the World of Words (WOW) curriculum for improving preschool children's vocabulary and conceptual knowledge. A five-year study.

UM-Ready to Learn Project

The Ready to Learn research program focuses on developing and assessing scientifically-based literacy curricula for use in early childhood (pre-K and K) classrooms, online education for teachers and care providers, and resources for parents and families. In collaboration with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting system, funded through the U.S. Department of Education, collectively, our goal is to create a 360 degree surround of information representing the highest quality of scientifically-based research and practice in reading for children, teachers, and parents.

Project Website: UM-Ready to Learn

Project Great Start
Professional Development Initiative

The Project Great Start Professional Development Initiative is a research-based professional development program designed to improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators.

Targeted to priority school urban centers, this initiative aims to:

  1. Build caregivers' knowledge and skills
  2. Help caregivers implement research-based practices through coaching and mentoring
  3. Help children who are at risk and need additional social and emotional supports
  4. Improve children's school readiness skills.

Project Website: Project Great Start Professional Development Initiative site

Teacher Quality in Michigan

Our teacher quality project is designed to improve induction and mentoring programs in Michigan. Working alongside faculty at Michigan State University, and the Michigan State Department of Education, we are committed to supporting the implementation of new entry level standards for all Michigan teachers in efforts to provide systematic accountability, and to ensure excellent educators are in Michigan's K-12 classrooms. The goals is this project are to:

It is essential to foster institutional commitment and support so that school districts, educational organizations and institutions of higher education together make teacher learning a priority and share responsibility for teacher quality and increased student achievement.

Project Website:

Changing the Odds

Based on the enormous corpus of research on preventing damaging outcomes for our most vulnerable young children, this project seeks to examine case studies of highly effective programs that are changing the odds for children, when the cognitive gaps are beginning to form—in these earliest years in four critical areas of reform prior to school entrance—parenting, early care and education, after-care education, and community programs. By developing principles for interventions based on scientific evidence, the project holds great promise for administrators of programs, practitioners, and for future policy-making.