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Amy E. Booth

Professor, Department of Psychology and Human Development

My research focuses broadly on early cognitive development and learning, with a special emphasis on exploring the origins and outcomes associated with individual variability in pre-academic skills. In one ongoing longitudinal project, funded by the National Science Foundation, we are tracking children’s interests in, and ability to reason about, causal information from preschool through 2nd grade with an eye towards understanding the origins of scientific literacy. In another recently completed project, also funded by the NSF, we instead focused on children’s word-learning skills as a potential mediator between early home language experiences and persistent socioeconomically related differences in vocabulary and early literacy. The goal of both of these projects is to better understand early variability in key foundational skills so that we can develop innovative approaches to assessment and intervention that help to overcome persistent opportunity gaps and maximize the developmental outcomes of all children in both science and language. Indeed, with funding from the Spencer Foundation, Margaret Shavlik and I have begun to implement an intervention focusing on parent-child joint reading activities. Other interventions targeting early scientific literacy are also under development.