Penelope Collins

Associate Professor, Education
School of Education

Ph.D., Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto, 1997, Applied Developmental Psychology

Phone: (949) 824-8222

University of California, Irvine
2038 Education Building
Mail Code: 5500
Irvine, CA 92697

Reading Acquisition, Bilingual and Multicultural Education, Dyslexia, Reading Disabilities, Phonological Awareness, Speech Perception, Reading Intervention

Penelope (Chiappe) Collins received her Ph.D. in Applied Human Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education - University of Toronto in 1997. She held a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Linda Siegel at the University of British Columbia.

A cognitive psychologist by training, her work focuses on the cognitive and linguistic processes involved in reading and mathematics development for normally achieving and learning disabled children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Dr. Collins teaches courses on reading instruction in elementary schools, assessment, and educational psychology.

Dr. Collins' primary research interest lies in the areas of learning disabilities and the development of proficiency in reading and mathematics. She is interested in the cognitive processes which underlie learning disabilities and the basic cognitive and linguistic processes involved in academic development for children from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

As part of her ongoing research, Dr. Collins is investigating the suitability of different theories of reading development as they apply to children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Most recently she has been investigating the development of a variety of language processing skills such as speech perception, phonological processing and vocabulary. She is also focussing on the development of important literacy skills such as decoding and reading comprehension for native English speakers and Korean-speaking children through the primary grades.

Dr. Collins' research tests the suitability of different models of the stages of reading development for skilled readers and reading disabled students. She has been studying the appropriateness of these stages for children from linguistically diverse backgrounds when learning to read in English.

Dr. Collins is also interested in how best to identify young children who are at risk for academic difficulties. Studies show these children benefit greatly if they receive intervention before they experience significant school failure. In one study, Dr. Collins has been examining whether it is more appropriate to assess young English learners' beginning reading and math skills in English or in their home language. Preliminary findings suggest that the English reading and math measures are equally sensitive in identifying native English speakers and English learners who are at-risk for academic difficulties. Furthermore, when instruction is in English, assessing English learners in their home language may underestimate their skills in reading and math.

Finally, her interests in the cognitive and linguistic processes involved in reading is not restricted to the study of children. She is also interested in the cognitive processes that underlie individual differences in reading skill among adults. In one example, she has studied the role of inhibitory control in the decline associated with aging in working memory performance. In this collaborative study with Drs. Linda Siegel and Lynn Hasher, it was found that proactive interference may play a key role in the decline in working memory between the ages of 30 to 50. In contrast, proactive interference did not account for the depressed working memory performance of participants with reading disabilities.
Courses Taught

* Ed 173: Learning Theory and Classroom Practice
Theories of development, learning, personality, and motivation are applied to understanding children and adolescents of all cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds; formulation of teaching and learning strategies, including those using the Internet and World Wide Web; performance-based assessment; classroom management.
* Ed 202: Outcomes of Schooling and Student Assessment
Focuses on establishment of learning goals and assessment tools that are valid for all students, inform educational decisions, and promote educational success. Provides critical examination of different forms of assessment used in K-12 schools, including developmental assessments and appropriate interventions.
* Ed 326: Curriculum and Methods for Elementary School Reading
Teaching an integrated reading/language arts program in the elementary classroom. Implementing theories, principles, and methods which are research and reality-based. Creating a child-centered, language-rich program to meet needs of children in multicultural/multilingual settings.
Publications Chiappe, P., Chiappe, D. L., & Gottardo, A. (in press). Vocabulary, context and speech perception among good and poor readers. Educational Psychology.
  Chiappe, P., Siegel, L. S., & Gottardo, A. (2002). Reading-related skills of kindergartners from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 95-116.
  Chiappe, P., Siegel, L. S., & Wade-Woolley, L. (2002). Linguistic diversity and the development of reading skills: A longitudinal study. Scientific Studies of Reading, 6, 369-400.
  Chiappe, P., Stringer, R., Siegel, L. S., & Stanovich, K. E. (2002). Why the timing deficit hypothesis does not explain reading disability in adults. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 73-107.
  Chiappe, P., Chiappe, D. L., & Siegel, L. S. (2001). Speech perception, lexicality, and reading disability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 80, 58-74.
  Chiappe, P., Hasher, L., & Siegel, L. S. (2000). Working memory, inhibitory control and reading disability. Memory & Cognition, 28, 8-17.
  Chiappe, P., & Siegel, L. S. (1999). Phonological awareness and reading acquisition in English and Punjabi-speaking Canadian children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 20-28
Society for Research in Child Development
Society for the Scientific Study of Reading
International Reading Association
Graduate Programs Education

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Last updated 08/22/2013