Episode 54 - A Window into Reading Research: From Kindergarten to Adolescence with Colby Hall, PhD

About Dr. Colby Hall

Colby Hall studies literacy development, assessment, and instruction. Her research focuses on the components of effective literacy instruction for elementary and middle-school students with or at risk for literacy-learning difficulties; inference instruction as a means of improving reading comprehension; reading instruction for bilingual/multilingual students with reading difficulties; instruction supporting text comprehension in content-area classrooms; and technology-delivered reading instruction. 

Hall is currently co-PI of an Institute of Education Sciences-funded project that aims to further develop and pilot the Reading RULES for Kindergarten small-group literacy intervention program. She is Co-I of an Office of Special Education Programs-funded project that seeks to provide school leaders with web-based coaching to support teachers of students with disabilities in delivering evidence-based academic vocabulary instruction. Hall has authored peer-reviewed publications in Educational Psychology Review, Reading Research Quarterly, and Remedial and Special Education, among other peer-reviewed journals. 

Episode Summary

Colby Hall, PhD, shares her research on reading and language from kindergarten through adolescence. Dr. Hall, an assistant professor at University of Virginia, discusses her vast research collaborations spanning across areas of literacy, age groups, and language, providing a window into the research process and offering implications for classroom practice. In this episode, you will learn about

  • the findings from a pilot study involving an integrated reading, writing, and language intervention for kindergarteners.
  • a current study that integrates professional development, technology, and literacy instruction for emergent bilingual students.
  • an effective instructional approach developed to support adolescent literacy in content areas.

Dr. Hall shares tangible insights and resources for classroom application for children at any age and ignites curiosity for further learning.

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Dr. Danielle Gomez identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.”

1. Reading RULES for Kindergarten 
Listen to 10:16 – 25:45 to learn more. 

Dr. Hall was a co-PI of an IES funded project called Reading RULES for Kindergarten, a small-group literacy intervention program. The tier 2 intervention integrated word reading/code focused skills with oral language and vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, writing, and handwriting. 

As this study occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers learned important implications about implementation including barriers and facilitators for tier 2 instruction in schools. Most importantly that dosage and time spent on skills matter. 

2. Supporting Emergent Bilingual Elementary Students  
Listen to 25:45 to 33:37 to learn more. 

Dr. Hall is currently the PI of an OSEP grant focused on an intervention for emergent bilingual students. This project seeks to combine professional development for teachers, evidence-based reading instruction and specific practices for English Learners, and multimedia resources and tools. 

For this study, we have had a dual focus… because the participants are emergent bilingual students, there is a big focus on vocabulary and language comprehension.  

3. Content Literacy Instruction for Adolescents 
Listen to 34:21 to 45:30 to learn more. 

Dr. Hall pursued her doctorate with Dr. Sharon Vaughn at UT Austin where she worked on the PACT program. PACT is an instructional approach used in content areas (ELA, Social Studies, and Science) to support student knowledge building and comprehension skills. Learn more about PACT and PACT Plus (hyperlink: https://meadowscenter.org/resource/pact-plus-sample-lessons/)  

PACT includes the following sequence: 

  • Comprehension canopy focused on activating background knowledge and motivation 
  • Vocabulary development/ essential words 
  • Comprehension monitoring and summarizing 
  • Team based collaborative learning and checks for understanding  


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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Gomez.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.

Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests and does not constitute an endorsement by The Windward Institute or The Windward School.