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School Notebook

Catherine E Snow


Catherine E. Snow is the Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from McGill University during the heyday of nativism in child language research, having chosen to work on the distinctively untrendy topic of how adult speech to children supports their language development.


She subsequently worked for several years in the Linguistics Department of the University of Amsterdam before moving to Harvard, where her interests expanded to include literacy development. She chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee that produced Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (1998) and the RAND Reading Study Group that produced Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D program for reading comprehension (2000), a volume that influenced the federal education funding agenda over the next 20 years.


Her work has been characterized by a willingness to defend unpopular positions on questions of relevance to language learning, early childhood education, and literacy instruction. Her more recent work has benefited from collaborations with educational practitioners and other researchers focused on understanding the most urgent problems of practice in literacy education.

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