About Us

Developing Talkers is a curriculum supplement that was created by researchers at the Children’s Learning Institute to support young children’s language and literacy skills.


chip schoolThe purpose of the Developing Talkers curriculum supplement and training materials is to explain and put into action the evidence-based practices that boost children’s oral language skills and conceptual knowledge. The curriculum uses a series of instructional routines that are repeated across all units. These routines use interactive, whole-class read-alouds and brisk small-group lessons as the core of the curriculum.

Meet the Authors:

Tricia Zucker, Ph.D., is a reading specialist with expertise in early language and literacy development. She is an Associate Professor at CLI where she has been involved in curriculum development projects. She has studied effective practices during shared reading in ongoing studies within Texas school districts. She has extensive experience developing observational coding schemes of academic language quality/quantity, administering child assessments, and developing teacher training videos/materials.

Maria Carlo, Ph.D., is a psychologist that studies bilingual and biliteracy development in children and adults. She is an associate professor at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth’s Children’s Learning Institute. Her research focuses on the cross language transfer of academically-mediated skills and on the development of educational interventions to support dual-language learners’ vocabulary and oral language development.

Susan H. Landry, Ph.D., is the director and founder of the Children’s Learning Institute. Her research covers examinations of biological and environmental influences on children’s development from infancy through adolescence as well as numerous federally funded parent-child and early childhood classroom intervention studies.

Danielle H. Leuschen de Pico is an educator with 11 years of elementary classroom-teaching experience serving bilingual and English language learners in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. She has developed and given trainings on the Developing Talkers curriculum supplement to classroom teachers and collaborated in the development of online training courses.

Hilary B. Kallin has been involved in educational research for five years, working on math, language, and literacy interventions for at-risk preschoolers. She has written curriculum, filmed and edited classroom instructional videos, designed presentations and curriculum materials, and trained teachers.

Meet the Mascots:

Scout the Squirrel is “nuts for words” and wants students to help him collect hundreds of new vocabulary words. He loves all types of books, but especially narratives because they tell such entertaining stories!

Luz the Ladybug is a curious observer who encourages students to build their world knowledge and be successful in school. Luz also loves to read, especially informational books because they teach true facts. Luz loves learning new things!