[University of Michigan School of Education] [Professor Elizabeth Sulzby, Ph.D.]

[short bio]

Elizabeth Sulzby, Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, is best known for her pioneering work in emergent literacy. Prior to coming to Michigan in 1986, Sulzby was associate professor with tenure at Northwestern University. During 1996-97, she was a visiting professor at Leiden University, the Netherlands, where she collaborates with A.G. Bus and Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn in studies of attachment and emergent literacy. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and her M.Ed. from the College of William and Mary. She did post-B.A. study in philosophy at Harvard University after receiving her B.A. in philosophy and English from Birmingham-Southern College. Her southern background and background in textual analysis led to her interests in oral/written language relationships and the literacy development of low income and minority children.

Sulzby is the author, with W. H. Teale, of Emergent literacy: Writing and reading, the book that set the agenda for emergent literacy research. She has published her research on children's emergent reading and writing development in numerous journals. She has also written research reviews for the Handbook of Reading Research, Yearbook in Early Childhood Education, Handbook of the English Language Arts, and her work on emergent storybook reading has appeared in Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, 4th Ed. Her studies of emergent bookreading and emergent writing have been conducted with diverse groups of children aged 2-7, including African American, Spanish-English bilingual immigrant, Appalachian, and European American children.

Research in emergent literacy has led Sulzby in a number of related directions. She has studied the transition from emergent to conventional literacy, designing techniques for assessing literacy from toddlers to early elementary grades in a manner consistent with emergent literacy insights. Her studies, with Bus, van IJzendoorn, Teale, and Kaderavek have bridged the parent-child intervention studies and children's independent emergent readings, including, with Kaderavek, parent-child bookreading and toy play with 2-4 year old children with Specific Language Impairment. Another application has been studies of computers as tools of changing literacies, or multiliteracy.

Her research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, NIE/OERI, the Research Foundation of NCTE, and by various computer and software companies, including IBM, Apple Computer, and Jostens. Sulzby is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and NCRLL and has served on many editorial and research review boards. Recently, she served on OERI's advisory group for a center for early literacy agenda, NCEE's New Standards Primary Literacy Panel and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council's Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Currently, she is conducting a study of Spanish/English storybook reading in Chicago as a member of the new OERI Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) headquartered at the University of Michigan's School of Education.