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Susan B. Neuman

Susan B. Neuman

Former Asst. Secretary, Secondary & Elementary Education


Susan B. Neuman is a professor and chair of the Teaching and Learning Department at the New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, specializing in childhood education and early literacy development. Previously, she served as the US Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education. She is especially known for her work in establishing the Early Reading First and Reading First Program and the Early Childhood Professional Development Program, as well as enhancing accountability efforts to improve children’s achievement. Read More >

Before coming to NYU, she was a professor for over 12 years at the University of Michigan, where she directed the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA), and the Ready to Learning Research Center, which included projects working to change the odds for children in poverty.

Her latest book, Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital (2014), explores the knowledge gap between children from affluent circles and those from poorer neighborhoods and how that gap can be closed by increasing access to literacy resources. She is also the author of such widely read titles as All about words: Vocabulary instruction in the age of Common Core Standards, preK through grade 2 (Teachers College Press, 2013); Changing the Odds for Children at Risk; Educating the Other America (2012); the best-selling Nurturing knowledge: Building a Foundation for School Success with Kathy Roskos; and Reading to your Young Child: A Parent’s guide (with Tanya Wright). She has written over 100 peer-reviewed articles focused on improving the odds of children who live in disadvantaged communities.

She has served on the IRA Board of Directors (2001-2003), and other numerous boards of non-profit organizations, and served as Co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly (2011-2018), ILA flagship research journal. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction, prek-grade 3 for children who live in poverty. 

Neuman has received two life-time achievement awards for research in literacy development, and is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. She has written over 100 articles, and authored and edited 11 books, including the Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Volumes I, II, III) with David Dickinson, “Changing the Odds for Children at Risk” (Teachers College Press, 2009) “Educating the Other America” (Brookes, 2008) and “Multimedia and Literacy Development (Taylor & Francis, 2008).

Neuman received her doctorate at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in 1977; her MA at California State University-Hayward; and her BA at American University. A powerful speaker, Neuman delivers insightful keynotes on how educators and parents can foster a learning spirit in all young children, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. She brings to life her work with teachers in classrooms throughout the country, and provides some critical and important insights in how teachers can address the Common Core standards. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Play & Early Literacy Development: Developing a Language for Literacy & Giving Our Young Children a Fighting Chance

The session will describe the five essentials for engaging young children in developmentally appropriate early literacy activities. It will highlight the importance of language development and what caregivers can do to support young children’s language though play. It will describe how to encourage and support dual language learners. Throughout the presentations, we will focus on daily routines and educational strategies that promote children’s school readiness and prepare them for their future learning. Read More >

Training outcomes:

  • Understand the importance of oral language development in early literacy development
  • Build on children’s interests to promote early learning
  • Develop routines and activities that support dual language learners
  • Understand the relationship and further develop activities that integrate literacy and play
  • Develop content rich instructional activities that promote children’s language, literacy, and interest in the world around them.

Assessment questions: Read Less ^

  • How are literacy, language and play related?
  • In what ways can teachers support children’s interest in learning about their world and early language and literacy?
  • What are some common research-based routines that support children’s early literacy development.

Children Achieving: Closing the Gap by Starting Early

Experts may be uncertain about many issues, but there is widespread agreement that children who reach kindergarten with certain characteristics – an interest in books, a fondness for conversation, a curiosity about the world – are more likely to thrive in school and lead productive, happy lives. There's been an explosion of knowledge over the last few years about how young children develop, namely how early experiences set the stage for success in learning to read and write.  Highlighting the most recent trends and practices in early literacy learning, Neuman shares how we can ensure that all children achieve successfully by “starting early.”

Educating the Other America

In this presentation, Neuman focuses on the significant disparities in children's achievement by income group.  She argues that we need more targeted interventions that focus on three qualities:

  • Providing additional print resources to children
  • Including greater attention to oral language and vocabulary in our programs
  • Building relationships with parents

Improving Vocabulary Development in the Age of Common Core Standards

Common Core: What Does It Mean For Quality Reading Instructions

Nurturing Knowledge: Building a Foundation for School Success by Linking Early Literacy to Math, Science, Art and Social Studies

YouTube: From Virtual Worlds to Digital Classrooms

Developmentally Appropriate Practices & Standards

Enhancing Professional Development