Dr. Washington is a professor and the program director of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Human Development at Georgia State University. Her research focus is language development and language disorders in African American children at the time of school entry and emergent literacy skills of high-risk preschoolers.
Watch the full Reading Rockets webcast, From Babbling to Books: Building Pre-Reading Skills, featuring Washington, Todd Risley, and Sharon Landesman Ramey discussing research-based strategies for developing language and pre-reading skills in young children.
See a selected list of Dr. Washington's books.
Dr. Washington is a professor and the program director in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Georgia State University. In addition, she is an affiliate faculty of the Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy initiative and the Urban Child Study Center at Georgia State. Her work focuses on understanding cultural dialect use in African American children with a specific emphasis on the impact of dialect on language assessment, literacy attainment, and academic performance.
Her work with preschoolers has focused on understanding and improving the emergent literacy skills necessary to support later reading proficiency in high-risk groups, with a special focus on the needs of children growing up in poverty in urban contexts. Currently, Washington is a principal investigator on the Georgia Language Disabilities Research Innovation Hub, funded by the National Institutes of Health – Eunice Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development. This research hub is focused on improving early identification of reading disabilities in elementary school aged African American children, and includes a focus on children, their families, teachers, and communities.
Washington’s research program is currently addressing the following key areas: (1) the role of cultural- linguistic variation, socioeconomic status and other social risk factors on language use and development for African American students and their families; (2) the role of language in the attainment of early literacy skills by African American preschoolers and kindergartners; and (3) prevention of language and reading impairments in high-risk preschoolers and kindergartners.