Tricia Zucker, PhD, serves as the Co-Director of the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI). In this role, she helps oversee CLI’s strategic priorities to advance learning and health outcomes for all children in research, resource development, clinical programs, and service delivery.


Graduate School
Curriculum, Instruction & Special Education from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2009
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, in Houston, Texas, 2009-2010

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

Dr. Zucker’s research interests include early identification and prevention of reading disabilities, evidence-based curriculum and instruction, effective use of technology for learning, family- and school-based interventions, and early childhood assessment. She is an expert in early literacy and language development, including development of inferential language skills. Her research focuses on children who are at-risk for learning disabilities.Dr. Zucker’ first line of research includes various projects to develop and evaluate innovative classroom curricula and professional development resources. She became interested in this line of research as a former classroom teacher and is passionate about developing curricula that are feasible for educators to use in delivering multi-tiered instruction that personalizes instruction based on student needs. Zucker currently directs a randomized-control trial that compares the efficacy of two versions of an academic language curriculum called Developing Talkers (R305A190065). In this study, Zucker and colleagues examine teacher’s response to these curricula to provide adaptive professional development supports based on teachers’ need.  Zucker directed this and other curricular studies funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on a reading intervention (Reading Rules, R305A180094) as well as a family engagement curriculum called Teaching Together (R305A150319). She also participates in other CLI projects to examine and scale-up evidence-based curriculum, coaching, and professional development approaches.

Her second area of research focuses on empowering families to support their child’s learning at home. For example, in a current study funded by the National Science Foundation (1811356), Zucker is experimentally manipulating approaches aimed at sparking an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for pre-kindergarten children. These approaches include supports from a local children’s museum where Zucker has established a productive research-practitioner-partnership with informal education experts.

Third, Dr. Zucker works on projects to develop and validate new measures, such as an IES-funded study to develop a Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (SABR). She also served as an author of the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) that developed a set of widely used screening and progress monitoring measures to identify students who need additional learning supports.

Finally, Zucker is dedicated to mentoring and training future generations of education researchers. She directs a current IES Postdoctoral Research Training program (R324B200018) that provides extensive research training to postdoctoral fellows who develop their own lines of research. This training focuses on leading rigorous and relevant research within research-practice-partnerships focused on preschool and early elementary children with or at risk for disabilities.


Merz, E.C., Zucker, T.A., Landry, S.H., Williams, J.M., Assel, M., Taylor, H.B., Lonigan, C.L., Phillips, B.M., Clancy-Menchetti, J., Barnes, M.A., Eisenberg, N., de Villiers, J. & the School Readiness Research Consortium. Parenting predictors of cognitive skills and emotion knowledge in socioeconomically disadvantaged preschoolers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 132, 14-31, 2015.

Merz, E. C., Landry, S. H., Zucker, T. A., Barnes, M. A., Assel, M., Taylor, H. B., et al. Parenting predictors of delay inhibition in socioeconomically disadvantaged preschoolers. Infant and Child Development, 2015. doi: 10.1002/icd.1946

Solari, E. J., Zucker, T. A., Landry, S. H., & Williams, J. M. Relative effects of a comprehensive versus reduced training for Head Start teachers who serve Spanish-speaking English learners. Early Education and Development, 1-17, 2016. doi: 10.1080/10409289.2016.1158610

Zucker, T.A., Williams, J. M., Bell, E. R., Assel, M. A., Landry, S. H., Monsegue-Bailey, P., Crawford, A., & Bhavsar, V. Validation of a Brief, Screening Measure of Low-Income Pre-Kindergarteners’ Science and Engineering Knowledge. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 345-357, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2015.12.018

Barnes, M.A., Klein, A., Swank, P., Starkey, P., McCandliss, B., Flynn, K., Zucker, T., Huang, C-H., Fall, A-M, & Roberts, G. Effects of Tutorial Interventions in Mathematics and Attention for Low-Performing Preschool Children. Journal of Research in Educational Effectiveness, 9, 577-606, 2016.

Crawford, A., Zucker, T. A., Van Horne, B. & Landry, S. H. Integrating professional development content and formative assessment with the coaching process: The Texas School Ready model, Theory into Practice, 1-10, 2016. doi: 10.1080/00405841.2016.1241945

Landry, S. H., Zucker, T. A., Williams, J. M., Merz, E. C., & Guttentag, C. L. Improving School Readiness of High-risk Preschoolers: Combining High Quality Instructional Strategies with Responsive Training for Teachers and Parents. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 38-51, 2017. org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2016.12.001

Foster, M., Anthony, J., Zucker, T. A., Branum-Martin, L. Prediction of English and Spanish Kindergarten Mathematics from English and Spanish Cognitive and Linguistic Abilities in Hispanic Dual Language Learners. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 46, 213-227,

Cabell, S. Q., Zucker, T. A., DeCoster, J., Melo, C., Forston, L., & Hamre, B. Pre-kindergarten interactive book reading and children’s language and literacy development: Classroom organization as a moderator. Early Education & Development, 30(1), 1-18, 2019.

Cabell, S. Q., Zucker, T. A., DeCoster, J. & Landry, S. H. The Impact of a Parent Text Messaging Program on Pre-Kindergarteners’ Literacy Development. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Open5(1), 2019.

Zucker, T. A., Carlo, M. C., Landry, S. H., Masood, S., Williams, J., & Bhavsar, V. Developing Talkers: Iterative Design and Pilot Testing of a Tiered Academic Language Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 12, 274-306, 2019.

Barnes, M., Clemens, N., Fall, A., Roberts, G., Klein, A., Starkey, P., McCandliss, B., Zucker, T., Flynn, K. Cognitive Predictors of Difficulties in Math and Reading in Pre-Kindergarten Children at High Risk for Learning Disabilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2019.

Deshmuhk, R., S. Zucker, T.A., Tambyraja, S., R., Pentimonti, J. M., Bowles, R. P., & Justice, L. M. Teachers’ use of questions during shared book reading: Relations to child responses. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 49, 59-86, 2019.

Knight, D. S., Landry, S., Zucker, T. A., Merz, E. C., Guttentag, C. L., & Taylor, H. B. Cost‐Effectiveness of Early Childhood Interventions to Enhance Preschool: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Head Start Centers Enrolling Historically Underserved Populations. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2019,

Montroy, J. J., Merz, E. C., Williams, J. M., Landry, S. H., Johnson, U. Y., Zucker, T. A., … & Clancy-Menchetti, J. Hot and cool dimensionality of executive function: Model invariance across age and maternal education in preschool children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly49, 188-201, 2019.

Denton, C., Montroy, J., Zucker, T.A., Cannon, G. Designing an Intervention in Reading and Self-Regulation for Students with Significant Reading Difficulties, Including Dyslexia. Learning Disability Quarterly, 2020 (in press). DOI:

Montroy, J. M., Zucker, T. A., Assel, M., Landry, S. H., Anthony, J., Williams, J., Hsu, H., Crawford, A., Johnson, U., Carlo, M., & Taylor, H. The Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment: Development, Psychometrics, and Scale-Up of a Comprehensive Screener. Early Education and Development, online first, 31, 701-738, 2020. DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2020.1726700

Alvarenga, P., Zucker, T. A., Tambyraja, S.R., Justice, L.M. Contingency in Teacher-Child Emotional State Talk during Shared Book Reading in Early Childhood Classrooms Early Education and Development, 2020 (in press). DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2020.1722786

Assel, M., Williams, J.M., Foster, M., Hyatt, H. , Landry, S. H., Bhavsar, V., Zucker, T., Crawford, A., Montroy, J.M. Validation of a Math Progress Monitoring Measure for Pre-kindergarten Students. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 2020 (in press).

Zucker, T. A., Cabell, S. Q. & Pico, D. L. Going Nuts for Words: Teaching Young Children Academic Vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 2020 (in press).

Zucker, T. A., Cabell, S. Q., Oh, Y. & Wang. X. Asking Questions is Just the First Step: Using Upward & Downward Scaffolds. The Reading Teacher, 2020 (in press).

Zucker, T. A., Cabell, S. Q., Petscher, Y., Mui, H. & Landry, S. H. (2020). Teaching Together: Effects of a Tiered Language & Literacy Intervention with Head Start Teachers and Diverse Families, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2020 (in press).

Curriculum Vitae

Email the Children’s Learning Institute to request a copy.