Cabell Lab

Sonia Cabell, Ph.D.

Sonia Cabell, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education/Language Arts in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University and Research Faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Dr. Cabell’s research focuses on the prevention of reading difficulties among young children who are at-risk, particularly those who are living in poverty. As a group, these children are more often exposed to lower quality language and literacy interactions both at school and at home than their more economically advantaged peers. The early years (birth – age 8) are especially critical because high-quality interactions and environments during these years lay the foundation for children’s future reading success. Innovative ways to accelerate language and literacy learning are crucial to narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty. Consequently, Dr. Cabell’s work spanning pre-kindergarten through second grade consists of how to strengthen children’s language and literacy skills that serve as precursors to both successful reading comprehension and word recognition.


Research Projects


CKLA Read Aloud Project- Efficacy Trial

The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of the Core Knowledge Language Arts: Knowledge Strand read aloud program in Kindergarten through Second Grade Classrooms. Many students struggle with reading comprehension in the United States and research has suggested that teachers may foster the development of comprehension by reading aloud to students in primary grade classrooms. However, many teachers are not strategic in choosing texts to read aloud, or they follow curricular programs that do not build coherent knowledge.

CKLA is a fully developed curriculum focused on literature, science, and American and World history. In order to test the efficacy of participation in the CKLA program in improving student achievement outcomes, researcher randomly assigned schools either to receive CKLA or to continue to receive the regular classroom practices already in place. Students in the treatment schools will receive a total of three years of CKLA in kindergarten, first, and second grades. Student achievement outcomes (i.e., vocabulary, listening comprehension, knowledge) will be assessed prior to the intervention in kindergarten and again in the spring of kindergarten, the spring of first grade, and the spring of second grade. Implementation fidelity and comparison group practices will be assessed using classroom observations and teacher reading logs.


Teaching Together

The project examines the efficacy of the Teaching Together program for pre- kindergarten (pre-k) children who are at risk of academic difficulties due to limited oral language skills. This project is unique in its focus on academic level oral language classroom activities that are aligned with home-based activities. Our goal is to understand the benefits and costs of increasingly tailored, tiered interventions in school only or at school plus home.


Sit Together and Read and Write

This randomized controlled trial examines the impact of an innovative early literacy curriculum, Sit Together and Read and Write (STAR-W), which combines developmentally appropriate reading and writing instruction on preschool children’s early writing and print skills. The study also examines if the impact depends on children’s pre-intervention writing and print knowledge skills.




Books and Curricular Materials

  • Emergent Literacy Lessons for Success
  • Teaching Together


In The News

  • 2019 chalkbeat CO
  • 2019 Scientific American
  • 2020 Ed Week commentary on Tyner & Kabourek
  • 2021 Forbes article by Natalie Wexler
Associate Professor of Education in Reading Education/Language Arts
Project Coordinator
Ansley Kramer
Lab Manager
Research Assistant
Research Assistant

Lab Personnel

Marcy Wyatt

Project Coordinator

Ansley Kramer

Lab Manager

Sarah Conley

Research Assistant

Doctoral Students