Michigan State University

College of Social Science

Human Development Initiative

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The Human Development Initiative, begun in 2009, is a community of scholars throughout the university interested in development across the lifespan. The initiative creates venues where scholars involved in cutting-edge research in the social and health sciences (including genetics, neuroscience, and psychosocial development) can focus on the intersections between their own work and that of other researchers. We invite faculty and graduate students to join us at our bi-weekly brown bag speaker series and our fall and spring colloquia.

Gerde Hope K. Gerde
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Purdue University

Research Statement
Gerde’s primary research interests focus on the development and evaluation of approaches to promoting children’s early language and literacy growth via professional development for teachers. She is especially interested in how at-risk children’s language and literacy development is affected by the quality of children’s verbal interactions with adults and the relation between adult behavior and their educational background. Her work includes longitudinal analyses of how teachers’ language relates to children’s growth in early language and literacy skills across multiple classroom contexts (e.g., book reading, free play). Also, she has interest in the relation between young children’s development across language and literacy skills. One of her current projects investigates the interconnectedness between children’s oral language, alphabet knowledge, and writing skills.

Research Publications    
2009Gerde, H. K., & Powell, D. R. (in press). Teacher education, book reading practices, and children’s language growth across one year of Head Start. Early Education and Development.
2008Powell, D. R., Diamond, K. E., Bojczyk, K. E., & Gerde, H. K. (2008). Head Start teachers’ perspectives on early literacy. Journal of Literacy Research, 40, 422-460.
2008Diamond, K. E., Gerde, H. K., & Powell, D. R. (2008). Development in early literacy skills during the pre-kindergarten year in Head Start: Relations between growth in children’s writing and understanding of letters. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 467-478.
2006Powell, D. R., & Gerde, H. K. (2006). Considering kindergarten families. In Gullo, D. (Ed.), K-Today: Teaching and learning in the kindergarten year (pp. 26-35). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.