teacher kneeling down to help a young student

Language and Literacy Research Center (LLRC)

Project ToggleTalk

What is ToggleTalk?

The aim of the ToggleTalk project is to study the efficacy of Toggle Talk, a language arts curriculum supplement by partnering with Baltimore City Public Schools. Toggle Talk provides young children with vocabulary and language structure awareness to become comfortable in switching between their home/informal language and classroom/formal language. Toggle Talk has been shown to improve standardized reading scores in pilot studies. 

Toggle Talk is a fully-developed language arts curriculum supplement that uses scripted lessons to teach students how to recognize and produce language in both their home/informal language and the classroom/formal language. Lessons use picture sorting, writing, and read-alouds with custom-written storybooks to introduce the concept of home/informal/non-academic language vs. classroom/formal/academic language. Toggle Talk lessons are about 15-20 minutes long and are delivered by the classroom teacher about 2-3 times a week for about 16 weeks.

All Toggle Talk lessons are scripted to ensure fidelity of implementation across teachers with different levels of knowledge about dialect differences, grammar, and contrastive analysis. A training program to teach educators how to implement Toggle Talk includes a hands-on full-day workshop prior to beginning Toggle Talk and on-site observations with feedback sessions throughout the first year of implementation.

Visit the ToggleTalk project website to learn more. 

Time Frame: Four years
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jan Edwards, Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Associate Director of the Language Science Center
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ana Taboada Barber, Professor of Special Education and Director of the Language and Literacy Research Center
Principal Investigator: Dr. Rebecca Silverman, Professor of Education at Stanford University
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ebony Terrell Shockley, Executive Director and Associate Clinical Professor of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership and Office of the Dean
Project Manager: Tatiana Thonesavanh, Lab Manager of University of Maryland's Learning to Talk Lab
Teacher Training & Support Coordinator: Carolyn Mazzei, University of Maryland's Learning to Talk Lab