Research Yuuko Uchikoshi Tonkovich

Language and Literacy Development Lab

Our research focuses on the language and literacy development of young children, particularly dual language learners. We have several ongoing projects. The lab is supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and the Foundation for Child Development.

Are you interested in working with us? We are looking for native Spanish-speaking, native Cantonese-speaking, and native English-speaking undergraduate and graduate students to work with us. Students can earn research credit in Education. It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable research experience and to work closely with a faculty mentor, as well as in a team setting. Hours are flexible. We also welcome any prospective graduate students!

If interested, please email us at


Bilingual Reading and the Brain Study
With UCSF, we have just started large-scale 5-year neuroimaging study in looking at how children learning two languages learn to read from kindergarten to 3rd grade in immersion programs. Our participants will include Spanish and Cantonese speakers learning to read in English and in their native languages, and English speakers learning to read in English as well as Spanish or Cantonese. The theoretical goal is to test and evaluate models of literacy acquisition through behavioral assessments and neuro-imaging techniques. In addition, we will study the impact that learning multiple languages may have on cognition. Funded by NICHD. R01HD078351

Collaborators: Dr. Fumiko Hoeft (UCSF), Dr. Ioulia Kovelman (University of Michigan), Dr. Genevieve Leung (University of San Francisco)

Harnessing Parental Engagement to Reduce Summer Reading Loss
We will be conducting a pilot parent engagement program during Spring 2017 through Summer 2017 to help reduce summer reading loss with Latino Dual Language Learners. Funded by UC Davis.

Bilinguals and Socio-Emotional Development
With UC Berkeley, we are examining the relationship between bilingual proficiency and socio-emotional development with Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking immigrant preschoolers and their families.

Collaborators: Dr. Qing Zhou (UC Berkeley)

Early Literacy Study of Immigrant Children
Longitudinal data was collected from Spanish-speaking and Cantonese-speaking English Learners in both home language and English from kindergarten to second grade. Several papers have been published from this study. We are currently working on analyzing the narrative data. Funded by Foundation for Child Development

Collaborators: Dr. Stefka Marinova-Todd (University of British Columbia)

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