JaNay Brown-Wood, M.A. PhD Student - Learning and Mind Sciences
I am interested in investigating best practices to support the academic skills of at-risk children, especially through building literacy and reading proficiency.
Lack of diversity in children’s books and academic outcomes
Academic achievement gap
Early language, literacy, and reading development
Children’s literature and diversity in children’s books
Out of school time programs
Early childhood education
B.A., Psychology with Applied Developmental Psychology minor (2007), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Undergraduate Thesis: Comparison of Interaction vs. Baby Sign in Children At Risk for Language Delays. This study investigated whether baby sign has an effect on children at risk for language delays.
M.A., Child Development (2011), California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State)
Master’s Thesis: Exploring the impact of American Sign Language on preschool children’s letter name and sound learning. This study investigated the use of gesture when teaching pre-literacy skills to preschool children. Specifically, the incorporation of signs from the American Sign Language alphabet were used to assess if low-income preschool children who are exposed to the ASL Alphabet during a circle time letter program learn more letter names and sounds than children whose circle time program does not include the ASL Alphabet.
Ph.D., Education with Learning and Mind Sciences emphasis (In Progress), University of California, Davis (UCD)
Reading RULES! Research Laboratory at UC Davis
Graduate Research Assistant, Fall 2013- Present
Working with Dr. Emily Solari to test the efficacy of the Reading RULES! first grade reading intervention program.
Language Learning Laboratory at UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain
Research Assistant, 2009
Worked with Dr. Katherine Graf Estes to help run language acquisition and statistical segmentation studies.
Cognitive and Language Development Laboratory, UCLA
Student Researcher/ Research Assistant, 2006-2007
Investigated whether baby sign trained infants could also learn sounds as object labels.
Full Time, Tenured Professor, Early Childhood Education
Full Time, Tenured Professor, Los Rios Community College District, American River College, Early Childhood Education, Fall 2013-Present
Early Childhood Education 300: Introduction to Principles and Practices in Early Childhood
Early Childhood Education 312/Psychology 372: Child Development
Early Childhood Education 325: Positive Guidance Strategies with Young Children
Adjunct Professor, Early Childhood Education
Adjunct Professor, Los Rios Community College District, American River College, Early Childhood Education, Fall 2012-Spring 2014
Early Childhood Education 312/Psychology 372: Child Development
Faculty Diversity Internship Program, Los Rios Community College District, FDIP Instructor Intern, 2010-2011
Teaching Assistant and Guest Lecturer
California State University, Sacramento, Teaching Assistant, 2009
Child Development 135: Crosscultural Child Development
California State University, Sacramento, Guest Lecturer, 2012
Child development 138: Social and Emotional Development
Professional Experience (ECE and K-12)
Youth Service Specialist, SCUSD
Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento,
Youth Service Specialist, Jan 2011- July 2013
Created elementary summer program titled “SummerQuest” as well as the curriculum, materials, deliverables, and trainings to effectively implement program
Created the Instructional Aide Institute training series for Expanded Learning with SCUSD
Trained staff and other adult learners on lesson planning, curriculum implementation, and academic alignment in academic areas such as Math, English Language Arts, and Science
Planned, recruited, staffed, created, implemented, and ran an afterschool program for elementary and middle school students as well as a service learning summer program for middle school students
Program Manager, Target Excellence
Program Manager, Target Excellence, 2009- 2011
Worked with and supervised 5 staff and 100+ school-aged children in a high quality after school environment.
Preschool and Toddler Teacher
Preschool and Toddler Teacher, Granite Bay and Roseville, 2007-2009
Worked with children aged 18 months through 4 in a preschool environment promoting social skills, conflict resolution, relationship building, and healthy development cognitively, socially, and physically.
Site Coordinator/Staff Supervisor, UCLA
Site Coordinator/Staff Supervisor, UCLA Youth and Family Programs, 2006-2007
Coordinated 12 summer camp programs with 50+ staff members and 1000+ children ranging in ages from 5 to 18 years old.
Worked with infants and toddlers aged 4-36 months in a high quality laboratory daycare setting
Helped children build strong attachments, learn social skills and fine tune their motor skills through play, reading, singing, conversation
Encouraged and supported development on multiple levels including emotionally, physically, socially, and psychologically through scaffolding and modeling
Can Diversity in a Picture Book Impact the Story Children Tell?
UC SPEDDR conference, Winter 2018
Presentation presenting pilot study research methods
Diversity in Children’s Literature
Diversity in Children’s Literature, Charlotte S. Huck Festival, March 2018
Presentation discussing the lack of diversity in children’s books and why appropriate representation is important.
Building Brains and Literacy Skills
Building Brains and Literacy Skills, San Leandro Unified School District, Spring 2015
Presentation focusing on how the brain develops and how parents and educators can support the brain development of young children. Conducted an activity where participants could practice the skills to encourage and support young children.
Summer Matters and SummerQuest Presentation, SCUSD
Summer Matters and SummerQuest Presentation Sacramento City Unified School District and UC Davis School of Education, 2013
Presented on SummerQuest, a critical thinking summer program for Elementary students. Discussed the importance of critical thinking in summer programs to combat the “summer learning loss” and achievement gap.
Impact of American Sign Language on Preschool Children’s Letter Name and Letter Sound Learning
Impact of American Sign Language on Preschool Children’s Letter Name and Letter Sound Learning, National Head Start Conference, 2011
Presented my Master’s Thesis at the National 2011 Head Start Edward Ziegler Western Research Institute, discussing the use of gesture when teaching pre-literacy skills to preschool children.
Other Poster Presentations
UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC), 2006, 2007
Gordon Biddle, K. A. & Brown, J. (2010). Changing early childhood education environments with partnership, quality improvement, and intensive consultation: A look at one case. Journal of Transormative Leadership and Policy Studies, 1(1), 45-52.
Brown-Wood, J. (2014). Imani’s moon. Watertown, MA: Mackinac Island Press, Charlesbridge
Imani is a young Maasai girl with a loving mother and a desire to do something great. When she decides she wants to touch the moon, she works hard to reach her goal, even in the face of teasing from the naysayers around her.
2013 Children’s Book Award Winner through the National Association of Elementary School Principals
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Multicultural Book pick for 2015.
Northern CA ACL 2014 Distinguished Book
Recommended pick on the “NYC Reads 365” 1st grade reading list
Brown-Wood, J. (2017). Grandma’s tiny house: A counting story. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing
There is always room for family! This sweet, rhyming counting book introduces young readers to numbers one through ﬁfteen as Grandma’s family and friends ﬁll her tiny house on Brown Street. Neighbors, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandkids crowd into the house and pile it high with treats for a family feast. But when the walls begin to bulge and nobody has space enough to eat, one clever grandchild knows exactly what to do.
Where there’s a will there’s a way when families grow and come together.
Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly
Bank Street The Best Children’s Books of the Year pick for 2018
On the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books of 2017 list
On the Chicago Public Library’s Best Picture Books of 2017 list
Academic Awards and Honors
American Educational Research Association, Minority Dissertation Fellowship Recipient, 2018
JaNay Brown-Wood (PhD) published her first children’s picture book, Imani’s Moon, in October. The book has been selected as the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ Children’s Book of the Year and publisher Charlesbridge named it “Picture Book of the Month.”