Dennis Ciancio, a Senior Research Associate at WestEd, is a developmental psychologist who specializes in literacy interventions for children and formative assessment of reading skills in classroom settings. For REL West, he is leading the development of a toolkit for the What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide, Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten through Third Grade. He also currently leads four rigorous evaluations of literacy programs.
He has researched reading acquisition and programs for students across the lifespan, including emergent literacy interventions for preschool-aged children to targeted reading programs for adult learners with learning disabilities. Most of his work has been investigating programs to improve literacy outcomes for children in elementary grades. He has partnered with key stakeholders to improve outcomes for learners, especially underserved populations, by producing instructional materials, strategies, and tools for educators to improve practice.
Ciancio has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles on literacy and reading skills development. He has led or co-led the development of eight innovative English Language Arts curricula, tools, online resources, standards-based assessments, including directing two IES Development and Innovation research grants as principal investigator.
The Development of Integrated Text-Level Curricula For Kindergarten Thru Second Grades grant developed a reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing program for primary grades. The Development of an empirically based vocabulary curriculum for kindergarten and first grade students grant developed a vocabulary and writing program for kindergarten and first grades. Dennis directed the development of a classroom-based K-3 benchmark reading assessment and a companion reading intervention activities guide.
Ciancio received a BA, MA, and PhD in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in psychology from George Mason University.