Anne E. Cunningham

Anne Cunningham serves as the UCB Director of the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education. Known for her research on literacy and development across the life span, she examines the cognitive and motivational processes underlying reading ability and the interplay of context, development, and literacy instruction. Dr. Cunningham has been awarded several prestigious research fellowships from the National Academy of Education and the National Science Foundation, and she currently serves as principal investigator of Teacher Quality: The Role of Teacher Study Groups as a Model of Professional Development in Early Literacy for Preschool Teachers, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Educational Studies.

Dr. Cunningham is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 15 Educational Psychology and Division 7 Developmental Psychology and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. She is on the editorial board of several journals (Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Reading Research Quarterly, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and The California Reader) and an ad hoc reviewer for over 10 other journals. Dr. Cunningham has been an elected board member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and served on several expert panels for literacy initiatives, which include the The National Early Literacy Panel, Reading First, Early Reading First and chairing the California Literacy and Language Preschool Foundations Panel.

Publications include Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful Motivated Readers, (2014) co-authored with Jamie Zibulsky, published by Oxford University Press.  Edited volumes include Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel; a special issue in the journal Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal entitled "Perspectives on Teachers' Disciplinary Knowledge of Reading Processes, Development, and Pedagogy"; and a special issue in Journal of Learning Disabilities entitled "Perceptions and Reality: What We Know About the Quality of Literacy Instruction; "Starting Small: Building Preschool Teacher Knowledge that Supports Early Literacy Development;" in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal; and "How Teachers Would Spend their Time Teaching Language Arts: The Mismatch between Self-reported and Best Practices" in Journal of Learning Disabilities.



Cunningham, A. E. & Zibulsky, J. (2014). Book Smart:  How to Support and Develop a Successful Motivated Reader, Oxford University Press.  $24.95 ISBN 9780199843930  



Campbell, K.M, Chen, YJ., Shenoy, S.Cunningham, A.E. (2018). Trajectories of children’s writing development in pre-kindergarten: six months of repeated measures. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Chen, Y.J., Irey. R.,& Cunningham, A.E. (2018). Word-Level Evidence of the Role of Phonological Decoding During Orthographic Learning: A direct test of the item-based assumption. Scientific Study of Reading.

Cunningham, A.E., Boyle Etter, K., Platas, L., Wheeler, S. & Campbell, K. (2015). Professional development in emergent literacy: A design experiment of Teacher Study Groups, Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 31, 62-77.

Cunningham, A.E., & Ryan O’Donnell, C.  (2015).  Teacher Knowledge in Early Literacy. In Alexander Pollatsek & Rebecca Treiman (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Reading. (pp. 447-462). New York: Oxford University Press.

Cunningham, A.E., & Stanovich, K.E. (2015). Forward. In P. Afflerbach (Ed.) Handbook of Individual Differences in Reading: Reader, Text, and Context.  New York: Routledge.

Cunningham, A.E. & Chen, Y. (2014). Matthew Effects:  The Rich Get Richer in Literacy. Encyclopedia of Language Development,                Thousand Oaks, CA SAGE Publications, Inc.

Arya, D.J., McClung, N.A., Maul, A. & Cunningham, A.E. (2014). The effects of early home literacy environments on fourth-grade literacy achievement: An international comparison. International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education.

Cunningham, A.E., & Zibulsky, J. (2014). It Takes Two: How Parents and Teachers Bridge the Gap between Listening and Reading Comprehension, In A. DeBruin-Parecki, S. Gear & A. Van Kleeck (Eds.). Pre-Reader Comprehension: One of the Essential Building Blocks to Becoming a Successful Reader. (pp. 215-233). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

McClung, N.A., Ryan O’Donnell, C., & Cunningham, A.E.  (2014).  Orthographic processes and knowledge and their role in visual word recognition. In J.S. Adelman (Ed.). Visual Word Recognition.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Cunningham, A. E. (2014).  What the Experts Say: How Reading Changed My Life, (p.72-73).  New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Cunningham, A.E., & Ryan O’Donnell, C.  (2013).  Reading and Vocabulary Growth, In James F. Baumann & Edward J. Kame’enui, (Eds.), Vocabulary Instruction: Research to Practice (2nd edition). New York:  Guilford Publications.

Lonigan, C. & Cunningham, A.E. (2013). Significant Differences: Identifying the Evidence Base for Promoting Children’s Early Literacy Skills in Early Childhood Education. In C. Lonigan & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten Children: The National Early Literacy Panel and Beyond. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

Cunningham, A. E. & Zibulsky, J. (2011). Tell Me A Story: Examining the Benefits of Shared Reading Handbook of Early Literacy Research, In S. Neuman & D. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of Early Literacy, Vol. III. (pp. 396-411). New York: Guilford Press.

Cunningham, A. E., Stanovich, K. E. & Maul, A. (2011). Of Correlations and Causes: The Use of Multiple Regression Modeling in Literacy Research. In N. Duke & M. Mallette (Eds.), Literacy Research Methods. Vol. II  (pp. 50-69). New York:  Guilford Publications, Inc.

Cunningham, A. E., Nathan, R., & Raher, K. Schmidt. (2011). Orthographic processing in models of word recognition. In M. L. Kamil, P. D. Pearson, E. B. Moje, & P. Afflerbach (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Vol. IV. (pp. 259-285). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Cunningham, A. E. (2010). Reading Aloud to Students, Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology.

Cunningham, A. E. (2010). The impact of reading volume in a technological society. In S.Madsbjerg & H. Romme Lund (Eds.), Reading and learning, (pp. 53-62). Copenhagen,Denmark: Danish Psychology Publishing.

Joshi, M., & Cunningham, A. E. (Eds.). (2010). Perceptions and reality: What we know about the quality of literacy instruction. Special Issue: Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Cunningham, A. E. (2010). Children Literature, Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology.

Cunningham, A. E. (2010). Teaching Reading, Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology.

Cunningham, A. E., Zibulsky, J., Stanovich, K. E., & Stanovich, P. K. (2010). How teachers would spend their time teaching language arts: The mismatch between self-reported and best practices. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 42, 5, 418-430.

Cunningham, A.E., & Zibulsky, J. (2009). Introduction to the special issue about perspectives on teachers’ disciplinary knowledge of reading processes, development, and pedagogy. Special Issue on Teacher Knowledge: Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 375-378.

Cunningham, A. E., Zibulsky, J., & Callahan, M. (2009). Starting small: Building preschool teacher knowledge that supports early literacy development. Special Issue on Teacher Knowledge: Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22, 487-510.

Gray, J. H., Bulat, J., Jaynes, C., & Cunningham, A.E. (2009). LeapFrog learning design: Playful approaches to literacy, from LeapPad to the Tag Reading System. In A. Druin (Ed.) Mobile Technology for Children (pp. 175-198). University of Maryland, MD: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Cunningham, A. E., & Zibuslky, J. (Ed.). (2009). Perspectives on teachers’ disciplinary knowledge of reading processes, development, and pedagogy. Special Issue: Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22(4)

National Early Literacy Panel. (2008). Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.

Lonigan, C. J., Shanahan, T., & Cunningham, A.E. (2008). Impact of shared-reading interventions on young children’s early literacy skills. In National Early Literacy Panel, Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel (pp. 153–171)Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.

California Department of Education Report.  Child Development Division, California Department of Education, through a contract with WestEd.  (2008). California preschool learning foundations, Volume 1.  Sacramento, CA:  California Department of Education.

Cunningham, A. E. (2007). Increasing vocabulary, general knowledge, and reading fluency through print exposure: Teaching practices that can make a difference. Teaching tips for Teachers. International Dyslexia Association.

Cunningham, A. E. (2006). “Read, read. Read everything”:  Why reading volume makes students smarter.  California Reader, 40, 3-10.

Cunningham, A. E. (2006). Accounting for children’s orthographic learning while reading text: Do children self-teach?  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, 56-77.

Cunningham, A. E. (2005). Vocabulary growth through independent reading and reading aloud to children. In E.H. Hiebert & M. Kamil (Eds.), Bringing Scientific Research to Practice: Vocabulary (pp. 45-68). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Cunningham, A. E., Perry, K.E., Stanovich, K.E. & Stanovich, P. (2004).  Disciplinary knowledge of K-3 teachers and their knowledge calibration in the domain of early literacy. Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 139-168.

Stanovich, K. E. & Cunningham, A. E. (2004). Inferences from correlational data: Exploring associations with reading experience. In N. Duke & M. Mallette (Eds.), Literacy Research Methods (pp. 28-45). Guilford Publications, Inc.

Cunningham, A.E. (2003). The value of reading volume and engagement in young children. Encyclopedia of Education, (pp. 2003-2007). New York: MacMillan.

Cunningham, A. E. & Stanovich, K.E. (2003).  Reading matters:  How reading engagement influences cognition.  In D. Lapp & J. Flood (Eds.) The Handbook of Language Arts, (pp. 666-675).  Mahwah, N.J.:  Erlbaum.

Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (2003). Reading can make you smarter! Principal, Alexandria, VA: National Association of Elementary School Principal

Cunningham, A. E., Perry, K.E., Stanovich, K.E. & Share, D.L. (2002).  Orthographic learning during reading: Examining the role of self teaching. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 82, 185-199.

McCutchen, D., Harry, D., Cunningham, A. E., Cox, S., Sidman, S., Covill, A. (2002). Reading Teachers’ Knowledge of Children’s Literature and English Phonology. Annals of Dyslexia. 52, 207-228.

Cunningham, A. E., Perry, K.E., & Stanovich, K.E. (2001). Converging evidence for the concept of orthographic processing. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14, 549-568.

Cunningham, A. E. (2001). Prevention/Intervention: A way of thinking. Professional Development Handbook for K-3 teachers developed with the Reading Success Network, Southern California Comprehensive Assistance Center.

Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1998). What reading does for the mind. American Educator, 22, 8-15.

     Reprinted in (1999). California Reading Initiative: Read all About it:  Readings to inform  the profession.(pp. 425-438). Sacramento,  

           CA: California State Board of Education. 

     Reprinted in (2001). Journal of Direction Instruction, 1, 2, 137-149.

     Reprinted in (2004). Grenzen uberwinden: Erfahrungen austauschen, Wurzburg. 53-74.

     Reprinted in (2007). Estudios Públicos, 108,207-228, Entro de Estudios Públicos © Santiago, Chile.

     Reprinted in (2008). Scholastic Classroom Books Compendium of Research, 38-50.

Cunningham, A. E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1998).  The impact of print exposure on word recognition.  In Ehri, L.C. & Metsala, J.L. (Eds.), Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy (pp. 235-262). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Stanovich, K. E., Cunningham, A. E., & West, R. F. (1998). Literacy experiences and the shaping of cognition. In S. Paris & H. Wellman (Eds.), Global Prospects for Education: Development, Culture, and Schooling (pp. 253-290). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Cunningham, A. E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1997).  Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability ten years later. Developmental Psychology 33, 934-945.

Cunningham, A. E.& Calfee, R. (1997).  A reading-writing language source book for the primary grades. San Francisco: University School Support for Educational Reform.

Paris, S.G. & Cunningham, A.E. (1996). Children becoming students. In D.C. Berliner & R.C. Calfee (Eds.), The Handbook of Educational Psychology (pp. 117-147). New York: MacMillan Publisher.

Stanovich, K.E., & West, R.F., Cunningham, A.E., Cipielewski, J., Siddiqui, S. (1996).  The role of inadequate print exposure as a determinant of reading comprehension problems.  In C. Cornoldi & J. Oakhill (Eds.), Reading Comprehension Disabilities. (pp. 15-32). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Cunningham, A.E., Stanovich, K.E., & West, R.F. (1994). Literacy environment and the development of children's cognitive skills. In E.M.H Assink (Ed.) Literacy Acquisition and Social Context. (pp. 70-91). London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

West, R.F., Stanovich, K.E.,  & Cunningham, A.E. (1994). Compensatory processes in reading.  In R. Dixon & L. Backman (Eds.), Psychological Compensation:  Managing Losses and Promoting Gains (pp. 275-296).  Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Cunningham, A.E. (1993).  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe: Testing policy and practices in early childhood education.  In B.R. Gifford (Ed.), Testing and Public Policy, (pp. 229-294). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Cunningham, A.E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1993). Children's literacy environments and early word recognition subskills.  Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5, 193-204.

Stanovich, K.E. & Cunningham, A.E. (1993). Where does knowledge come from?  Specific associations between print exposure and information acquisition.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 85, 211-229.

Stanovich, K.E  & Cunningham, A.E. (1992). Studying the consequences of literacy within a literate society:  The cognitive correlates of print exposure. Memory and Cognition, 20, 51-68.

Cunningham, A.E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1991). Tracking the unique effects of print exposure:  Associations with vocabulary, general knowledge, and spelling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 264-274.

Stanovich, K.E  & Cunningham, A.E. (1991).  Questions and answers:  Learning styles.  The Reading Teacher, 43, 697-698.

Cunningham, A.E. (1990). Explicit versus implicit instruction in phonemic awareness.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 50, 429-444.

Cunningham, A.E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1990). Assessing print exposure and orthographic processing skill in children:  A quick measure of reading experience. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 733-740.

Cunningham, A.E. & Stanovich, K.E. (1990). Early spelling acquisition: Writing beats the computer. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 159-168.

Cunningham, A.E., Stanovich, K.E., Wilson, M. (1990). Cognitive variation in adult college students differing in reading ability.  In T.H. Carr and B.A. Levy (Eds.), Reading and its Development: Component Skills Approaches (pp. 129-159). New York: Academic Press.

Stanovich, K.E. & Cunningham, A.E. (1990). Reading as constrained reasoning.  In R. Sternberg and P. French (Eds.), Complex Problem Solving: Principles and Mechanisms, (pp. 3-60).  New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cunningham, A.E. & Paris, S.G. (1985). The origins of computer literacy. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Institute for Comparative Human Development, 4, 125-131.

Stanovich, K.E., Cunningham, A.E., & Cramer, B. (1984). Assessing phonological awareness in kindergarten children: issues of task comparability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 38, 175-190.

Stanovich, K.E., Cunningham, A.E., & Feeman, D.J.  (1984). The relationship between early reading acquisition and word decoding with and without context: a longitudinal study of first grade children.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 668-677.

Stanovich, K.E., Cunningham, A.E., & Feeman, D.J. (1984). Intelligence, cognitive skills and early reading progress. Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 278-303.

West, R.F., Stanovich, K.E., Feeman, D.J., & Cunningham, A.E. (1983). The effect of sentence context on word recognition in second- and sixth-grade children. Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 6-15.

Stanovich, K.E., Feeman, D.J., & Cunningham, A.E. (1983). The development of the relation between letter naming speed and reading ability. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 21, 199-202.

Stanovich, K.E., Cunningham, A.E., & West, R.F. (1981). A longitudinal study of the development of automatic recognition skills in first graders.  Journal of Reading Behavior, 13, 57-74.

Curricula and Research Tools:

Cunningham, A. E. (Senior Author), Argüelles, M. E., Templeton, S. & Washington, J. (in press) Next Generation of Reading 2020™.  (English Language Arts curriculum K to Grade 6).  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Cunningham, A. E. (in press).  Teacher Study Groups:  Professional Learning Communities for Preschool Literacy. 

Cunningham, A. E. (Senior Author), Andrews, N., Argüelles, M. E., & Washington, J. (2015). Big Day for PreK™ (early learning curriculum)New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

Adams, M., Hasselbring, T., Cunningham, A. E.,Washington, J., Cardenas-Hagen, E., Hunter, P. & Dockterman, D. (2015). iRead™ (digital adapted learning curriculum for K-2 literacy)New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Cunningham, A. E. (Senior Author), Andrews, N., Argüelles, M. E., & Washington, J. (2014). Big Day for PreK™ (early learning curriculum).New York: Scholastic Education.

Nathan, R., Cunningham, A.E. & Calfee, R. (Senior Author) (2003).  Ready Set Leap!™(digital learning curriculum for K-2 literacy)San Francisco: Leapfrog School House. 

New York Times, 2013; Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K
Woman's Day, September, 2006; Building Vocabulary Through Reading.
Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2006; Speed-Reading: The Sequel.
PBS A Moment of Science, July 8, 2006; Why Read?
PBS Sound Medicine, June 27, 2006; The Effects of Summer Reading.
Encarta MSN, June 7, 2006; What Effect Reading Has on Our Minds.
Encarta MSN, March 23, 2006; Does Speed Reading Really Work?
Education Week, February 11, 2006; Reading in the Early Years.
PBS Children of the Code, 2005; The Benefits of Reading.

Presentations/Professional Experience

UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Education: 

  • Director of Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, 1997-present
  • Associate Professor, Cognition and Development, 1998-present
  • National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship, 1989-1991

University of Washington, College of Education:

  • Associate Research Professor, Educational Psychology
  • Assistant Research Professor, Educational Psychology
Clarkston Community Schools, Clarkston, MI:
  • Early Elementary Teacher (K-3)
  • Reading Resource Specialist (2-6)

Interest and Professional Affiliations

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Psychological Society
  • International Dyslexia Association
  • International Reading Association
  • California Reading Association
  • Council on Exceptional Children
  • National Association for Education of Young Children
  • National Reading Conference
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR)
  • Child Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Learning Sciences
  • Learning Disorders
  • Literacy
  • Special Education
  • Teacher Development
  • Teacher Education and Certification


PhD Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan

M.A. Developmental Psychology, Oakland University

B.S. Child Development and Teaching Credential: Early Childhood Education & Elementary Education Michigan State University


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School of Education
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