Brook Sawyer

Brook Sawyer, a faculty member with the College of Education, and program director of the Teaching, Learning and Technology program.

Brook Sawyer Awarded Institute of Education Sciences Grant for Parents Plus en Español

Sawyer's program empowers Spanish-speaking parents to help their preschool children improve their language outcomes.

Brook Sawyer was recently awarded a three-year Development and Innovation Research Grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The nearly $2 million grant will facilitate Sawyer’s continued development and extension of her Parents Plus program, which also was funded by the IES.

Sawyer is a faculty member and program director in the College of Education’s Teaching, Learning and Technology program. Her research aims to promote the development of young children who have disabilities or who are dual language learners (DLLs). Sawyer focuses on young children’s language development given how critical language skills are for children’s academic and social-emotional success.

More than 40% of preschoolers are diagnosed with developmental language disorder, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Research shows that parents who receive language facilitation training are effective at promoting their children's language skills, but there is a lack of evidence-based parent interventions for Spanish-speaking families.

This is where Sawyer’s Parents Plus en Español comes in. The program hopes to make an impact by empowering Spanish-speaking parents to help their preschool children improve their language outcomes. Parents will be trained via an app and practice-based coaching in evidence-based language facilitation strategies.

Parents Plus en Español will be a cultural and linguistic adaptation of the existing Parents Plus program. Sawyer and her team will develop Parents Plus en Español in partnership with parents and speech-language pathologists with additional input from researchers. The aim of this grant is to develop, evaluate and disseminate the results of this parent-implemented intervention. On this project, Sawyer will work with Carol Scheffner Hammer, a professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College with Columbia University, who has been a longstanding, important partner in developing and testing the Parents Plus program.

To learn more about Parents Plus, visit

Story by Beth Blew.

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