Research Interests and Expertise

Doris Luft Baker’s primary research interest is to develop and test interventions that improve the academic outcomes of English learners, particularly Spanish-speaking English learners, and native Spanish speakers using evidence-based practices and technology. Tightly connected to this interest is the development of formative assessments that can measure student academic growth, the examination of the effect of parental support on their children’s academic outcomes, and the enhancement of teacher pedagogical practices and content knowledge.

Selected Research Projects and Grants

  • Transforming the Learning of Science for Second-Grade Latinx Students Through Meaningful Interactions Using Technology Outside of School (Project MITOS), Education Innovation Research, 2024–2028
  • Measuring the Language and Vocabulary Acquisition in Science of Latinx Students Using Speech Recognition and Automated Scoring (Project MELVA-S), Institute of Education Sciences, 2020–2024
  • Iterative Replication of Read Well in First Grade (Project IR2RW), Institute of Education Sciences, 2020–2025
  • English Learner Vocabulary Acquisition: Promoting the Vocabulary and Language Proficiency of Spanish-Speaking English Learners in Second Grade (Project ELVA), Institute of Education Sciences, 2014–2018
  • Hispanic Families Network Development and Evaluation Project, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 2014–2016
  • Early Vocabulary Intervention (Project EVI), Institute of Education Sciences, 2011–2015
  • Graphogame and MindStars Books: Global Cyber Tools for Improving Young Learner’s Reading Comprehension, Scientific Discourse and STEM Learning (Project MindStars), National Science Foundation, 2012–2013
  • Reading Interventions With Spanish-Speaking Students: Maximizing Instructional Effectiveness in English and Spanish (SETR), Institute of Education Sciences, 2007–2012

Review Boards

  • Journal of Learning Disabilities
  • Bilingual Research Journal
  • Learning Disability Quarterly
  • Journal of International Needs in Special Education
  • Principal grant reviewer for the Reading, Writing, and Language Development Panel, Institute of Education Sciences


  • Leadership Fellow Award, College of Education, UT Austin, 2022–2023
  • Research Reboot Award, College of Education, UT Austin, 2021
  • Fulbright award to Chile, 2020
  • Technology, Instruction, Cognition, and Learning Award; American Education Research Association, 2019
  • Kirk award for excellence in a research publication, Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, Division of Learning Disabilities, Council for Exceptional Children, 2019
  • Travel award to attend American Educational Research Association meeting in Toronto, Canada, SMU University Research Council, 2019
  • Sam Taylor Fellowship Award, 2018
  • Research and travel fund to Finland: Science Across Virtual Institutes, National Science Foundation, 2014
  • Article of the Year Honorable Mention, School Psychology Review, 2012
  • Distinguished Dissertation Award, International Reading Association, 2008
  • Instructor of the Year Award, Department of Romance Languages, University of Oregon, 2002

Representative Publications

  • Baker, D. L., & Santoro, L. (2023). Quality read-alouds matter: How you teach is just as important as what you teach. The Reading Teacher. Advance online publication.
  • Glaab, L. (Host). (2023, November 3). Bridging languages: Supporting bilingual students for success [Audio podcast episode]. In More than a test. Amira Learning.
  • Santoro, L. E., & Baker, D. L. (2023, May/June). The science of teaching English learners. Principal Magazine, 102(5).
  • Baker, D. L., Crespo, P., Monzalve, M., Garcia, I., & Gutiérrez, M. (2022). Relation between the essential components of reading and reading comprehension in monolingual Spanish-speaking children: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 34(4), 2661–2696.
  • Baker, D. L., Cummings, K., & Smolkowski, K. (2022). Diagnostic accuracy of Spanish and English screeners with Spanish and English criterion measures for bilingual students in grades 1 and 2. Journal of School Psychology, 92, 299–323.
  • Baker, D. L., Park, Y., & Andress, T. (2022). Longitudinal predictors of bilingual language proficiency, decoding, and oral reading fluency on reading comprehension in Spanish and in English. School Psychology Review, 52(4), 421–434.
  • Coyne, M., McCoach, B., Ware, S., Loftus-Rattan, S., Baker, D. L., Santoro, L., & Oldham, A. (2022). Supporting vocabulary development within a multitiered system of support: Evaluating the efficacy of a supplementary kindergarten vocabulary intervention. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1225–1241.
  • Lambert, S. (Host). (2022). What bilingualism can teach us with Dr. Doris Baker (Season 5, Episode 4) [Audio podcast episode]. In Science of Teaching Reading: The Podcast.
  • Baker, D. L., Ma, H., Polanco, P., Conry, J., Kamata, A., Al Otaiba, S., Ward, W., & Cole, R. (2021). Development and promise of a vocabulary intelligent tutoring system for second-grade Latinx English learners. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 53(2), 223–247.
  • Baker, D. L., McCoach, B. D., Ware, S., Coyne, M. D., & Rattan, S. M. (2021). Effects of Spanish vocabulary knowledge on the English word knowledge and listening comprehension of bilingual students. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 25(6), 2269–2283.
  • Cummings, K. D., Smolkowski, K., & Baker, D. L. (2021). Comparison of literacy screener risk selection between English proficient students and English learners. Learning Disability Quarterly, 44(2), 96–109.
  • Baker, D. L., Ma, H., Polanco, P., Conry, J. M., Kamata, A., Al Otaiba, S., Ward, W., & Cole, R. (2020). Development and promise of a vocabulary intelligent tutoring system for second-grade Latinx English learners. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Advance online publication.
  • Baker, D. L., Santoro, L., Biancarosa, G., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., & Otterstedt, J. (2020). Effects of a read aloud intervention on first grade student vocabulary, listening comprehension, and language proficiency. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Advance online publication.
  • Baker, D. L., Ma, H., & Gallegos, E. (2019). Increasing parental knowledge through workshops on early childhood programs, home literacy, and technology use. Bilingual Research Journal42, 491–509.
  • Baker, D. L., Basaraba, D., & Richards-Tutor, C. (Eds.). (2018). Second language acquisition: Methods, perspectives, and challenges. Nova Science.
  • Hautala, J., Baker, D. L., Keurulainen, A., Ronimus, M., Richardson, U., & Cole, R. (2018). Improving early science learning through multimedia explanations and feedback on spoken questions with a virtual tutor. Educational Technology Research and Development66, 403–428.
  • Baker, D. L., Richards-Tutor, C., Sparks, A., & Canges, R. (2018). Review of single subject research examining the effectiveness of interventions for at-risk English learners. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice33(2), 64–74.
  • Baker, D. L., Basaraba, D., & Polanco, P. (2016). Connecting the present to the past: Furthering the research on bilingualism and bilingual education. Review of Research in Education (centennial volume), 40(1), 821–883.
  • Cena, J., Baker, D. L., Kame’enui, E. J., Baker, S. K., Park, Y., & Smolkowski, K. (2013). The impact of a systematic and explicit vocabulary intervention in Spanish with Spanish-speaking English learners in first grade. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal26, 1289-1316.
  • Baker, D. L., Stoolmiller, M., Good, R. H., & Baker, S. K. (2011). Effects of reading comprehension on passage fluency in Spanish and English for second-grade English language learners. School Psychology Review40(3), 331–351.