New English Learner Resource for Early Childhood from the American Institutes for Research


Introducing the New English Learner Resource for Early Childhood from the American Institutes for Research

Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talents in Students (COLLTS) is a research-based early childhood resource from the leading experts at The Center for English Learners at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). A major goal of the Center for English learners at AIR is to find, test, and highlight the best practices supporting and meeting the needs of English learners and Dual language learners. AIR has distilled their field findings on best practices in Prekindergarten and Kindergarten into an easy-to-implement, ready-to-go resource. 

Available fully in English or Spanish, this six-unit resource will guide preschool and Kindergarten educators and caregivers through the best literacy strategies. This supplemental resource, along with thoughtfully selected and tested read-aloud titles, highlights the latest findings for supporting English learner language and literacy development.

AIR's COLLTS is distributed exclusively by Bebop Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books.

Through the use of interactive reading with outstanding children’s literature, this NEW instructional resource promotes the development of:

  • foundational and pre-reading skills
  • oral language proficiency
  • background and conceptual knowledge

AIR's lessons pair with and can easily fit into a district, library, or daycare's core early childhood program.

Check out a quick, shareable promotional flyer here.

Watch the webinar: Introducing COLLTS

Watch the webinar: Writing in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten 

Read "A Promising Approach for Dual Language Learners" by Dr. Rebecca Bergey and Dr. Patricia Garcia-Arena at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Article originally published in CABE 2022 Multilingual Educator magazine.


Targeting the critical ages of Kindergarten and PreKindergarten, the COLLTS Bebop resource consists of:

  • six units in English and six units in Spanish
  • each unit has five lessons centered around a children’s book (Note: Read alouds may be purchased separately)
  • teaching guides
  • writing activities
  • picture cards with target vocabulary
  • observational protocol for coaches
  • bilingual family literacy take-home handouts

COLLTS lessons supplement and can easily fit into an ongoing early childhood core program.

Each teacher-directed component of a COLLTS lesson is 15 minutes long. Ten-minute center activities complement and extend the teacher-directed lessons.

The instructional resource is available in 3 kits:

The books were purposefully selected for their:

Book bundles are available in:

There are titles in English and Spanish: 

  • Lola Loves Stories
  • The Snowy Day
  • The Paper Crane
  • From Seed to Pumpkin
  • Fernando’s Gift / El regalo de Fernando (bilingual edition)
  • Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea
  • A Lola le encantan los cuentos
  • Un día de nieve
  • El sol del verano
  • Los pájaros de la cosecha
  • Pescar es divertido

Why American Institutes for Research for PreK?

The COLLTS early childhood resource is:

  • Evidence-based
  • Aligned with college and career readiness standards
  • Easy to implement and integrate
  • Builds in professional development
  • Supports Dual language learners
  • Field-tested and teacher-friendly

Bringing the COLLTS Bebop Resource to You

Professional developers from the American Institutes for Research's Center for English Learners are available to come to your district, school, library, or early childhood education setting to prepare your early childhood education teachers, community volunteers, and/or coaches to implement the COLLTS strategies.

AIR offers one- or two-day training sessions to prepare teachers, coaches, and other staff to implement the COLLTS strategies. Follow-up coaching is also available.

The AIR and Bebop Books teams work closely with districts and schools to provide customized support that prepares instructional staff to meet the demands of high academic standards for English learners.

  • Partnership: We take time to learn about a client’s needs and develop a customized support plan
  • Implementation: We provide support to enhance curriculum and instruction and track progress
  • Sustainability: We work with districts to develop plans for sustaining the work

Fill out our interest form and we'll be in touch!

Share a PDF of the promotional flyer here.

Watch the Webinar: Best Practices for English Learners in PreK:

Evidence-based, Research-backed, Classroom-tested

In 2019, COLLTS was used in treatment classrooms to support Dual language learners' (DLLs') oral language development. The intervention consisted of teacher professional development; curricular materials that guided teachers in principles of effective instruction; interactive book reading, in which children are exposed to language in rich semantic contexts; and targeted skills instruction to build foundational literacy skills.

Key Findings:

  • Children who participated in the intervention showed significantly larger gains than children in control classrooms in three domains of oral language. These domains have consistently been shown to be developmentally sensitive and positively related to the bilingual reading achievement of DLLs
  • The study demonstrates that an intervention can be easily integrated into preschool programming and result in significant improvements in children’s oral language, compared with children in control classrooms whose teachers did not receive COLLTS strategies and training.

Journal Article: Developing Oral Language in Young Dual Language Learners, Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS)

Learn more about the pilot and study findings here.

Watch the Webinar about Research findings here.

Lead authors of COLLTS at the American Institutes for Research

The researchers at the American Institutes for Research who created the COLLTS instructional resource have decades of experience developing literacy curricula for bilingual students in the United States. These researchers are part of the Early Childhood Team at the Center for English Learners at AIR.

  • Diane August, former Managing Researcher
  • Ashley Simpson Baird, former Senior Researcher
  • Rebecca Bergey, Senior Researcher
  • Lauren Artzi, Researcher
  • Alejandra Martin, Researcher

The American Institutes for Research Professional Development Offerings 

The COLLTS professional development takes a job-embedded approach. We provide the COLLTS professional development to teachers and caregivers to familiarize them with the COLLTS methods and materials. Once they have had initial training and experience implementing the units, they are eligible for training that teaches them to create their own shared interactive reading units that use COLLTS methods. We offer training for coaches or administrators in the COLLTS methods and materials and ways they can support teachers in implementing COLLTS lessons. Coaches in turn can then provide support to teachers in using the program. We are also available organize and moderate planning and discussion about COLLTS as part of a site or school’s professional learning community (PLC). 

Suggested Training Scenarios 

Half day foundational training: This 3-hour, half-day foundational training introduces teachers to all the components of the COLLTS program, and gives teachers practice with using the program.  

Full day foundational training: This 6-hour, full day training builds upon foundational training by providing additional support on how to integrate COLLTS into existing curricula and routines and the possibility for support in development of lessons using the COLLTS method.  

Additional observation and coaching support can be added to any training package to support implementation.  

For more information on these offerings, please contact Shannon Keuter at  

Share a PDF of the promotional flyer here

About AIR

Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of education, health and the workforce. AIR’s work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit

About the Center for English Learners at AIR

The Center for English Learners at AIR is committed to reducing the achievement gap and improving outcomes for English learners by connecting rigorous research to policy and practice. In addition to professional development related to COLLTS, Center staff conduct research related to teaching and learning; perform policy studies; provide technical assistance to states and districts to enhance English language learning; and support schools in implementing Attaining Core Content for English Language Learners (ACCELL), the AIR research-based approach for supporting teachers with English learners in their classrooms.

About Bebop Books

Bebop Books offers leveled books that support literacy learning in small group reading and intervention settings—all with a strong commitment to diversity and cultural authenticity. Bebop Books provides the content and literacy opportunities you need to engage all children with authentic, effective learning experiences!

Get Started!

For full price and ordering information, or to receive a sample, contact us! Someone from our Educational Sales and Literacy team will get back to you shortly.

To order the COLLTS resource kits and books, please contact

To speak with the authors of the instructional resource or schedule professional development for your district and school, please contact Shannon Keuter at

Fill out our interest form and we'll be in touch!

Sole Source: Our COLLTS Bebop Kits are offered exclusively by Bebop Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books.

CERTIFIED MBE: Lee & Low Books is a certified 100% Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE)

About Lee & Low Books

Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural children's book publisher in the United States.
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