Literacy skills, the ability to communicate effectively orally or through print and digital media, are critical for success in the 21st Century. To do so, children and youth must develop rich language skills in the academic register (or style) of the official language of instruction, regardless of the language or dialect they speak at home or whether they have learning disabilities. Penelope Collins' research seeks to understand how to best support students in developing the literacy and language skills needed for school success. Her research follows three primary lines of inquiry:

  1. The development of language and literacy skills among young children, particularly dual-language learners, and how these early skills contribute to academic achievement.
  2. The development of language and literacy skills among diverse students in elementary through secondary school, and strategies to support their academic achievement and engagement.
  3. The role of technology and digital media to support language and literacy development among youth, both in school and out of school.