Avalos, Mary A.

Research Associate Professor
Teaching and Learning
University of California at Riverside, Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction, 1999
English Learners, Bilingualism, Disciplinary Literacy, Professional Development for Inservice Teachers

Mary A. Avalos is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include bilingualism, second language, and multilingual teaching and learning in public schools, and using Systemic Functional Linguistics as a tool for language teaching. Most recently, she has worked with teachers to develop interventions that provide explicit instruction for academic language, or the language of schooling, in content areas, including reading/language arts, mathematics, and social studies. In the past, Dr. Avalos has directed funded Master’s programs for the Department of Teaching and Learning in TESOL and Reading/ESOL. Her current departmental responsibilities include serving as the Associate Chair, as well as the faculty advisor/director for the Education and Social Change Master’s Program.

View Curricula Vitae

Language and Literacy Learning Lab





Language of Math Instruction

Discourse analyses of teacher and student talk in a 7th grade “intensive” math classroom with English learners to explore how language is used over time. The teacher participated in a two-year professional development project focusing on the language of mathematics, resulting in changes to the way mathematics content was explained.



Vocabulary Instruction Content Analysis

Examining vocabulary instruction in reading series’ teacher guides for fourth grade English learners before and after implementation of the Common Core State Standards.



Definitions Project

Exploring 4th grade English learners’ independent reading comprehension using various definition types to infer unknown vocabulary meaning.



Writing for English Language Learners (WELLs)

Investigating 4th grade English learners’ writing instruction and its relationship to outcomes.


Avalos, M. A. (PI) in partnership with M-DCPS Division of Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies (2014-2015). Florida Academic Literacy Network, Miami-Dade Literacy Design Collaborative. The National Literacy Project, $15,000



Avalos, M. A. (PI). (2011-2012). Examining the Impact of Professional Development to Improve Classroom Intervention Implementation and Project Success. University of Miami Provost Research Award, $16,494.



Secada, W. G. (PI), & Avalos, M. A. (Co-PI). (2010-2013). Language in Math. The Institute of Education Sciences, Goal 2, Development, $1,500,000.



Avalos, M. A., (PI). (2008-2009). Linguistic complexity of texts and comprehension of English language learners. Carnegie Corporation, Discretionary Funds, $50,000.



Avalos, M. A., (PI). (2002-2007). Reading Education Supports Scientific, Up-to-date Language Teaching Strategies (RESSULTS). Title III Professional Development Grant, U. S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition, $1,410,000.00.