Skibbe, Lori Ph.D.

Associate Professor

552 W. Circle Drive, 2F Human Ecology, East Lansing, MI 48824



NICHD Training Grant Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, 2006-2008, Pathways to Literacy Project, PI: Frederick Morrison Ph.D., Risk & Prevention in Education Sciences, University of Virginia, 2006 Dissertation: Maternal use of instructional support during phonological awareness intervention for children with specific language impairment Dissertation committee: Laura Justice (Chair), Robert Pianta, Sara Rimm-Kaufman, and John Nesselroade M.A., Developmental Psychology, University of Virginia, 2002, Thesis: Theory of mind and social skills in low-income preschoolers M.A., Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 1998 B.A., Psychology, The College of New Jersey, 1997


Lori Skibbe’s program of research focuses on individual differences in the development of literacy skills for children with and without special needs using a bio-ecological framework which recognizes that children’s development is affected by a constellation of individual, family, and community factors. Specifically, she emphasizes three streams: (1) children's literacy development in the context of schools and families, (2) the associations between language impairment and emergent literacy skills, and (3) the development of appropriate techniques for assessing emergent literacy skills, capitalizing on new technologies to maximize access for children with a wide range of abilities.

Dr. Skibbe is a Co-PI on a grant funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (PI: Bowles) entitled “Development and validation of the Narrative Assessment Protocol (NAP).” The goal of this project is to create a narrative assessment that can be used by professionals who work with young children to evaluate their language skills. To date, the NAP team has developed the item pool and collected 1500 narratives from children ages 3 to 6. They are now following children longitudinally to examine how their narrative skills relate to aspects of their literacy development. This tool has strong practical applications, as it will be helpful in screening children for language difficulties.

Dr. Skibbe is the Director of Research at the Child Development Laboratories ( (CDLs) at MSU. She manages the ongoing data collection efforts at the East Lansing and Haslett sites, overseeing a team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants who gain invaluable research experience and skills as they assist in the studies at the CDL. As part of this project, she works to understand children's early literacy and socioemotional development from 18 to 60 months of age. Approximately 200 children are currently enrolled in the lab schools. As well as being a resource for research and training sites for students, both CDL schools meet the highest quality standard for instruction and are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. If you are interested in getting involved in this project, please contact her for more information (

Dr. Skibbe is a co-director of the Early Language and Literacy Investigations (ELLI) Laboratory at Michigan State University which engages undergraduate and graduate students in research projects focused on young children's language and literacy development. She is also a principle investigator in the Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC).

Dr. Skibbe teaches the following undergraduate and graduate courses.

HDFS 211 Child Growth & Development

HDFS 811 Child Development in Ecological Perspective

HDFS 822 Assessment of the Young Child


Focus Area

Child Development

Areas of Interest

  • Early literacy development in the context of families and schools
  • Assessment of literacy skills during preschool
  • Early literacy interventions for children with special needs