Carolyn Brown, Ph.D. received her B.S. (1976) and M.S. (1977) degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Eastern New Mexico University. She then studied at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where she earned her Ph.D. (1981) in the same field. Dr. Brown’s areas of specialization are Child Development, Language Acquisition, and Reading.


As a research scientist at the University of Iowa’s Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic, Dr. Brown developed tools and evaluated strategies that optimize language and literacy development for individuals. Her early work was focused on individual case studies, which incorporated instructional practices and technology. While developing instructional processes and technological applications that would facilitate this process for individual children, Dr. Brown’s work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education (DOE), and the State of Iowa.


Jerry Zimmermann, Ph.D., J.D. received a B.A. in psychology from Brown University (1968), an M.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology (1971) from Southern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Speech Science (1973) from the University of Iowa. His research at the University’s Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic earned him the distinction of being a leading authority on stuttering.


Dr. Zimmermann received two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Iowa (1973, 1974-76), both of which were supported by the National Institutes of Health. In addition, he earned his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law (1987) and worked for several years as an attorney at law in private practice (1987-1993).


As colleagues at the University of Iowa, Drs. Brown and Zimmermann began research in how young children make the transition from oral language to print. Through several years of intensive investigation with children and teachers, they developed an approach to teaching reading that provided instructional balance at the level of the individual child. They combined unique, diagnostic and instructional, interactive software with comprehensive professional development, long-term follow-up coaching for teachers, and engaging instructional materials. The result was called Foundations in Reading, a classroom-based program that is now known as Breakthrough to Literacy®. In 1997, Breakthrough, Inc. became a part of The Wright Group, one of the nation’s largest publishers of children’s literature. Today, Breakthrough to Literacy is part of McGraw-Hill School Education.


In 2005, Drs. Brown and Zimmermann co-founded the nonprofit organization, The Iowa Language and Literacy Institute, with the mission of improving lives by improving literacy. They have continued to focus on obtaining results in classrooms by providing an effective conceptual framework of language and literacy development for teachers and the tools to reach each child. Drs. Brown and Zimmermann developed and implemented the curriculum for the internet-delivered reading intervention, Access Code. They also serve as adjunct professors in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa.

Linking the Science of Learning to the Art of Teaching

Foundations in Learning | Coralville, IA | Tel: 888-701-3009  

Foundations in Learning | Coralville, IA | Tel: 888-701-3009