Sara Smith

Sara A. Smith 

Associate Professor

Sara Smith



PO Box 117048 Gainesville, FL 32611



Sara A. Smith received her doctorate in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, followed by postdoctoral research in the Brain.Experience.Education Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education. The goals of her research program are to: 1) generate predictive theories of language acquisition that incorporate language environment and individual differences; and 2) develop scalable technology-enhanced solutions for enabling learning, informed by the first goal. She also has expertise in disability among diverse learners. Dr. Smith develops new technologies for teaching and learning, including an AR vocabulary application for English Learners (ELs) and mixed reality solutions for learning new languages for professional purposes.

She has published over 35 academic papers, holds a patent for a system of language instruction via AR, and has been an invited speaker at both academic and industry events. Dr. Smith has been PI or Co-PI on over $3.5M in grants, including from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and the Department of Education.

In her teaching, Dr. Smith focuses on helping pre- and in-service teachers integrate technology into their teaching and provide differentiated instruction. Dr. Smith is available for doctoral advising. She welcomes students with interests in bilingualism/multilingualism, language learning, and emerging technologies for teaching and learning.

Research Interests

Bilingual / Bicultural Education, Bilingualism and Biliteracy, Cognition, Dual Language Learners, ESOL, Emerging Technologies, Executive Functioning, Language, Language and Literacy Development, Professional Development, Quantitative Research, Technology, Virtual Reality


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Master of Science with Distinction (Honors), Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Spanish, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Professional Appointments

  • 2023-present Associate Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida
  • 2017-2023 Assistant Professor, Department of Language, Literacy, Exceptional Ed, Ed.D., Physical Education, University of South Florida
  • 2014-2017 Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Women’s Studies, California State University East Bay
  • 2014-2014 Lecturer, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • 2013-2014 Visiting Professor, Department of Special Education & Communication Disorders, Bridgewater State University
  • 2013-2014 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Brain Experience Education Lab, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

Activities and Honors

  • 2022 Dr. Kathleen Moore Faculty Excellence Award, University of South Florida Women in Leadership and Philanthropy
  • 2021 Reimagine Education Awards, VR/AR Award, Shortlisted Finalist
  • 2020 Excellence in Innovation Award, University of South Florida
  • 2020 Cade Prize, Fibonacci Finalist
  • 2017 California State University East Bay, Provost’s Award Outstanding Researcher

Selected Grants

Effect of Bilingual vs. Monolingual Methods of Explicit English Vocabulary Instruction on 4th grade Spanish-Speaking English Learners (ELs)

  • Co-PI
Funding Agency
  • Institute of Education Sciences
Project Period
  • 2020-2024
Award Amount
  • $1,398,975

Augmented Reality Software for Language Instruction.

  • Co-PI
Funding Agency
  • Air Force Small Business Technology
Project Period
  • 2023
Award Amount
  • $74,629

Project Parasol: ESOL Paraprofessional to Teacher Pipeline

  • PI
Funding Agency
  • National Professional Development Program, Office of English Language Acquisition
Project Period
  • 2022-2023
Award Amount
  • $2,061,703

Multmedia Augmented Reality Vocabulary Instruction

  • PI
Funding Agency
  • National Science Foundation Innovation Corps
Project Period
  • 2021-2023
Award Amount
  • $50,000

Multimedia Augmented Reality Vocabulary Learning (MARVL)

  • PI
Funding Agency
  • Foundation Bull Ring Accelerator Grant, University of South Florida
Project Period
  • 2020-2021
Award Amount
  • $25,000

Selected Publications

Books / Book Chapters
  • Smith, S. & Murphy, V. (2022). Attitudes, Motivations, and Enjoyment of Reading in Multiple Languages. In A. Stavans & U. Jessner (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Childhood Multilingualism (Cambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics, pp. 393-414). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108669771.022
  • Briggs Baffoe-Djan, J., & Smith, S. (2019). Descriptive statistics for data analysis. The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. J. McKinley & H. Rose (Eds.). Routledge: London.
  • Smith, S. (2019). IELTS vocabulary: Ensuring prepared students. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. J. Liontas (Ed.). Wiley/Blackwell Publishers: Hoboken, NJ.
  • Smith, S. (2019). Current trends and future directions in ELT: Digital environments and motivation among young ESL learners. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. J. Liontas (Ed.). Wiley/Blackwell Publishers: Hoboken, NJ. DOI: 10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0960
  • Smith, S. (2018). Current trends and future directions in ELT: Dynamic Assessment for ELT. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. J. Liontas (Ed.). Wiley/Blackwell Publishers: Hoboken, NJ. DOI: 10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0945
  • Leon Guerrero, S., Smith, S., & Luk, G. (2016). Home language usage and cognitive control in bilingual preschoolers. The cognitive control and consequences of multiple languages in one mind: Bilingual Processing and Acquisition. J. Schwieter (Ed.). John Benjamins: Philadelphia.
  • Smith, S. (2016). Reading between the lines: Exploring relationships between multi-word vocabulary, transparency and literacy. Advancing the Field of Language Assessment: Papers from TIRF Doctoral Dissertation Grantees 2009 – 2013. M. Christison & N. Saville (Eds.). Cambridge Language Assessment: Cambridge.
  • Smith, S., Hadley, E., & García Plaza, E. (accepted). What motivates multilingual children and youth to read?: A systematic review of the research. Journal of Language, Identity & Education
  • Choo, A.L., Smith, S., & Seitz, S. (accepted). The Relationship between Working Memory, Inhibitory Control and Disfluencies in Typically Fluent Bilinguals. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech
  • Smith, S., Carlo, M. S., García Plaza, E., Zayas Santiago, C., & Young, D. J. (2023). Leveraging technology to increase access to differentiated instruction: A case study of a synchronous remote delivery dual language intervention for English Learners. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 34(1).
  • Choo, A. L., Smith, S., Pratt, A., & Leon Guerrero, S. (2023). Multilingualism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Meeting Challenges and Needs. Frontiers in Psychology, 14.
  • Smith, S., Carlo, M., Park., S. & Kaplan, H. (2023). Exploring the promise of Augmented Reality for dual language vocabulary learning among bilingual children: a case study. CALICO Journal, 40(1), 91-112.
  • Foster, M. E., Choo, A. L., Smith, S. (2023). Relations Between Speech-Language Disorder Severity, Academic Success, and Socioemotional Functioning Among Multilingual and English Monolingual Children in the United States: The National Survey of Children’s Health. Frontiers in Psychology, 14. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1096145
  • Fung, K., Smith, S., & Gandolfi, E. (2022). Minecraft Education Edition in foreign language education: Pre-service teachers’ reasons for acceptance and integration. The Journal of Language Teaching, 2(10), 17-28.
  • Foster, M. E., Smith, S., & Spenser, T. (2022). Science achievement and individual differences during elementary school. Cognitive Development, 63.
  • Choo, A.L., Smith, S., & Li, H. (2022). Predictors of speech disorders and recovery: Findings from the National Survey of Children’s Health. Journal of Bilingual and Monolingual Speech, 4(1), 109-126.
  • Smith, S., & Briggs Baffoe-Djan, J. (2022). It takes two to make a thing go write: Self-reported Spanish reading and writing skill and relationships with digit span and stroop task performance among Spanish-English bilinguals. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 25(1), 272-286. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2019.1667949
  • Smith, S., Leon Guerrero, S., Surrain, S., & Luk, G. (2022). Phonetic discrimination, phonological awareness, and pre-literacy skills in Spanish-English dual language preschoolers. Journal of Child Language, 49(1), 80-113. doi:10.1017/S0305000920000768
  • Woodhead, E., Froelich, J., Spink, K., Smith, S., & Chin-Newman, C. (2022). Age and Disclosure of Medical, Mental Health, and Learning Differences to Faculty. The Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 59(1), 73-86. doi:10.1080/19496591.2021.1902818
  • Seitz, S., & Smith, S. (2021). Talking the talk: Considering forced language switching in the workplace. Human Resource Management Review. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2021.100833
  • Smith, S. (2021). Exploring knowledge of transparent and non-transparent multi word phrases among L2 English learners living in an Anglophone setting. System, 101. doi:10.1016/j.system.2021.102590
  • Smith, S., Choo, A. L., & Foster, M. E. (2021). Latent class analysis reveals distinct groups based on executive function and socioemotional traits, developmental conditions, and stuttering: a population study. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 1-17. doi:10.1007/s10578-021-01160-3
  • Smith, S., Choo, A. L., & Seitz, S. (2021). Disfluencies in English Speech Produced by Spanish–English Bilinguals. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica. doi:10.1159/000518138
  • Smith, S., Woodhead, E., & Chin-Newman, C. (2021). Satisfaction among higher education students with disabilities: Measuring accommodation use and experiences disclosing to faculty, staff, and peers. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 25(12), 1358-1374. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2019.1610087
  • Woodhead, E., Chin-Newman, C., Spink, K., Hoang, M., & Smith, S. (2021). College students’ disclosure of mental health conditions on campus. Journal of American College Health, 69(7), 734-741. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2019.1706533
  • Choo, A.L., Smith, S., & Li, H. (2020). Associations between stuttering, comorbid conditions, and executive function in children: A population study. BMC Psychology, 8(113), 1-19. doi:10.1186/s40359-020-00481-7
  • Smith, S., Foster, M. E., Briggs Baffoe-Djan, J., Li, Z., & Sun, Y. (2020). Unifying the Current self, Ideal self, Attributions, Self-Authenticity, and Intended Effort: a partial replication study among Chinese University English Learners. System, 95. doi:10.1016/j.system.2020.102377
  • Smith, S., & Li, Z. (2020). Closing the enjoyment gap: Heritage language maintenance motivation and reading attitudes among Chinese-American children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-18. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2020.1742653
  • Smith, S., Seitz, S., Koutnik, K. H., McKenna, M., & Garcia, J. N. (2020). The “work” of being a bilingual: Exploring impacts of forced language switching on language production at the utterance level and stress among Spanish-English bilinguals. Applied Psycholinguistics, 41(3), 701-725. doi: 10.1017/S0142716420000259
  • Choo, A. L., & Smith, S. (2020). Bilingual children who stutter: Convergence, gaps, and directions for research. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 63. doi:10.1016/j.jfludis.2019.105741
  • Smith, S., Briggs, J., Pothier, H., & Garcia, J. (2019). Mental workouts for couch potatoes: Executive function variation among Spanish-English bilingual young adults. Applied Linguistics, 40(3), 413–431. doi: 10.1093/applin/amx038
  • Kain, S. Chin-Newman, C., & Smith, S. (2019). ‘It's All in your Head’: The Experience of Navigating the University Environment for Students with Psychiatric Disability. Journal of Post-Secondary Education and Disability, 32(4), 411-425.
  • Smith, S., Briggs, J., & Pothier, H. (2018). Exploring variation in reading comprehension among young adult Spanish-English bilinguals: The role of environmental language contact and attitudes toward reading. International Journal of Bilingualism, 22(6), 695-716. doi: 10.1177/1367006917690913
  • Briggs, J., & Smith, S. (2017). English Medium Instruction and Idiomaticity in English as a Lingua Franca. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 5(3), 27-44.
  • Langer, N., Peysakhovich, B., Zuk, J., Drottar, M., Sliva, D., Smith, S., Becker, B., Grant, P. E., & Gaab, N. (2017). White matter alterations in infants at risk for developmental dyslexia. Cerebral Cortex, 27(2), 1027-1036. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv281
  • Raschle, N., Becker, B., Smith, S., Fehlbaum, L., Wang, Y., & Gaab, N. (2017). Investigating the influences of early language delay and/or familial risk for dyslexia on brain structure in pre-school and kindergarten children. Cerebral Cortex, 27(1), 764-776. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv267
  • Seitz, S., & Smith, S. (2016). Working toward neurodiversity: How organizations and leaders can accommodate for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Business and Management, 22(1), 135-152.
  • Im, K., Raschle, N., Smith, S., Grant, P. E., & Gaab, N. (2016). Atypical sulcal patterns in parietal region in children with a familial risk for developmental dyslexia. Cerebral Cortex, 26(3), 1138-1148. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu305
  • Smith, S., & Murphy, V. A. (2015). Measuring productive elements of multi-word phrase vocabulary knowledge among children with English as an additional or only language. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28(3), 347-369. doi: 10.1007/s11145-014-9527-y
  • Raschle, N., Smith, S., Zuk, J., Figuccio, M., & Gaab, N. (2014). Investigating the neural correlates of voice or content directed information within human speech in pre-school children. PLoS one, 9(12), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115549
  • Smith, S., Carlo, M., Park S. & Kaplan, H. (2022). System of Language Learning with Augmented Reality, U.S. Patent No. 62/826,887, filed March 22, 2019, assigned July 21, 2022.