UCSF Learning Success Program

Improving instruction for all readers

Learning to read is one of the most important and powerful skills children acquire for success later in life. The process of learning to read is not well understood, especially for children who speak more than one language. Our research team at the University of California, San Francisco is seeking to address this using cutting edge neuroscience technology.

We ultimately hope to help teachers develop instructional strategies to maximize children’s success in the classroom and beyond. We also hope that the findings from this study will not only help your child, your family and your school, but will also help in planning better general education and dual-language immersion instruction.

The UCSF Learning Success Program is an exciting opportunity to stay up-to-date with your child's academic (reading and math) and cognitive (self-control, attention, memory) skills, which are critical to future success, every year for three years..


Benefits for Parents

  • In-depth reports on your child’s development, with consultation sessions, at no cost to you

  • Financial compensation ($80)

  • Transportation reimbursement (to/from UCSF's Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses)

  • Evidence-based computerized literacy program upon request

  • Lunch, snacks and take-home toys for your child

  • Drop off your child or remain onsite in our comfortable waiting area

  • Brain pictures, a unique view of your child—perfect for a scrapbook or show-and-tell

What will my child do?

  • 1-3 visits annually to measure skills important for academic success

  • Annual assessments from kindergarten to third grade

  • Each visit is 3-6 hours, including breaks and lunch

  • An MRI brain scan (MRIs do not involve X-rays, radiation, sedation or injections). Our team of experts in pediatric MRI make the MRI a comfortable and fun experience for children!



Community Benefits

In addition to the cutting-edge research in our lab, we have a commitment to the continued development of Bay Area schools and PTAs, particularly the schools in the SFUSD. To affirm this commitment, we have pledged to support training in socio-emotional learning, learning disability, multilingualism and biology/neuroscience. Through a school-wide or PTA partnership with our program we:

  • Help build community through supporting social events, such as New Kinder events,

  • Help recruit new incoming families to your school, 

  • Provide additional science classes to your children,

  • Provide professional development and continuing education for teachers,

  • Provide seminars for PTAs, parents and teachers,

  • Help with universal screening, which is a great way for your school to begin to meet the new Assembly Bill (AB1369) requirements of early identification of dyslexia and learn about your students' progress (from beginning K to Grade 3).

Program Events

Our Learning Success program exteds our love of science through outreach events and program sign-up events. We provide science classes to approximately 1,000 K-5 public school students annually. The science class starts with a presentation about brain plasticity, the science of learning, motivation and mindset, essentially providing tips to how to maintain brain health, and where to find more resources. After this presentation, an interactive session at various stations is offered to help visualize the information learned. These activities include: (1) touching and observing human brains and other biological specimens, (2) dissection of real sheep brains while completing worksheets, (3) creating a brain using Play-Doh, (4) coloring a brain diagram while learning different functions of the brain. In conclusion to this class, a fun and interactive Brain Quiz is given, followed by a Q&A session with the scientists and clinicians.

Our past/future events include:

  1. Daniel Webster Sheep Brain Dissection Class- April 2017

  2. Daniel Webster Kinder Playdate- April 2017

  3. Noriega Preschool Welcome Event- August 2017

  4. Daniel Webster Kinder Event- August 2017

  5. Rooftop Kinder Playdate- August 2017

  6. Garfield Welcome Back- August 2017

  7. Garfield Back to School Night- September 2017

  8. West Portal Back to School Night- September 2017

  9. Tenderloin Back to School Night- September 2017

  10. Rooftop Elementary Sheep Brain Dissection Class- October 2017

  11. West Portal Kinder Brain Science Class - November 2017

  12. Daniel Webster PTA Meeting info Session - November 2017

  13. Daniel Webster Sheep Brain Dissection Class - December 2017

  14. West Portal Brain Science Class - February 2018 (3 classes)

  15. West Portal Brain Science Class - March 2018 (2 classes)

  16. West Portal Brain Science Assembly - April 2018 (5 classes)

  17. West Portal Kindergarten Orientation - April 2018