About the Authors

Differentiated Visual Tools

Edwin Ellis, Ph.D.

Research Partner, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama

President, Makes Sense Strategies, LLC

Edwin S. Ellis, Ph.D.

Edwin S. Ellis, Ph.D. is a Research Partner at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama.

Dr. Ellis has conducted research on strategic instruction for over 30 years and has worked extensively putting that research into practice. Dr. Ellis has authored numerous books and journal articles and is a 5-time selling author. His scholarship is well known and studied in the academic community, and the practical, user-friendly instructional materials stemming from his research are used extensively in intermediate, middle, and high schools as well as in teacher-preparation programs throughout the world.

Dr. Ellis is a co-author of The Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) developed at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. The SIM Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines he developed are among the most widely implemented SIM interventions.

Dr. Ellis’ most recent work led to the development of Differentiated Visual Tools (DVTs), a series of programs designed to address discipline-specific content literacy in grades K-12. The DVTs are graphic organizer-like devices that use both visual features and embedded prompts individually designed to teach specific content and Common Core Standards in a manner that reduces the cognitive load for both teachers and learners. The DVTs enable educators to teach complex standards in simple ways, and thus significantly reduce teachers and students’ cognitive load.

Dr. Ellis has developed an extensive array of interventions and instructional tools. For example, his Makes Sense Strategies (MSS) materials are the culmination of over 15 years of research examining ways to utilize principles of strategic instruction to make complex information more readily understandable, meaningful, and memorable. AYP test scores in elementary and secondary schools implementing MSS attest to the robustness of this work.

At the University of Alabama, Dr. Ellis developed the Multiple Abilities Program (MAP), a highly innovative approach to teacher education in which use of Makes Sense Strategies is prominently featured. The International Reading Association recently recognized MAP with its “Literacy Teacher-education Program of Distinction” national award.

Dr. Ellis’ commitment to developing powerful, yet practical tools for teachers was described by the Alabama Superintendent of Education: “No university faculty member
has worked more closely with us in a sustained manner and created a more tangible impact across multiple dimensions than Dr. Ellis. His leadership, ‘can-do’ attitude, and the quality of materials, vision, guidance, and professional development set the standard.

Selected Honors

Ten Best Teacher Educators in US
Academy for Effective Instruction, Council for Exceptional Children

Individual Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Learning Disabilities
Council for Exceptional Children

Literacy Teacher-education Program of Distinction (awarded to MAP)
International Reading Association

Research Impact Award
Capstone Education Society, University of Alabama

G.R. Alley Partnership Award for Outstanding Collaborative Research 

Center for Research in Learning, University of Kansas

Academic Excellence Award
Capstone Education Society, University of Alabama

Excellence in Scholarship Award (awarded three times)
University of South Carolina

President, International Council for Learning Disabilities

President, Council for Exceptional Children: Division of Learning Disabilities

Linda A. Ellis, M.A., CCC

Linda A. Ellis, M.A., CCC

Linda A. Ellis, M.A., CCC has 35+ years experience in the field of speech-language pathology. She has worked with adults and children in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, private practice and public schools. She was the lead speech-language pathologist in her public school setting, and was awarded the speech-language pathologist of the year in 2007. In 2007, she was also awarded the Public School Therapist of the Year by the Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama. Linda is co-author of several books and software programs, including the various Differentiated Visual Tools programs and Instructional Routines for Emerging Core Thinking and Language Skills.