Laura Justice

Headshot of Laura Justice

CCEC Executive Director, The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy
EHE Distinguished Professor, Department of Educational Studies

Program Area: Educational Psychology

(614) 292-1045

Personal Website


Laura Justice is EHE Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology and Executive Director of the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy and the Schoenbaum Family Center. Justice is an expert in early cognitive development and disabilities whose research agenda focuses on enhancing the well-being and life potential of young children. Justice’s global research portfolio includes active collaborations in Denmark, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand. Justice has received such recognition for her research as the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (from Pres Bush), two Fulbright Awards, and numerous scientific merit awards for research publications. Justice has held visiting appointments at the University of Canterbury, University of Hong Kong, University of Zagreb, and University of Bologna. Justice has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals (e.g., Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Psychological Science) and is Editor-in-Chief of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, the premier global publication on applied early childhood development and education. She has been the PI or Co-PI of more than $55,000,000 in federal research funding over the last decade, and her work is currently funded by the Spencer Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, and National Institutes of Health. 


  • Ph.D., Speech and Hearing Sciences, Ohio University, 2000
  • M.Ed., Learning Disabilities, Ohio University, 1996
  • B.A., English Literature and Language, Ohio University, 1992

Research Interests

Research Summary

Justice is currently the PI of six larger-scale studies currently. 

Early Learning Ohio (Institute of Education Sciences) examines the developmental trajectory of children from age 4 years to middle school and seeks to identify the dimensions of classroom experience that influence cognitive and social development. The study marries longitudinal methods and social network analysis. 

Kindergarten Transition Practices (Institute of Education Sciences) uses a causally interpretable research design to test the effects of specific transition practices on children’s kindergarten adjustment and early school achievement. 

Small Talk (National Institutes of Health) examines the effects of ‘toxic stress’ and parent-child interactions on the developmental trajectories of children born into very low-income homes. 

Speech-Therapy Experiences in the Public Schools (STEPS; Institute of Education Sciences) seeks to identify the precise aspects of language intervention that drives the language development of children with developmental language disorder. 

The PEERS study (National Institutes of Health) examines the use of peer-mediated interventions to help young children infiltrate the classroom social network as a means to promote the social and language skills of children isolated from the social network. 

The Lyle project (Spencer Foundation) applies state-of-the-art sensing tools to study the dynamic properties of children’s interactions in preschool classrooms and how these influence social and language development over time.

STEPS, PEERS, and Lyle involve collaboration between developmental and educational psychologists and electrical and computer engineering to apply novel technologies to improve understanding of the mechanisms of development in social settings (e.g., preschool classrooms). 


  • Curry School of Education, University of Virginia Associate Professor
  • Director, Preschool Language & Literacy Research Lab
  • Co-Director, Risk and Prevention in Education Sciences Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program


  • Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (from President G. W. Bush)
  • Fulbright Scholar Award
  • Erskine Fellowship (from University of Canterbury)
  • Early Career Publication Award (from Division of Research, Council for Exceptional Children)
  • Editor's Award (from American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology)
  • Annie Glenn Leadership Award in Speech-Language Pathology

Selected Grants

  • Reading For Understanding – PI, $20,000,000
  • Kindergarten Transition Practices – PI, $3,800,000
  • Small Talk – PI, $3,500,000
  • Early Learning Ohio – PI, $4,500,000
  • Read It Again in Early Childhood Special Education – PI, $3,500,000
  • Speech Therapy Experiences in Public Schools – Study 1 and 2 – PI, $3,000,000 

Selected Publications

  • Bates, R. A., Singletary, B., Yacques, A., & Justice, L. (in press). Sleep and stress in mother–toddler dyads living in low‐income homes. Developmental Psychobiology.
  • Bean, A. F, Perez, B., Dynia, J., Kaderavek, J., & Justice, L. M. (in press). Book reading engagement in children with autism and language impairment: Associations with emergent literacy skills. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • Chen, J., Lin, T. J., Jiang, H., Justice, L. M., Purtell, K. M., & Logan, J. A. (in press). Triple Alignment: Congruency of Perceived Preschool Classroom Social Networks Among Teachers, Children, and Researchers. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Dore, R. A., Logan, J., Lin, T. J., Purtell, K. M., & Justice, L. (in press). Characteristics of Children’s Media Use and Gains in Language and Literacy Skills. Frontiers in Psychology
  • Dynia, J., Dore, R., Bates, R., & Justice, L. M. (in press). Media exposure and language for toddlers from low-income homes. Infant Behavior and Development
  • Helsabeck, N. P., Logan, J. A. R., Justice, L. M., Purtell, K., & Lin, T. L. (in press). Pathways to kindergarten: A latent class analysis of children’s time in early education and care. Early Education and Development
  • Jiang, H., Justice, L. M., Purtell, K. M., & Bates, R. (in press). Exposure to Environmental Toxicants and Early Language Development for Children Reared in Low-Income Households. Clinical Pediatrics.
  • Justice, L. M., Purtell, K. M., Bleses, D., & Cho, S. (in press). Parents’ Growth Mindsets and Home-Learning Activities: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Danish and US Parents. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • Justice, L. M., Jiang, H., Purtell, K., Lin, T-Z., & Ansari, A. (in press). Academics of the early primary grades: Investigating the alignment of instructional practices from pre-k to third grade. Early Education and Development
  • Murphy, K., & Justice, L. M. (in press). Lexical-level predictors of reading comprehension in third grade: Is spelling a unique contributor? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
  • Rhoad-Drogalis, A., Justice, L. M., Lin, T.J., Purtell, K. M., & Logan, J. (in press). Profiles of preschool attendance and children’s kindergarten readiness. Early Education and Development. 
  • Sawyer, L. B., O’Connell, A., Bhaktha, N., Justice, L. M. et al (In Press). Does teachers’ self-efficacy vary for different children? A study of early childhood special educators. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. 
  • Singletary, B., Bates, R., & Justice, L. M. (In press). Evaluating associations between maternal social support and cognitive development for infants in poverty. Infant Behavior and Development. 
  • Xiao, N., Chen, J., Justice, L. M., & Zhang, X. (In press) Children’s daily experiences in rural boarding preschools: Classroom quality and association with developmental outcomes. Early Education and Development
  • Jiang, H., Justice, L., Purtell, K. M., Lin, T. J., & Logan, J. (2021). Prevalence and prediction of kindergarten-transition difficulties. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 55, 15-23.
  • Myrtil, M. J., Lin, T. J., Chen, J., Purtell, K. M., Justice, L., Logan, J., & Hamilton, A. (2021). Pros and (con) flict: Using head-mounted cameras to identify teachers’ roles in intervening in conflict among preschool children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 55, 230-241.
  • Pentimonti, J., Bowles, R., Zucker, T., Tambyraja, S., & Justice, L. M. (2021). Development and validation of the Systematic Assessment of Shared Book Reading 2.0. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 55, 201-214. 
  • Piasta, S. B., Logan, J. A., Farley, K. S., Strang, T. M., & Justice, L. M. (2021). Profiles and Predictors of Children’s Growth in Alphabet Knowledge. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 1-26.
  • Tompkins, V., Meyer, K., & Justice, L. M. (2021). Mothers’ sophisticated vocabulary, input, and children’s story comprehension. Early Education and Development, 32, 402-420.
  • Alvarenga, P., Zucker, T., Tambyraja, S., & Justice, L M. (2020) Contingency in teacher-child emotional state talk during shared book reading in early childhood classrooms. Early Education and Development, 31 (8), 1187-120.