Shayne Piasta

Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Area: Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood Education

(614) 688-4454

Personal Website


Shayne Piasta is Professor of Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She also is a faculty associate for the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. Her research focuses on early literacy development and how it is best supported during preschool and elementary years. Her work emphasizes the use of rigorous empirical methods to identify and validate educational programs and practices, such as experimental evaluation of specific curricula and professional development opportunities. She also identifies teacher, classroom, and other factors associated with children’s literacy gains.

Dr. Piasta has received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Outstanding Pre-Doctoral Fellow Award from the Institute of Education Sciences, and the Dina Feitelson Research Award from the International Reading Association. Her research has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


  • PhD, Developmental Psychology, Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research, 2008
  • MS, Developmental Psychology, Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research, 2006
  • BA, Psychology (Summa Cum Laude), College of the Holy Cross, 2004

Research Interests

Research Summary

Dr. Piasta’s research projects have included Let’s Know!2, Best Practices in Alphabet Instruction, Promoting Preschoolers’ Early Language Learning (ProPELL), the BrightStart! project, Reading for Understanding, Assessing Preschool Professionals’ Learning Experiences (APPLE), Narrative Assessment Protocol, Read It Again! in Early Childhood Special Education, and Core Knowledge in Preschool.  She is involved in additional research projects conducted with her postdoctoral and doctoral students and was a member of the Language and Reading Research Consortium.


  • 2017, Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2017, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, named by President Obama
  • 2015, Doctoral Graduate Award of Distinction, Florida State University Psychology Department
  • 2014, Dina Feitelson Research Award, International Reading Association
  • 2012, College of Education and Human Ecology Faculty International Travel Grant, The Ohio State University
  • 2010, Language, Speech, and Hearing Sciences in Schools Editor’s Award
  • 2008, Outstanding Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow Award
  • 2005-2008, Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Fellow

Selected Grants

  • Co-Principal Investigator, Translating Research into School-Based Practice via Small-Group, Language-Focused Comprehension Intervention, $3.9 million; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (Grant R01DC018823), 2021-2025
  • Principal Investigator, Language Gains during Early Childhood Education: Prediction of Later Outcomes and Multiple-Methods Exploration of Relevant Classroom Factors, $1.4 million; Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305A190029), 2019-2023
  • Principal Investigator, Preservice Early Childhood Teachers’ Knowledge and Preparation to Support Language, $5000; The Ohio State University Institute for Teaching and Learning, 2019-2021
  • Principal Investigator, Best Practices in Alphabet Instruction: Iterative Lesson Development, $5000; Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy Seed Grant, 2017-2020
  • Principal Investigator, Efficacy of the BrightStart! Program for Promoting the Emergent Literacy Skills of PreKindergarten Children At Risk for Reading Difficulties, $3.3 million, Institute of Educational Sciences (Grant R305A160261), 2016-2023
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Preschool Teachers’ Use of Assessment Data, $39,700; Spencer Foundation (Grant 201600041), 2015-2018
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Teachers’ and Principals’ Experiences and Perceptions of the Ohio Implementation of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, $7,350; Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, 2015
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Read It Again! in Early Childhood Special Education, $3.3 million, Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R324A130066), 2013-2017
  • Co-Investigator, A Data-Driven Approach to Kindergarten Readiness and the Importanceof the Preschool Years: A Partnership Between Researchers and Stakeholders, $15,000, Ohio Education Research Center, 2013-2014 
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Children’s Learning Research Collaborative Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research Training in the Education Sciences, $687,000; Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305B120008), 2012-2016 
  • Co-Investigator, Development and Validation of the Narrative Assessment Protocol (NAP), $1.7 million, Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305A110293), 2011-2016
  • Principal Investigator, Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Ohio Department of Education’s Literacy Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Educators, $6 million, Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305E100030), 2010-2017
  • Co-Investigator, Reading for Understanding: Language Bases of Reading Comprehension, $20 million, Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305F100002), 2010-2016
  • Principal Investigator, Efficacy of the Core Knowledge Approach to Math and Science Preschool Education, $856,710, National Institutes of Health ARRA (Grant 1RC1HD063522-01), 2009-2012

Selected Publications

1.     Piasta, S.B., Bridges, M.S., Park, S., Nelson-Strouts, K., & Hikida, M. (in press).  Teachers’ content knowledge about oral language: Measure development and evidence of initial validity. Reading & Writing.

2.     Piasta, S.B., Logan, J.A.R., Zettler-Greeley, C.M., Bailet, L.L., Lewis, K., & Thomas, L.J.G. (in press).  Small-group, emergent literacy intervention for preschoolers at-risk for reading difficulties: Intent-to-treat and dosage effects. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

3.     Piasta, S.B. (in press). The science of early alphabet instruction: What we do and do not know. In S.Q. Cabell, S.B. Neuman, & N.P. Terry (Eds.), Handbook on the Science of Early Literacy. Guilford.

4.     Piasta, S.B. & Hudson, A. (2022). Key knowledge to support phonological awareness and phonics instruction. The Reading Teacher.

5.     Piasta, S.B., Park, S., Fitzgerald, L., & Libnoch, H.A. (2022). Young children’s alphabet learning as a function of instruction and letter difficulty. Learning and Individual Differences, 93, 102113.

6.     Language and Reading Research Consortium, Lo, M., & Xu, M. (2022).  Impacts of the Let’s Know! curriculum on the language and comprehension-related skills of prekindergarten and kindergarten children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1205-1224.  [convener]

7.     Piasta, S.B., Logan, J.A.R., Farley, K.S., Strang, T.M., & Justice, L.M. (2022).  Profiles of growth in children’s alphabet knowledge.  Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 27(1), 1-26.

8.     Piasta, S.B., Logan, J.A.R., Thomas, L.J.G., Zettler-Greeley, C.M., Bailet, L.L., & Lewis, K. (2021).  Implementation of a small-group emergent literacy intervention by preschool teachers and community aides.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54, 31-43.

9.     Piasta, S.B., Soto Ramirez, P., Farley, K.S., Justice, L.M., & Park, S. (2020).  Exploring the nature of associations between educators’ knowledge and their emergent literacy classroom practices.  Reading and Writing, 33, 1399-1422.

10.  Piasta, S.B., Park, S., Farley, K.S., Justice, L.M., & O’Connell, A.A. (2020).  Early childhood educators’ knowledge about language and literacy: Associations with practice and children’s learning. [special issue; invited]  Dyslexia, 26, 137-152.

11.  Piasta, S.B., Sawyer, B., Justice, L.M., O’Connell, A.A., Jiang, H., Dogucu, M., & Khan, K. (2020).  Effects of Read It Again! in early childhood special education classrooms as compared to regular shared book reading.  Journal of Early Intervention, 42, 224-243.

12.  Piasta, S.B., Farley, K.S., Mauck, S.A., Soto Ramirez, P., O’Connell, A.A., Schachter, R.E., Justice, L.M., Spear, C.F., & Weber-Mayrer, M. (2020).  At-scale, state-sponsored language and literacy professional development: Impacts on early childhood practices and children’s outcomes.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 112, 329-343.

13.  Language and Reading Research Consortium, Jiang, H., & Logan, J.A.R. (2019).  Improving reading comprehension in the primary grades: Mediated effects of a language-focused classroom intervention.  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 2812-2828.

14.  Piasta, S.B., Groom, L.J., Khan, K., Skibbe, L.E., & Bowles, R.P. (2018).  Young children’s narrative skill: Concurrent and predictive associations with emergent literacy and early word reading skills.  Reading and Writing, 31, 1479-1498.

15.  Bleses, D., Højen, A., Justice, L., Dale, P.S., Dybdal, L., Piasta, S.B., Markussen-Brown, J., Clausen, M., Haghish, E.F., & Andersen, M.K. (2018).  The effectiveness of a large-scale language and pre-literacy intervention: The SPELL randomized controlled trial in Denmark.  Child Development, 89, e342-e363.

16.  Language and Reading Research Consortium, Jiang, H., & Davis, D. (2017).  Let’s Know! proximal impacts on PK through G3 children’s comprehension-related skills.  The Elementary School Journal, 118, 177-206. [convener]

17.  Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., O’Connell, A.A., Mauck, S., Weber-Mayrer, M.M., Schachter, R.E., Farley, K.F., & Spear, C.F. (2017).  Effectiveness of large-scale, state-sponsored language and literacy professional development on early childhood educator outcomes.  Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10, 354-378.

18.  Markussen-Brown, J., Juhl, C., Piasta, S.B., Bleses, D., Højen, A., & Justice, L. (2017).  The effects of language- and literacy-focused professional development on early educators and children: A best-evidence meta-analysis.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 38, 97-115.

19.  Piasta, S.B. (2016).  Current understandings of “what works” for supporting emergent literacy development in early childhood classrooms.  Child Development Perspectives10, 234-239.

20.  Language and Reading Research Consortium, Farquharson, K., & Murphy, K.A. (2016). Ten steps to a large, multi-site, longitudinal investigation of language and reading in young children.  Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 419. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00419

21.  Piasta, S.B., Phillips, B.M., Williams, J., Bowles, R., & Anthony, J.L. (2016). Measuring young children’s alphabet knowledge: Development and validation of brief letter-sound assessments. The Elementary School Journal, 6, 523-548.

22.  Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., McGinty, A., Mashburn, A., & Slocum, L. (2015). A comprehensive examination of preschool teachers’ implementation fidelity when using a supplemental language and literacy curriculum.  Child and Youth Care Forum, 44, 731-755.

23.  Language and Reading Research Consortium (2015). Learning to read: Should we keep things simple?  Reading Research Quarterly, 50, 151-169.

24.  Language and Reading Research Consortium (2015). The dimensionality of language ability in young children.  Child Development, 86, 1948-1965.

25.  Piasta, S.B. (2014). Moving to assessment-guided, differentiated instruction to support young children’s alphabet knowledge.  The Reading Teacher, 68, 202-211.

26.  Pelatti, C.Y., Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., & O’Connell, A. (2014).  Language and literacy learning opportunities in early childhood education classrooms: Typical experiences and within-classroom variability.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 445-456.

27.  Piasta, S. B., Petscher, Y., & Justice, L. M. (2012). How many letters should preschoolers in public programs know? The diagnostic efficiency of preschool letter-naming benchmarks for predicting first grade literacy achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 945-958.

28.  Piasta, S. B., Justice, L. M., Cabell, S. Q., Wiggins, A., Turnbull, K. P., & Curenton, S. M. (2012). Impact of professional development on preschool teachers' conversational responsivity and children's linguistic productivity and complexity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 387-400.

29.  Phillips, B. M., Piasta, S. B., Anthony, J.L., Lonigan, C.J., & Francis, D.J. (2012). IRTs of the ABCs: Children’s letter name acquisition. Journal of School Psychology, 50, 461-481.

30.  Piasta, S. B., Justice, L. M., McGinty, A. S., & Kaderavek, J. N. (2012). Increasing young children’s contact with print during shared reading: Longitudinal effects on literacy achievement. Child Development, 83, 810-820.

31.  Piasta, S.B., Dynia, J. M., Pentimonti, J. M., Justice, L. J., Kaderavek, J. N., & Schatschneider, C. (2010). Impact of professional development on preschool teachers’ print references during shared read alouds: A latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3, 343-380.

32.  Piasta, S. B., Purpura, D. J., & Wagner, R. K. (2010).  Fostering alphabet knowledge development: A comparison of two instructional approaches.  Reading & Writing, 23, 607-626.

33.  Piasta, S. B., & Wagner, R. K. (2010).  Developing early literacy skills: A meta-analysis of alphabet learning and instruction.  Reading Research Quarterly, 45, 8-38.

34.  Piasta, S.  B., & Wagner, R. K. (2010).  Learning letter names and sounds: Effects of instruction, letter type, and phonological processing skill.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 105, 324-344.

35.  Piasta, S. B., Connor, C. M., Fishman, B., & Morrison, F. J. (2009).  Teachers’ knowledge of literacy concepts, classroom practices, and student reading growth.  Scientific Studies of Reading, 13, 224-248.

36.  Connor, C. M., Piasta, S. B., Fishman, B., Glasney, S., Schatschneider, C., Crowe, E., Underwood, P. & Morrison, F. J. (2009).  Individualizing student instruction precisely:  Effects of child-by-instruction interactions on first graders’ literacy development.  Child Development, 80, 77-100.