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Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood

Students in the Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood doctorate program belong to a community of scholars who address reading and literacy education issues in the United States and abroad. This research-based degree provides students with a strong theoretical and practical understanding of teaching, learning and educational environments.

  • The RLEMC program was crucial in preparing me to be a researcher and a scholar. I had many experiences available to me including teaching, research, and service. Specifically, I was able to work on a large federally funded research project in each aspect of implementation. This program also allowed me to work with highly-respected faculty. Their mentoring helped cultivate my writing abilities allowing me to publish my first manuscript during my doctoral program.
    These opportunities were available to me because I was in this program and because I studied at The Ohio State University. The important mentoring I received along with the experiences I had were available to me because I studied at a large research university with world-class faculty. My studies at Ohio State were made more robust because of the outreach and community research available to me in Columbus and the surrounding communities.

    Jaclyn M. Dynia, PhD, 2012
    Senior Researcher, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

  • I selected this program because of the university’s reputation as a leader in literacy research and teaching and for the opportunity to learn from many of the top scholars in the field of literacy.
    As a doctoral student I had small, rigorous classes led by the professors currently conducting research in our field, and have learned first-hand through apprenticeships with faculty members who share my interests. These opportunities and the careful and considerate feedback that I receive on my writing and ideas have served to broaden my perspective from that of a practitioner, to one of a critical thinker and emerging scholar.
    I am confident that the my coursework, experiences and the research and teaching opportunities that the program has afforded me will prepare me for a fulfilling career in literacy education.

    Katie Brownfield
    PhD candidate, Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood
    Entered program August 2012

  • The RLEMC program gave me excellent background knowledge in a wide range of construct areas related to reading and literacy development. My research interests focused mainly on emergent literacy development, but I was exposed to many other relevant areas of literacy development. The faculty here prepared me with a well-developed knowledge base that guides me in my current professional research in child language and literacy development in preschool-age children at the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.
    Jill Pentimoni, PhD, 2011
    Research Scientist, Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

  • I moved from Florida where I worked as an elementary teacher and literacy coach because of the RLEMC program at The Ohio State University. This research-focused area of study is designed to shape and cultivate scholars in early literacy with a balanced understanding of literacy learning.
    I have regular opportunities to work closely with professors on research projects that align with my interests, offering me an apprenticeship through the research process. These unique mentorship experiences have led to co-presentations at national conferences and co-authored publications. The professors also encourage me to conduct my own research, which has led to submissions of sole-authored papers and presentations, both locally and nationally. The RLEMC program, with a strong community of scholars and a research-rich environment, is preparing me well for my future career at a research-intensive university.

    Robert Kelly, Jr., 2016 expected graduation
    PhD student, Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood

  • I was blessed to do my doctoral work at The Ohio State University. The knowledge I received helped shape my life and open doors that could not have been opened elsewhere. I was amazed at the personal attention I received and the guidance I was given during my time of study. I am truly honored and proud to have earned my degree from the top institution in my field.
    W. Quinn White, PhD, 2005
    Professor of Education, Taylor University


The Reading and Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood PhD program provides high-quality academic preparation for students interested in research, theory and practice related to reading and literacy in early to middle childhood.

The program provides students with a core foundation in theoretical models and processes of reading, research and theory in reading development and instruction. Students also learn diverse epistemologies for inquiry in literacy research and practice. They engage in an extended research apprenticeship and complete research and methods courses.

Our goal for students is they gain a deep theoretical understanding of reading and literacy, to become familiar with a range of research paradigms for studying reading and literacy in early and middle childhood and to develop expertise as researchers in their own inquiry.

This program is designed for professionals with interests in a variety of areas such as early and middle childhood reading and writing instruction; language and literacy acquisition and development from preschool through middle school; family, community, and school literacy; literacy teacher education; phonics and word study; Reading Recovery; and clinical reading programs.

Faculty conduct research on numerous issues related to how children learn to read and write and on how educators can best address the educational needs of all children. Much of the research we conduct involves collaborative work with teachers, schools, parents, families and communities. Together we address educational excellence as well as diversity and social justice in reading and literacy education.

The program is research-focused and includes opportunities for students to work with faculty on their current research and scholarship and to engage in their own studies with the support of faculty. Students are encouraged to present scholarly work at state and national conferences and to join faculty in professional writing.

Students who join the RLEMC community of scholars become researchers, teacher educators in higher education and take other leadership positions in universities, school districts, government and elsewhere.

Career Paths

Students become researchers, teacher educators, and take other leadership positions in higher education, school districts, government and elsewhere. Positions include: scholars, researchers and educational policymakers.


Deadline to Apply: 
December 1
Program Start: 
Autumn semester
Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: 
Master's degree. For GRE requirements, please contact TLAS at
Minimum Program Hours: 
80 (up to 30 hours can transfer)

Coursework: Reading and literacy research, theory, and education; professional seminar; qualitative and/or quantitative research
Minimum course requirements: 2 department core courses (8 hours), 8 specialization courses (24 hours), research methods (9 hours), research apprenticeship (6 hours), dissertation (6 hours), breadth requirement (3 hours)
Other requirements: Research apprenticeship, candidacy exam, dissertation

View the Curriculum Sheet


RLEMC faculty are highly engaged in teaching, research and service. In addition to serving as mentors and course instructors, faculty are involved in various externally-funded research projects, design and offer literacy programs for teachers and lead local and state educational initiatives. 

Caroline Clark, PhD, Professor and RLEMC Co-convener
Julia Hagge, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dorian Harrison, PhD Assistant Professor
Michiko Hikida, PhD, Assistant Professor
Jonda C. McNair, PhD, Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Professor of Children's Literature
Linda Parsons, PhD, Associate Professor
Lisa Patrick, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor and Marie Clay Endowed Chair
Shayne Piasta, PhD, Associate Professor
Adrian Rodgers, PhD, Associate Professor
Emily Rodgers, PhD, Professor
Cris Warner, PhD, Associate Professor
Ian Wilkinson, PhD, Professor


Department of Teaching and Learning
333 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43210