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 associate professor of Reading and Literature 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 is interested in identifying 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. She was selected as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.  Her research has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


  • 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 the BrightStart! project, Assessing Preschool Professionals’ Learning Experiences (APPLE), Narrative Assessment Protocol, Reading in Special Education, and Core Knowledge in Preschool.  She is also a member of the Language and Reading Research Consortium and involved in additional research projects conducted with her postdoctoral and doctoral students.


  • 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

  • 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), 2016-2021
  • 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., Farley, K.S., Phillips, B.M., Anthony, J.L., & Bowles, R.P. (2018).  Assessment of young children’s letter-sound knowledge: Initial validity evidence for Letter Sound Short Forms.  Assessment for Effective Intervention, 43, 249-255.
  2. 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.
  3. 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]
  4. Farley, K.S., Piasta, S.B., 2Dogucu, M., & O’Connell, A. (2017).  Assessing and predicting small-group literacy instruction in early childhood classrooms.  Early Education and Development, 28, 488-505.
  5. Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., O’Connell, A.A., 2Mauck, S., 2Weber-Mayrer, M.M., 1Schachter, R.E., 2Farley, K.F., & 1Spear, 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Piasta, S.B. (2016).  Current understandings of “what works” for supporting emergent literacy development in early childhood classrooms.  Child Development Perspectives (invited manuscript), 10, 234-239.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Piasta, S.B., Logan, J.A.R., 1Pelatti, C.Y., 1Capps, J.L., & Petrill, S.A. (2015). Professional development for early childhood educators: Efforts to improve math and science learning opportunities in early childhood classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107, 407-422.
  12. Language and Reading Research Consortium (2015). Learning to read: Should we keep things simple?  Reading Research Quarterly, 50, 151-169.
  13. Piasta, S.B. (2014). Moving to assessment-guided, differentiated instruction to support young children’s alphabet knowledge.  The Reading Teacher, 68, 202-211.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.