Main Menu

AIM Institute for Learning & Research

Building Content Area Literacy with Devin Kearns


Building the Content-Area Literacy Skills of Students with Reading Difficulty

Monday, November 11, 2019

Many students have difficulty comprehending content-area texts. This is very troubling because reading to learn is essential for students in the late elementary grades and throughout middle and high school. Teachers can improve students’ ability to read and understand content-area texts by introducing texts effectively, teaching key vocabulary, and helping students use high-efficiency comprehension strategies as they read. Participants will learn and practice these instructional techniques in ways that will increase the content-area literacy skills of students with reading difficulty.


Devin M. Kearns, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Special Education, Department of Educational Psychology, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Research Scientist, Haskins Laboratories

Research Scientist, Center for Behavioral Education and Research, University of Connecticut

Dr. Kearns is an associate professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut (UConn).  He is a research scientist for the Center for Behavioral Education & Research (CBER) and Haskins Laboratories. He holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Literacy from Loyola Marymount University and a Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Kearns researches reading disability—including dyslexia—in elementary- and middle school-age children.  Several of his current projects focus on linking educational practice to cognitive science and neuroscience. He and his colleagues design novel interventions and implements research-based interventions (e.g., Intervention and Neuroimaging for Polysyllabic Word Reading [IN/PoWR] and Project CALI led by Jade Wexler) and examine the effects of reading interventions on reading achievement, cognitive processing (e.g., the the Memory and Reading Instruction Interaction Project, MemoRI, with Jay Rueckl), and the neurobiological processing during reading (e.g., the CARING Project led by Ken Pugh at Haskins Laboratories). He also works with Dr. Fumiko Hoeft on the APPRISE Project to develop a game-based application to screen children for dyslexia. His projects are supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health, and national and local organizations and foundations. He has published research related to reading and learning disabilities in journals for researchers (e.g., Journal of Educational Psychology) and teachers (e.g., TEACHING Exceptional Children). Dr. Kearns is on the editorial board of Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, and several other journals. 

Dr. Kearns has seven years of classroom experience as a teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist. He regularly works in schools, supporting teachers and teaching reading lessons to students. He has worked with large and small school districts in urban and rural areas in all regions of the United States and with school boards in Canada.

Dr. Devin Kearns