Devin M. Kearns has dedicated his career to researching reading disabilities such as dyslexia. He is now sharing his expertise with the New York City Department of Education as a member of their Literacy Advisory Council.
Kearns, who is an associate professor of special education at UConn’s Neag School of Education in the Department of Educational Psychology, and other experts in the field were recently invited by the city’s chancellor of public schools to help improve literacy instruction and shape the direction of literacy in New York City.
“It is incredibly exciting to be working with the New York City Department of Education on this essential work,” Kearns says. “Assembling this board shows the strength of their commitment to research-based literacy instruction.”
The advisory council meets once a month to coordinate literacy efforts, collect information on student and family experiences, recommend tactics for improving literacy, build awareness of new initiatives, and advise on the direction of current city initiatives. The Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University is a partner of the city’s public schools and dedicates its work to expanding access to high-quality education for all students, particularly those of color and from low-income households.
“We are so lucky to have faculty like Dr. Kearns who are not only conducting cutting-edge research on effective practices for students with reading disabilities but are also committed to helping teachers and schools implement these evidence-based practices to best support all students,” says Michael Coyne, professor and head of the Department of Educational Psychology. “His work with the advisory council will have lasting and meaningful impacts on reading outcomes for students across New York City.”
“The work of the New York City Department of Education leadership and their literacy team shows that a large public school system can make dramatic changes.” — Devin M. Kearns, associate professor
Kearns’ work with the advisory council embodies the Neag School’s guiding mission and values. All faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the Neag School aim to improve educational and social systems to be more effective, equitable, and just for all, and prioritize engaging with communities to meet their educational needs. Kearns’ position on the advisory council will allow him to directly impact making literacy education equitable for all students in New York City.
Kearns is a research scientist for UConn’s Center for Behavioral Education and Research and Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, and an affiliated faculty member for the Connecticut Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) and the UConn Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy. His research is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health, among others. He has published research related to reading disabilities in Exceptional Children, Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, and Scientific Studies of Reading. He has also published papers for teachers in TEACHING Exceptional Children and The Reading Teacher.
Kearns was a Learning Sciences Institute and Institute of Education Sciences fellow and recipient of Vanderbilt University’s Robert Gaylord-Ross Award for Writing Excellence and the Neag School of Education’s Early-Career Researcher of the Year Award. He is on the editorial board of Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, and several other journals. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Connecticut Chapter of the International Dyslexia Association.
“The work of the New York City Department of Education leadership and their literacy team shows that a large public school system can make dramatic changes,” Kearns says. “I am so grateful to have this opportunity to support their work.”