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Reading Research by Topic

Below are selected research studies about reading development and instruction, organized by topic. These include some of the seminal studies in the field (listed below as "foundational research") and other peer-reviewed research. Whenever possible, we've provided links to PDFs of the document, book, study, or article. In other cases, you'll find a link to a publisher or bookstore where the item can be purchased.

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Dissertations for Reading Education

Abbott, debra kirchgassner, the effect of a computerized help resource on the lexical inferencing ability of english as asecond language (esl) learners during contextualized reading, adamson, ryil daro, a study to determine the efficacy of a computer program designed to help students increase their ability to decode three-letter, short-a, consonant-vowel-consonant (c-v-c) words, albert devine, pamela b., explicit strategy instruction and improvements in the fluency of struggling second-grade readers, alexander-shea, aimee l., the process of change experienced by pre-service and in-service social studies teachers in an online content area reading course, anderson, susan d., supporting reading comprehension of at-risk pre-adolescent readers through the use of text-to-speech technology paired with strategic instruction, archbell, colin l., covert learning: perceptions of video games and education, attwood, sarah, the use of stimulus equivalence technology to teach reading and reading comprehension to a hearing impaired student, ayala, sandra m., the effects of video self-modeling on the decoding skills of children at risk for reading disabilities, bailey, margaret denice, reading and writing in multimodal contexts: exploring the deictic nature of literacy, baker, donald richard, someone has to care: computer-assisted instruction and struggling readers, baker, ryan, the effects of multiple column online text on reading speed, reading comprehension, and satisfaction, barbato, paul f., a preliminary evaluation of the read 180 program, barnett, louise b., the effect of computer-assisted instruction on the reading skills of emergent readers, barrow, jerry scott, effects of the new century education software on aimsweb test scores in math computation and reading comprehension for lower performing ninth grade students, bauer, hilaria, the relationship between technology integration reading instruction and reading achievement in high-performing campuses as reported by peims and third grade classroom teachers in selected south texas school districts, bauer, laurie b., digital divides and literacy learning: a metaphor analysis of developmental college students' and teachers' conceptualizations of technology, bedell, janet p., effects of reading and mathematics software formats on elementary students' achievement, beers, scott f., reading fluency and adolescent students' reading processes during writing, behalova, andrea, exploring online reading strategies of american undergraduate students, bernhardt, traci michelle, using graphic organizers to enhance reading comprehension, sign in or register, sign in using email & password.

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Educational Psychology

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Department of Educational Psychology

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Research topics: language, literacy & reading

Investigating how children learn to communicate and read from an early age.

Reading is one of the most complex and uniquely human cognitive activities, and one that is essential for adequate functioning in our society. For these reasons, we study how children acquire language and other developmental recursors, how they learn reading skills, how to identify children who are at-risk for reading difficulties, how best to teach and assess reading skills, and how best to assess and teach language and early literacy. We address these questions from a variety of perspectives and methodological paradigms, ranging from laboratory to classroom and community.

Faculty and staff

Panayiota Kendeou headshot

Panayiota Kendeou

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Dr. Kendeou (psychological foundations of education) investigates the development of higher-order language and cognitive skills that support reading comprehension. She also conducts lab-based studies investigating how people learn new knowledge and revise pre-existing knowledge during their reading experiences.

Jennifer McComas headshot

Jennifer McComas

Dr. McComas (special education) focuses primarily on students who need intensive individualized support in reading. For those students, she conducts brief experimental analyses (BEA) to identify an instructional strategy that proves to be an effective approach for improving student performance in accuracy, fluency, or comprehension of written text. Based on the results of the BEA, she supports extended implementation of the intervention.

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Kristen McMaster

Kristen McMaster (special education) collaborates with colleagues in cognitive psychology and school psychology to develop theory-based assessments and interventions to improve the reading comprehension and early writing skills of children identified as at risk or with disabilities. She also develops systems and supports to promote teachers’ use of data-based decision making and evidence-based instruction.

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Alisha Wackerle-Hollman

Dr. Wackerle-Hollman (school psychology) researches early literacy development and assessment, the transition of research to practice, community-based participatory research, children's literature and school readiness.

EPSY 8116 – Reading for Meaning

This course provides a review of reading research from the fields of psychology, education, and cognitive sciences. In this course students gain an understanding of the cognitive processes that take place during comprehension and of the development of these processes. They also explore the applications and implications of this knowledge for educational practice, including instruction and assessment.

EPSY 8600 – Special Topics: Special Education Issues

This seminar is designed for doctoral students in special education and others interested in research on reading difficulties and disabilities. Students read about and discuss perspectives on reading disabilities, causes and consequences of reading disabilities, characteristics of students with reading disabilities, assessment and intervention for students with reading disabilities, and approaches to studying reading disabilities.

EPSY 8709 - Special Education Issues – Language and Early Literacy Development, Assessment, and Intervention for Young Children

This seminar addresses contemporary issues in theory, assessment, and interventions to promote language and early literacy development for young children (typically, those not yet age-eligible to enroll in Kindergarten) at risk for later reading delays. The course reviews and analyzes relevant theoretical models, basic research related to these theories, and applied research in assessment and intervention, particularly research conducted in the past 5 years as well as emerging issues of research and practice.

EPSY 8816 - Academic Prevention and Intervention

Theories, research, and practice underlying instructional/academic interventions for students. Systems consultation, organizational change.

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Reading & Literacy Research Topics

reading thesis topics

175 Literacy Essay Topics

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Home > School of Education > Reading and Language Arts > Reading and Language Arts Dissertations

Reading and Language Arts - Dissertations





Multimedia Input Modes, the Modality Principle, and the Redundancy Principle for University ESL Students’ Learning , Yinan Liu


Translanguaging: Examining Out-of-School Writing and Identities of African-born, Multilingual, Refugee Adolescents , Stella Mukiri Rwanda

Elementary Reading Specialists' Perspectives Towards Their Work , Wendy Woods Bunker

The Social Construction of Reading-Related "Response to Intervention" In One Primary School , Heidi Anne Beverine-Curry


The Post-Colonial Language and Identity Experiences of Transnational Kenyan Teachers in U.S. Universities , Rosemary N. Nduati

A Critical Race and Critical Whiteness Theory Analysis of Preservice Teachers' Racialized Practices in a Literacy Across the Curriculum Course , Kathleen Cullen


Parents' Perspectives on the Literacy Instruction Received by their Children with Intellectual Disabilities , Michelle A. Duffy

A "Responsibility to Speak Out": Perspectives on Writing from Black African-Born Male Youth with Limited or Disrupted Formal Education , Bryan Ripley Crandall

The Effect of Phoneme Awareness Instruction on Students in Small Group and Whole Class Settings , Angelique Fleurette Van Boden

A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (Dibels) As a Predictor of Third Grade Reading Comprehension , Kristen A. Munger

Identifying Predictors of End-of-Year Kindergarten Invented Spelling , Maria S. Murray

Secondary English Teachers' Perspectives on the Incorporation of New Literacies in Their Pedagogy , Elizabeth Lewis

Fourth- and fifth-grade classroom case study of response to multimodal representations in children's picture books , Joanna Marie Robertson

Teaching and learning mathematical discourse in a Romanian classroom: A Critical Discourse Analysis , Codruta Temple

"A Life within a Life": Adolescents' Perspectives on Friendship and Literacy , Jolene Therese Malavasic

Perspectives of Kindergarten and First-Grade Teachers on Mandated Literacy Reform , Mary J. Drucker

"I Am Not a Number, I'm A Free Man": Suburban Adolescents, Multiliteracies, and And Tactics of Resistance , Donna Mahar

Literacy at Quincy High: A case study of one high school's focus on literacy , Carol DeLaney

Preservice and inservice teachers' attitudes toward English as a second language and limited English proficiency students , Juwan Bae

Teachers' Perspectives on Laptop Technology in the English Language Arts Classroom: A Case Study of High School English Teachers , Ewa Jarzab

Preservice teachers' beliefs and practices regarding constructivist literacy teaching in Huanuco, Peru , Diana Dahlin Weber

A case study of African American students' engagement responses to oral-based literacy instruction: The Oral Narrative Engagement (ONE) approach , Columbus Michael Grace

Understanding intergenerational dyslexia of a father and his daughter: A secondary conditions perspective , Jennifer E. Kagan

Multiple Literacies on Main Street and In the Academy: A Longitudinal Study of Two Working-Class, Rural Adolescents , Laura L. Payne-Bourcy

Middle-income African American parents' involvement with their first-grade children's education: A qualitative collective case study , Ethel Swindell Robinson

Guests at an ivory tower: The challenges Black students experience while attending a predominantly White university , Cherlyn A. Johnson

Perceptions and practices of collaborative teaming: A qualitative study of three preschools , Presanna J. Rajkumar

The social construction of literacy in a high school biology class , Heather K. Thomas

Transformation in the writing classroom: The transition from computer as tool to communications medium , Nancy Tranter Wright

Practitioners' Understanding of Teaching College Composition , Amanda Wiles Brown

The Penn School of St. Helena: Breaking the shackles of illiteracy on the Sea Islands of South Carolina, 1862 to 1922 , Marc Charlton David

Teachers on a journey: Examining the changes K--12 educators report as they use the Internet to support teaching and literacy learning , Rachel A. Karchmer

In A Zone Of Shadows: The Experience Of Writing Outside The Teacher's Presence , Mary Margaret Salibrici

Engaging basals and tradebooks: Fourth graders preferences and responses to excerpted and nonexcerpted stories , Laurie Marie Ayre

"Reading and writing ourselves into being--then what?": The literacy of certain nineteenth-century young women , Claire White Putala

Reshaping Change: The Implementation of the Senior Project in One English Class , Barbara Elizabeth Combs

The Theoretical Orientations of English as a Second Language Teachers: The Relationship Between Beliefs and Practices , Karen E. Johnson

Children's perceptions of reading , Pamela Ann Michel

A Descriptive Study Of The Individual And Group Responses Of Three Tenth-Grade Readers To Two Short Stories And Two Textbook Selections (Critical Reading) , Bonnie Ohrlund Ericson

The Amount and Effect of Recreational Reading in Selected Fifth Grade Classes , Donald J. Bissett

Improving Reading Comprehension through Reciprocal Questioning , Anthony Vito Manzo

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86 Literacy Research Topics & Essay Examples

📝 literacy research papers examples, 🏆 best literacy essay titles, ❓ literacy research questions.

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183 Literacy Essay Topics & Examples

If you’ve found this article, you probably need good literacy topics to choose from. We’ve got a whole collection of them for high school and college students.

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IvyPanda. (2023, January 28). 183 Literacy Essay Topics & Examples.

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9 Components of Effective, Research-Supported Reading Instruction

We know from research that an effective reading program must address several aspects of reading. Among others, these aspects include the alphabetic code, fluency, comprehension, and motivation.

1. Phonemic awareness , letter knowledge, and concepts of print

Phoneme awareness and letter-sound knowledge account for more of the variation in early reading and spelling success than general intelligence, overall maturity level, or listening comprehension . They are the basis for learning an alphabetic writing system. Children who have poorly developed phonemic awareness at the end of kindergarten are likely to become poor readers. Explicit instruction in sound identification, matching, segmentation, and blending, when linked appropriately to sound-symbol association, reduces the risk of reading failure and accelerates early reading and spelling acquisition for all children.

2. The alphabetic code: Phonics and decoding

In addition to phoneme awareness and letter knowledge, knowledge of sound-symbol associations is vital for success in first grade and beyond. Accurate and fluent word recognition depends on phonics knowledge. The ability to read words accounts for a substantial proportion of overall reading success even in older readers. Good readers do not depend primarily on context to identify new words. When good readers encounter an unknown word, they decode the word, name it, and then attach meaning. The context of the passage helps a reader get the meaning of a word once a word has been deciphered.

3. Fluent, automatic reading of text

Beginning readers must apply their decoding skills to fluent, automatic reading of text. Children who are reading with adequate fluency are much more likely to comprehend what they are reading. Thus the concept of independent read ing level is important: it is that level at which the child recognizes more than 95 percent of the words and can read without laboring over decoding. Poor readers often read too slowly. Some poor readers have a specific problem with fluent, automatic text reading even though they have learned basic phonics.

4. Vocabulary

Knowledge of word meanings is critical to reading comprehension . Knowledge of words supports comprehension, and wide reading enables the acquisition of word knowledge. At school age, children are expected to learn the meanings of new words at the rate of several thousand per year. Most of these words are acquired by reading them in books or hearing them read aloud from books. Networks of words, tied conceptually, are the foundation of productive vocabulary. Key in developing this foundation is active processing of word meanings, which develops understanding of words and their uses, and connections among word concepts.

5. Text comprehension

The undisputed purpose of learning to read is to comprehend. Although children are initially limited in what they can read independently, comprehension instruction can occur as soon as they enter school. Comprehension depends, firstly, on a large, working vocabulary and substantial background knowledge. Even before children can read for themselves, teachers can build this vital background knowledge by reading interactively and frequently to children from a variety of narrative and expository texts, chosen in part for their ability to expand what children know about the world around them. Further, comprehension is enhanced when teachers make sure students understand what they are reading by asking questions and encouraging student questions and discussions. Effective instruction will help the reader actively relate his or her own knowledge or experience to the ideas written in the text, and then remember the ideas that he or she has come to understand.

6. Written expression

Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. Both depend on fluent understanding and use of language at many levels. Each enhances the other. From first grade onward, children benefit from almost daily opportunities to organize, transcribe, and edit their thoughts in writing. A variety of writing assignments appropriate to their abilities is desirable, including production of narratives and exposition. While they are building the skills of letter formation, spelling, and sentence generation, children also should be taught to compose in stages: generating and organizing ideas, initially with a group or partner; producing a draft; sharing ideas with others for the purpose of gaining feedback; and revising, editing, proofreading, and publishing.

7. Spelling and handwriting

Recent research supports the premise that written composition is enhanced by mastery of the component skills of spelling and writing just as reading comprehension is supported by mastery of fluent word recognition. Fluent, accurate letter formation and spelling are associated with students’ production of longer and better-organized compositions. Word usage, handwriting, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling are the necessary conventions of written expression that must be taught alongside strategies for composing. Students learn spelling and handwriting more readily if those skills are taught explicitly from first grade onward and if they are applied in the context of frequent, purposeful writing assignments.

8. Screening and continuous assessment to inform instruction

Frequent assessment of developing readers, and the use of that information for planning instruction, is the most reliable way of preventing children from falling behind and staying behind. A clear message from longitudinal studies of reading development is that most children who become poor readers in third grade and beyond were having difficulty right from the start with phonologically-based reading skills. In addition, instruction that targets the specific weaknesses most likely to cause reading difficulty often prevents later reading failure and facilitates the reading development of most children.

9. Motivating children to read and developing their literacy horizons

As we have emphasized earlier, a successful teacher of beginning reading generates enthusiasm and appreciation for reading. Research reviews have repeatedly stated that children who are read to often, who are led to enjoy books, and who are encouraged to read widely are more likely to become good readers than children who lack these experiences. Teachers who are juggling the technical challenges of program organization and delivery may lose sight of the fact that purposeful reading and writing is the goal of instruction. Information on the importance of daily reading aloud, the selection of varied reading material, the use of the library, and the integration of topics across the curriculum will bolster literacy instruction, even as teachers focus on teaching specific reading and writing skills. Team and school initiatives to promote a love of books and wide reading should be ever-present.

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Excerpted from: The Content of Professional Development. (November, 2000). Every Child Reading: A Professional Development Guide. Learning First Alliance. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2000 by the Learning First Alliance. Learning First Alliance member organizations include: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Council of Chief State School Officers, Education Commission of the States, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, National School Boards Association. For more information, see

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