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Shayne Piasta - The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH, US

Shayne Piasta Shayne Piasta

Associate Professor | Teaching and Learning | The Ohio State University


Expert in reading and literacy in early and middle childhood education.


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. Her research has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (6)


Reading and Literacy


Childhood Literacy

Early Childhood Education

Child Development

Accomplishments (5)

Dina Feitelson Research Award (professional)

2014 International Reading Association

Language, Speech, and Hearing Sciences in Schools Editor’s Award (professional)


Outstanding Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow Award (professional)


Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Fellow (professional)


Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (professional)


President Obama

Education (3)

Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research: Ph.D., Developmental Psychology 2008

Florida State University and the Florida Center for Reading Research: M.S., Developmental Psychology 2006

College of the Holy Cross: B.A., Psychology 2004

Media Appearances (4)

EHE professor wins highest national honor for research

The Ohio State University  online


Shayne Piasta, associate professor of teaching and learning, is one of two U.S. education researchers, and the only professor from Ohio State, honored by President Barack Obama with the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers, according to a statement from The White House. “I am really grateful for the recognition,” Piasta said. “It speaks to the growing attention and recognition of how important the early education research is that I and many others have been doing.” Piasta is one of 102 scientists nationwide who received the presidential award. Established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the awards highlight the key role that American innovation plays to grow the economy and tackle the greatest challenges facing the country.

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Ohio rates few day cares for educational quality

Journal-News  online


Checking online safety inspection reports with the state should also be a priority for parents. They also should look to see how daycare staff interacts with kids, said Shayne Piasta, an assistant professor at Ohio State University who works with the college’s center for early childhood research. “It’s important that we’re focusing on the quality; we have an accumulating body of evidence that shows how important early childhood years are for kids’ learning and development,” Piasta said. “I would want to see adults (at daycares) being actively engaged with the children, talking with them, having conversations, being supportive.”

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Small change in reading to preschoolers can help disadvantaged kids catch up

North County Public Radio  online


"What they would do is that they would put a child on their parent's lap, and then they would use some special equipment that allows them to pinpoint exactly where the children are looking at any given moment in time," says Shayne Piasta, a professor at Ohio State University. They found that when you simply read a book to kids, they tend to ignore the print on the page. More than 90 percent of the time the children are focusing on the pictures, or they are looking up at the parent, she says.

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Pointing to words helps children read in later years

The Telegraph  online


Parents who point out words and letters to their children as they read aloud boost the youngsters' reading skills when they are older, according to a new study. Showing capital letters and how you read from left to right and top to bottom of the page also improves the childrens' spelling and language comprehension skills. "By showing them what a letter is and what a letter means, and what a word is and what a word means, we're helping them to crack the code of language and understand how to read," said Shayne Piasta, an assistant professor of teaching and learning who led the study. Under-fives who were taught to read this way developed more advanced reading skills one and even two years down the line compared to kids who didn't. Researchers claim this is the first time a study has shown a link between referencing during reading and literary achievement in later life. An earlier study showed untrained teachers referenced 8.5 times per reading session compared to 36 times for those who were trained.

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Research Grants (5)

Efficacy of the BrightStart! Program for Promoting the Emergent Literacy Skills of PreKindergarten Children At Risk for Reading Difficulties

Institute of Educational Sciences $3,300,000

2016-2021 Principal Investigator Grant R305A160261

Preschool Teachers’ Use of Assessment Data

Spencer Foundation $39,700

2015-2018 Co-Principal Investigator Grant 201600041

Teachers’ and Principals’ Experiences and Perceptions of the Ohio Implementation of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy $7,350

2015 Co-Principal Investigator

Read It Again! in Early Childhood Special Education

Institute of Education Sciences $3,300,000

2013-2017 Co-Principal Investigator Grant R324A130066

A Data-Driven Approach to Kindergarten Readiness and the Importanceof the Preschool Years: A Partnership Between Researchers and Stakeholders

Ohio Education Research Center $15,000

2013-2014 Co-Investigator

Recent Research (1)

Preschoolers' Reading Skills Benefit From One Modest Change By Teachers

The Ohio State University


A small change in how teachers and parents read aloud to preschoolers may provide a big boost to their reading skills later on, a new study found. That small change involves making specific references to print in books while reading to children – such as pointing out letters and words on the pages, showing capital letters, and showing how you read from left to right and top to bottom on the page. Preschool children whose teachers used print references during storybook reading showed more advanced reading skills one and even two years later when compared to children whose teachers did not use such references. This is the first study to show causal links between referencing print and later literacy achievement. “Using print references during reading was just a slight tweak to what teachers were already doing in the classroom, but it led to a sizeable improvement in reading for kids,” said Shayne Piasta, co-author of the study and assistant professor of teaching and learning at Ohio State University. “This would be a very manageable change for most preschool teachers, who already are doing storybook reading in class. ”

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