Principal Investigator

Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


james_kim@gse.harvard.edu     Faculty Profile

James Kim is an expert on literacy intervention and experimental design. His professional mission is to conduct a systematic program of policy relevant research in literacy that focuses on improving outcomes for low-income students and struggling readers. He leads the READS Lab (Research Enhances Adaptations Designed for Scale in Literacy), a research-based collaborative initiative to identify and scale adaptive solutions for improving children’s literacy learning opportunities and outcomes. As part of the Reach Every Reader (RER) Initiative, the READS Lab is partnering with practitioners in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and researchers at the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) and Florida State University to improve Kindergarten to Grade 3 reading outcomes. His current research priority is to understand how building children’s domain knowledge and reading engagement can foster long-term improvements in reading comprehension. He serves on the editorial boards of Reading Research Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Psychology, and the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. Prior to graduate school, he was a middle school US history teacher.


Senior Researcher


Mary Burkhauser studies how teachers experience and participate with literacy reform efforts. She is particularly interested in the relationship between teachers' implementation experiences with literacy reform efforts and the scalability of these reforms. Before coming to Harvard, Mary was a middle-school English teacher in New York City and a research analyst at Child Trends. Mary earned her B.A. from Cornell University, her M.S.T. from Pace University and Ph.D. from Harvard.


Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, EPPE


Catherine Armstrong in a 4th year doctoral student in the Education Policy & Program Evaluation program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on the impacts of large scale literacy programs and policies and the methodological investigation of impact heterogeneity in literacy interventions. Prior to coming to Harvard, she worked at social policy research firm MDRC on the evaluations of Response to Intervention and Reading Partners. She has earned a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and a M.A. in Statistics from Harvard University.


Project Director


Barb is the projector director for the READS Lab.  Previously, she was a project director for the Center for Education Policy Research and co-PI for the Mathematics Teachers and Teaching Study. Prior to joining CEPR, Barb was an internal evaluator for project FANC, an NSF-funded project studying the effect of implementing formative assessment strategies in networked mathematics classrooms through the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and the Hawai‘i Arts Alliances’ Arts and Literacy for All project. Barb is a former English teacher and taught at the middle and high school levels.


Senior Researcher


Josh Gilbert received his Bachelor of Music degree at New England Conservatory and completed his Master of Education degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in its Arts in Education program in 2017.  Josh’s research experience includes work with the Center for Music and the Arts in Education, Harvard Project Zero, and Harvard’s READS Lab. Josh’s academic publications have appeared in Arts Education Policy Review, and most recently, a chapter in Music Learning as Youth Development co-authored with Dr. Lawrence Scripp. Currently, Josh is working with Dr. Scripp on a comprehensive early-childhood music curriculum for MindChamps PreSchools in Southeast Asia.


Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, HDLT


Kaity C. Kao studies the relationship between motivation and achievement in adolescence.


Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, EPPE


Thomas Kelley-Kemple focuses on examining school level determinants of policy implementation and effectiveness. He is primarily interested in understanding how schools use data to improve and support student success.


Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, HDLT


Alfatah's interests include the science of reading, interventions for struggling readers, and instructional and pedagogical guidance for teachers. As a PhD candidate, Alfatah focuses on the design of effective reading interventions for K-12 students. Alfatah brings a wealth of experience to research, having directly taught students as reading clinician and having led LEA and district-wide initiatives to deliver interventions at scale.

Doug Mosher

Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, 


Doug Mosher studies literacy interventions for elementary school students. He is particularly interested in vocabulary development for students in the early grades and whether strong vocabulary instruction can foster a love of language. Additionally, he is interested in the ways students acquire domain knowledge through reading and how students transfer this knowledge to other conceptual domains. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Doug worked for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools as a first-grade teacher.


Staff Assistant


Vicky received her Master of Education degree in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Spring 2019. Her interests broadly cover children's language development in early years and the effectiveness of literacy interventions. She mainly assists with MORE App development, MORE argumentative writing analysis and Meta-analysis project at READS lab.


Contributing Faculty, N. Carolina State University


Jackie E. Relyea served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the READS Lab at Harvard. Her research focuses on academic language and literacy development of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Her current research involves investigating a classroom-based intervention model that emphasizes the integration of literacy instruction in content-area subjects to develop language-minority students’ domain-specific knowledge, academic language and literacy, and higher-order thinking skills. Prior to joining to the READS lab, she held research positions at various research institutions, including UNC-Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, MetaMetrics Inc., and the University of Houston. She is currently an assistant professor of literacy education at North Carolina State University. 


Strategic Data Fellow, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools


Patrick Rich is a Data Fellow located at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools where he serves as a liaison to the MORE RCT and the lead research analyst for the Office of Academics and Office of Accountability. He is interested in language and literacy development, and how family and social aspects cohere with the classroom. Previously, he was a senior research analyst at Denver Public Schools, where he led stakeholder-focused longitudinal research projects investigating what factors relate to early literacy outcomes, post-secondary outcomes, as well as language acquisition for multilingual learners. He has taught domestically and internationally. His graduate work (MSc) is in economics and also society, technology, and science studies (Lund University in Sweden), with an BSc in industrial and operations research engineering (University of Michigan).


Senior Researcher, CEPR


Ethan Scherer is a senior researcher with the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) and the READS Lab.  He leads the analytic design and execution for the MORE RCT and the Boston Charter Research Collaborative. As part of his work with CEPR, he also led the analytic design and execution for the Proving Ground project.  Prior to joining CEPR, Ethan completed a Ph.D. in policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and worked on projects related to district reform, teacher effectiveness, and out-of-school time at RAND. Ethan holds an M.P.P in public policy from UCLA and B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University.


Project Coordinator


Johanna came to the READS Lab from Harvard's Project Zero, where she worked as a Research Assistant on a national study of how different groups think about the goals of college. Her primary focus is issues of social mobility and equity in the field of education, and she has previously coordinated an educational program for immigrant women at the MiRA Centre in Norway, and worked as a teacher and coordinator of a study abroad program in San Francisco. She holds an M.A. in International Studies from the University of San Francisco.

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READS Lab, Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA  02138