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.

Principal Investigator

Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


james_kim@gse.harvard.edu     Faculty Profile


Mary 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, M.S.T. from Pace University and Ph.D. from Harvard.

Senior Researcher



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.

Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, EPPE



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.

Project Director



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. Josh is currently on the faculty at New England Conservatory (NEC) in the Music-in-Education department, works as a Senior Researcher at Harvard’s READS Lab, and is working on a music integration curriculum for MindChamps preschools in Singapore. 

Senior Researcher



Kaity C. Kao studies the development of cognitive language and literacy skills in students from early elementary through adolescence.

Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, HDLT



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, EPPE



Alfatah Moore is interested in the science of reading, intervention design for struggling readers, and instructional and pedagogical guidance for teachers.

Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, HDLT



Vicky received her Ed.M in Language and Literacy program from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Spring 2019. Her interests broadly cover the literacy development of children from linguistically and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds and the effectiveness of literacy interventions. 

Staff Assistant



Ethan is a senior research manager for the Center for Education Policy Research where he leads the analytic design and execution for the READs Lab and the Boston Charter Research Collaborative.  Prior to joining CEPR, he completed a Ph.D. in policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Ethan’s doctoral research focused on whether bonuses for teachers and principals improved student achievement as well as whether voters held school board members accountable for their performance.  At RAND, Ethan worked on projects related to district reform, teacher effectiveness, and out-of-school time.  He has also worked as a teaching assistant for classes on empirical analysis, microeconomics, and statistical methods. Ethan holds an M.P.P in public policy from UCLA and B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University.

Senior Researcher, CEPR



Jackie Eunjung Relyea is an assistant professor of literacy education at North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the faculty, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and University of Houston. Her primary research interests focus on academic language and reading development of young children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She is also interested in empirically testing competing theories that represent different hypotheses about reading development. Her recent research focuses on evaluations of adaptive literacy intervention designed to improve children's reading comprehension, domain knowledge, and motivation. Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including, Child Development, Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, Reading Psychology, and Reading & Writing Quarterly.

Contributing Faculty, N. Carolina State University



Patrick Rich is a Data Fellow located at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. 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).

Strategic Data Fellow, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools



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 a M.A. in International Studies from the University of San Francisco.

Project Coordinator



Kristia Wantchekon is a fourth year student at Harvard University in the Human Development, Learning and Teaching concentration of the PhD in the Education. Her interests broadly cover how adolescents' development intersects with their reading development and engagement. In her own research she hopes to explore the mechanisms through which culturally responsive teaching positively impacts the reading growth and engagement of struggling adolescent students. Kristia earned her B.A. from Yale University and received her Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University in Spring 2017.

Research Assistant

Doctoral Candidate, HGSE


Kristia Wantchekon

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