Directory of People & Offices
Nonie K. Lesaux
Professor of Education
Nonie Lesaux is a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lesaux leads a research program that focuses on increasing opportunities to learn for students from diverse linguistic, cultural, and economic backgrounds in todays classrooms. Her research on reading and vocabulary development, and instructional strategies to prevent reading difficulties has implications for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Lesauxs research, conducted in five large school districts in the United States, is supported by research grants from several organizations, including the Institute for Education Sciences and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. From 20022006, Lesaux was senior research associate of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Youth and from 20072009, she was a member of the Reading First Advisory Committee for the Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education. In 2007, Lesaux was named one of five WT Grant scholars, earning a $350,000 five-year award from the WT Grant Foundation in support of her research on English language learners in urban public schools. Lesaux is also a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the United States government to young professionals beginning their independent research careers.
- Ph.D., University of British Columbia
- Katzir, T., Lesaux, N.K., & *Kim, Y. (in press). The role of reading self-concept and home literacy environment in fourth grade reading comprehension. (forthcoming)
- Kieffer, M. J. & Lesaux, N.K. (in press). The role of morphology in the reading comprehension of Spanish-speaking English Language Learners. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. (forthcoming)
- Kieffer, M.J., Lesaux, N.K., & Snow, C.E. (in press). Promises and pitfalls: Implications of No Child Left Behind for identifying, assessing, and educating English language learners. In G. Sunderman (Ed.), Holding NCLB Accountable: Achieving Accountability, Equity, and School Reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. (forthcoming)
- Lesaux, N.K., Rupp, A.A., & Siegel, L.S. (in press). Growth in reading skills of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds: Findings from a 5-Year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology. (forthcoming)
- Samson, J. & Lesaux, N.K. (in press). Language minority learners in special education: Rates and predictors of identification for services. Journal of Learning Disabilities. (forthcoming)
- Kieffer, M.J. & Lesaux, N.K. (2007). Breaking down words to build meaning: Morphology, vocabulary, and reading comprehension in the urban classroom. The Reading Teacher, 61, 134-144. (2007)
- Lesaux, N.K., Vukovic, R.K., Hertzman, C., & Siegel, L.S. (2007). Context matters: Examining the early literacy skills and developmental health of kindergartners. Early Education & Development, 18, 497-518. (2007)
- Francis, D.J., Lesaux, N.K., & August, D.L. (2006). Language of instruction for language minority learners. In D. L. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.) Developing Literacy in a second language: Report of the National Literacy Panel. (pp.365-414). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (2006)
- Francis, D.J., Lesaux, N.K., Rivera, M., *Kieffer, M.J., & Rivera, H. (2006). Practical guidelines for the education of English language learners. Portsmouth, NH: Center on Instruction. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K. & Geva, E. (2006). Synthesis: Development of literacy in language minority learners. In D. L. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.) Developing Literacy in a second language: Report of the National Literacy Panel. (pp. 53-74). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K. (2006). Building consensus: Future directions for research on English Language Learners at-risk for learning difficulties. Teachers College Record, 108(11), 2406-2434. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K. (with Koda, K., Siegel, L.S. & Shanahan, T). (2006). Development of literacy of language minority learners. In D. L. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.) Developing literacy in a second language: Report of the National Literacy Panel. (pp.75-122). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K., Lipka, O., & Siegel, L.S. (2006). Investigating cognitive and linguistic abilities that influence the reading comprehension skills of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 19(1), 99-131. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K., Pearson, R., & Siegel, L.S. (2006). The effects of timed and untimed testing conditions on the reading comprehension performance of adults with reading disabilities. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 19(1), 21-48. (2006)
- Lipka, O., Lesaux, N.K., & Siegel, L.S. (2006). Retrospective analyses of the reading development of a group of grade 4 disabled readers: Risk status and profiles over 5 years. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39(4), 364-378. (2006)
- Ragan, A., & Lesaux, N.K. (2006). Federal, state, and district level English Language Learner program entry and exit requirements: Effects on the education of language minority learners. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14(20). (2006)
- Rupp, A.A., Lesaux, N.K., & Siegel, L.S. (2006). Meeting expectations? An empirical investigation of a standards-based reading assessment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(4), 315-333. (2006)
- Lesaux, N.K. & *Crosson, A.C. (2005). Addressing variability and vulnerability: Promoting the academic achievement of English learners in San Diego. In R. Hess (Ed.). Urban Reform: Lessons from San Diego (pp.263-281). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. (2005)
- Lesaux, N.K, & Siegel, L.S. (2003). The development of reading in children who speak English as a second language (ESL). Developmental Psychology, 39(6),1005-1019. (2003)
- Wilson, A.M. & Lesaux, N.K. (2001). Persistence of phonological processing deficits in college dyslexics with age-appropriate reading skills. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 394-400. (2001)
- Scholars Award, William T. Grant Foundation (2007)
- National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005)
- Finalist, International Reading Association Outstanding Dissertation Competition (2004)
- Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2001)
- Doctoral Training Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Population Health Division (2001)
- Joseph Katz Memorial Scholarship, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia (2001)
- Marg Csapo Scholarship, British Columbia Teacher's Federation (2001)
- Wilda Adams Memorial Scholarship, University of British Columbia (2000)
- Doreen Kronick Scholarship, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (1999)
- Member, International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities
- Member, Society for the Scientific Study of Reading
- Society for Research in Child Development
- Sources of Reading Comprehension Difficulty for English Language William F. Milton Fund (2006-2007) and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2006-2007)
- The Rigorous and Regulated Learning Environment:
A Community-Based Partnership to Transform Interactions among Vulnerable
Populations in Early Education and Care Settings, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, (2011-2013)
The proposed 2-year project will be the first step in a program of work to enhance community change initiatives in ways that support young childrens healthy social, emotional, and cognitive development. Based on the factors described above, it will focus on early care and education providers as a lever for change. Specifically, it will aim to build providers health, well-being, and skills, through supporting their positive interactions with children and provision of high quality learning environments. In so doing, it will target community change at multiple levels: by improving adults health, childrens health, and community capacity.
- Classroom Talk in Urban Middle Schools, Council of the Great City Schools, (2009-2011)
Guided by the goal of improving the quality of literacy instruction for English language learners (ELLs) and their native English-speaking classmates, the proposed study is designed to analyze the quality of language that characterizes classroom settings. This study is conducted as part of a large-scale experimental evaluation of an academic vocabulary program implemented in urban middle schools. The purpose of the proposed study is to examine the role of classroom talk on students vocabulary and reading growth, and to determine whether in fact a vocabulary intervention designed to bolster students reading skills has an effect on the quality of classroom talk.
- For Support of a Study of the Process of Urban Middle Schoool Literacy, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, (2008-2010)
The prevalence of reading difficulties in populations of English Learners (ELs) is extremely high (i.e., up to 60 percent). With increasing years of schooling, many ELs lose significant ground in academic achievement, due to difficulties comprehending and analyzing sophisticated text. It is not feasible to rely on specialists to meet the needs of ELs and their native-speaking peers who struggle with reading; many ELs who struggle are no longer receiving special support services and are enrolled in mainstream classrooms in urban schools. Therefore, research must focus on the design of effective instructional strategies to bolster language and reading instruction in the mainstream middle school classroom, for use by the mainstream teacher who likely does not have special training in second language acquisition. However, in addition to investigating the effects on student outcomes, researchersparticularly those working in middle schoolsmust investigate the conditions under which effective strategies or interventions can be implemented most effectively by teachers with varied experience and in different types of classrooms. Seeking to expand the research base and generate usable knowledge to improve ELs and their classmates outcomes, and designed to provide information for researchers and educators alike, this study will inform an empirical understanding of the barriers and facilitators to implementation, and long-term uptake, of an academic language intervention designed to bolster childrens reading skills, at the classroom and school level. Specifically, this study focuses on an in depth examination of those barriers and facilitators to implementation as they pertain to large scale literacy reform in urban middle school classrooms. Building upon my 5-year research partnership with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), this study will take place in several of the districts middle schools. To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind.
- Language Diversity and Literacy Development: Increasing Opportunities-to-Learn in Urban Middle Schools, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, (2008-2011)
Guided by the goal of accelerating the literacy development of both English language learners (ELLs) and their native English-speaking classmates, the proposed study evaluates the efficacy of a vocabulary instruction program in urban middle schools. The study employs a group-randomized design to investigate the effects of the Vocabulary Improvement Program (VIP; Lively, Carlo, August, & Snow, 2003) when used in 6th grade urban classrooms. The VIP is an instructional intervention designed to improve the reading comprehension of ELLs and their classmates through explicit instruction in vocabulary and word-learning strategies. The VIP has a strong theoretical foundation rooted in empirical developmental research on vocabulary, second-language learning, and reading comprehension as well as carries with it some evidence of potential efficacy from a study that employed a quasi-experimental design (Carlo et al., 2004). However, the efficacy of the VIP has yet to be tested empirically using an experimental design and has yet to be investigated in a large number of urban middle school classrooms. The key outcomes include several aspects of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, assessed using both standardized and researcher-designed measures. Targeted aspects of vocabulary knowledge include global reading vocabulary assessed using a standardized measure, as well as mastery of taught words and word-learning strategies (i.e., analyzing word parts, extracting meaning from context clues, and using dictionaries) assessed using researcher-designed measures. Similarly, targeted aspects of reading comprehension include global comprehension skills using a standardized measure. Specific comprehension skills, including comprehension of passages with VIP target words and morphological skills are assessed using researcher-designed measures. Students in both the treatment and control groups are assessed at three time pointspre- and post- intervention and six months after the end of the treatment period. Multi-level modeling are used to investigate the student-level, school-level, and classroom-level effects and account for the statistical problems involved in the nesting of students within classrooms within schools. Simultaneously, the multi-level model of change are used to analyze growth in student outcomes over the three points in time, and thereby assess the immediate and long-term effect of the treatment. It is hypothesized that the intervention will not only produce meaningful short-term gains for ELLs and their classmates but will also place these learners on an accelerated trajectory characterized by rapid vocabulary learning and reading comprehension development.
- Predicting Spanish-Speaking Children's Growth in Reading Pre-K Through Seventh Grade, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, (2007-2012)
This study examines reading development from pre-K through seventh grade in a sample of Spanish-speaking children for whom data have been collected on home literacy, parent language use and attitudes, and socioeconomic status. In addition to examining overall trajectories of reading development for this group of learners, this study begins to address the question of how to differentiate between students reading difficulties stemming from their status as second language learners with limited English oral language proficiency and experience with print in English, and learning difficulties not primarily related to English language learning. The three main goals of this project are: to improve our understanding of developmental trajectories of reading achievement of Spanish-speaking children educated in the United States from pre-kindergarten through seventh grade; to examine the influence of social factors (e.g., demographics), cultural factors (e.g., home literacy practices), and linguistic factors (e.g., language proficiency in Spanish and English, language of reading instruction) on the reading trajectory; and, to gain insight into the source of academic difficulties of language minority learners.
- Language Diversity and Literacy Development: Increasing Opportunities to Learn in Urban Middle Schools, William T. Grant Foundation , (2007-2012)
This project is designed to address the overarching goal of increasing opportunities to learn for English Language Learners (ELLs) in urban middle schools, with a specific focus on building capacity in the system to promote their literacy development. To address this goal, the research seeks to examine the effectiveness of a vocabulary instruction program - designed to promote the ability to learn from texts - when used in 6th grade classrooms with ELLs and their classmates. In addition to examining treatment effects, this research seeks to investigate classroom- and school-level facilitators and barriers to the implementation and sustained use of the program.
A press release on Associate Professor Lesaux being named recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
An announcement on Lesaux being named the Max and Marie Kargman Assistant Professor in Human Development and Urban Education Advancement
A feature on Nonie Lesaux and her studies on how morphology can become an instructional tool for all students learning how to read
An article on Lesaux being named a William T. Grant scholar