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Faculty & Research

James S. Kim

Professor of Education

James S. Kim

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (2002)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.1517
Personal Site:   Link to Site
Vitae/CV:   James S. Kim.pdf
Office:  Larsen 505
Office Hours:
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Member and cc the Faculty Assistant
Faculty Assistant:  Anne Blevins


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 U.S. history teacher.

Click here to see a full list of James Kim's courses.

Sponsored Projects

Improving Early Literacy at Scale through Personalized Diagnosis and Intervention (2018-2022)
Chan- Zuckerberg Foundation

“Personalized learning” is an emerging movement in education, generating both optimism and skepticism in the field. We are optimistic because of the enormous possibilities implicit in helping every learner reach his or her full potential by leveraging advances in technology, but we also recognize challenges to large-scale change due to the thin evidence base and constraining policy and practice environments. We share with many in education a deep commitment to the principles of equity and excellence motivating much of the move to personalized learning. Building on a joint planning process begun in January 2017, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and MIT are pleased to submit this proposal for a $30 million joint initiative to improve early literacy through personalized diagnosis and intervention. Because we believe that personalized learning will take root and expand only if it can make demonstrable progress in addressing pressing education challenges, we will focus on applying principles of personalization toward the goal that all children achieve mastery of foundational literacy skills by the end of third grade.

READS for Summer Learning (2016-2018)
Wallace Foundation

In 2010, Harvard began READS for Summer Learning to support and study elementary school students’ reading skills during the summer months funded by a 5 year grant from the Department of Education Innovation Fund with additional support by the Wallace Foundation and other sponsors. READS is an intervention that responds to the evidence that many low-achieving students have limited gains, or no gains, or losses in reading achievement during the summer months when they do not attend school. This grant provides partial support for READS during the period September 2016 – August 2018, specifically to support ongoing staff and travel costs to continue the work begun in 2010. In addition, Dr. Kim will provide input for a Wallace report that will summarize his findings from studies of READS, his observations about the implementation of READS, and related published research.

Efficacy of the Core Knowledge Language Arts Listening and Learning Read Aloud Program in Kindergarten through Second Grade Classrooms (2016-2021)

Dr. Kim will be directing the evaluation of the core knowledge program and helping postdocs and research assistants run the impact analyses. Specifically, he will work with the PI and core project staff to develop an analysis plan, direct the evaluation of the efficacy of the Core Knowledge Language Arts Listening and Learning Read Aloud Program, articulate the fully specified multi-level models used to estimate treatment impacts on child-level vocabulary, listening comprehension and domain knowledge outcomes, and guide the secondary analyses that examine whether the quality of read alouds mediate treatment effects on child outcomes and the baseline, child-level moderators of treatment effects. A research assistant will be supervised by Dr. Kim and will be responsible for organizing a student-level data set that will be used for the impact analyses, cleaning the data set at each wave of data collection, monitoring and reporting attrition across waves, and conducting descriptive analyses to check for baseline equivalence, attrition across waves, and posttest differences on the child-level outcomes. Dr. Kim will train the RA to follow the principles outlined in Scott Long’s “The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata” to ensure that data files are organized to produce replicable results.

Wallace-Project READS: Using Data to Promote Summer Reading and Close the Achievement Gap for Low-SES Students in North Carolina (2015-2018)
Wallace Foundation

This grant is intended to serve as the private-sector match required for an extension of the Project READS Investing in Innovation (“i3”) grant for which Dr. James Kim and his colleagues submitted a proposal to the United States Department of Education (“Department”) on June 20, 2014, as subsequently approved by the Department on October 28, 2014 to evaluate the READS intervention.

Project READS: Using Data to Promote Summer Reading & close the achievement gap for low-SES students in North Carolina (2010-2018)
U.S. Department of Education

The project addresses the I3 Absolute Priorty 2-Innovations that Improve the Use of Data. The purpose of the I3 grant is to promote summer reading and close the achievement gap for low SES students in NC. Over five years, we will work with Communities in Schools of North Carolina to implement, validate, and scale up an innovative approach to combating summer loss among low-income children. The Project—called READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer)—provides children with books during the summer and promotes summer reading with teacher and parent “scaffolding.” In implementing READS, districts must adopt a set of data use strategies that inform decision-making and help to improve student achievement, such as examining spring to fall achievement gains or losses and using the results of student surveys and achievement tests to select books that are well matched to students' reading skills and interests. The major goal of the I3 grant is to validate the READS intervention in North Carolina through a series of randomized experiments involving up to 10 districts and 10,000 students. In the final year of the project, we will use data from the experiments to scale-up the most cost-effective version of the READS program.The project has three phases: Phase 1 Validation, which includes testing READS in several districts including DPS and an effort to increase the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the program; Phase 2 Validation, which involves expansion into more districts and many more schools and testing the cumulative impact of READS across summers; and Phase 3 Scale-Up, which involves expansion into 20 more districts. In Phase 1 Validation, an independent evaluator will a) conduct two experiments that test the effects of the READS program that was implemented previously and an enhanced version of it, and b) analyze the cost effectiveness of the basic and enhanced versions of READS to identify the most cost effective version. In Phase 2 Validation, the evaluator will a) conduct an experimental test of the cumulative effects (across 2 summers) of the most cost-effective version of READS (CE READS) in as many as 10 school districts, and b) compare achievement growth in the summer and school year for students who received CE READS and students who did not receive READS. In Phase 3 Scale-Up, the non-profit partner CIS will scale up CE READS in 20 NC districts. High-quality implementation data will be collected in all three phases to ensure fidelity of implementation, understand how key stakeholders use data in making decisions about expansion, and understand how a non-profit organization like CIS can successfully facilitate scale-up of READS across districts. Project data will be used in the three ways to improve student achievement. First, project data will inform each version of the READS intervention. We will use data to match books to children’s reading level and interests and train teachers to scaffold children’s summer reading through comprehension lessons during the end of the year and throughout the summer. Second, project data will inform the READS evaluation. We will use data from randomized experiments to identify cost-effective innovations to core READS. These innovations include having teachers call children in the summer to talk about books and to call parents to encourage summer reading. We will estimate impacts on reading comprehension and generate per pupil costs of the various READS interventions. Third, project data will be used to inform district policy. We will share data from the READS evaluation studies with district stakeholders through interviews and focus groups and then use data from stakeholders to modify and enhance READS. Over 4 years, we conduct validate READS in one district, and then systematically scale the intervention and evaluation strategy in up to 10 districts.

Wallace-Project READS: Using Data to Promote Summer Reading and Close the Achievement Gap for Low-SES Students in North Carolina (2010-2017)
Wallace Foundation

Kim, J. S., Burkhauser, M. B., Quinn, D. M., Guryan, J., Kingston, H. C., & Aleman, K. (Forthcoming). Effectiveness of Structured Teacher Adaptations to an Evidence-Based Summer Literacy Program.Reading Research Quarterly.,(forthcoming)

Cooc, N., & Kim, J. S. (Forthcoming). Peer Influence on Children’s Reading Skills: Social Network Analysis of Elementary School Classrooms.Journal of Educational Psychology.,(forthcoming)

Capotosto, L. & Kim, J. S. (2016). Literacy Discussions in Low-Income Families: The Effect of Parent Questions on Fourth Graders’ Retellings.First Language 36(1), 50-70.,(2016)

Lynch, K. & Kim, J. S. (2016). Effects of a Summer Mathematics Intervention for Low-Income Children.Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, XX (X), 1–23. DOI: 10.3102/0162373716662339,(2016)

Guryan, J., Kim, J. S., Park, K. S. (2016). Motivation and Incentives in Education: Evidence from a Summer Reading Experiment. Economics of Education Review, 55, 1-20.,(2016)

Kim, J. S., Hemphill, L., Troyer, M. T., Thomson, J. M., Jones, S. J., LaRusso, M. & Donovan, S. (2016). Engaging Struggling Adolescent Readers to Improve Reading Skills.Reading Research Quarterly, 1-26. DOI: 10.1002/rrq.171,(2016)

Kim, J. S., Guryan, J., White, T. G., Quinn, D. M., Capotosto, L., & Kingston, H. C. (2016). Delayed Effects of a Low-Cost and Large-Scale Summer Reading Intervention on Elementary School Children’s Reading Comprehension. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 9(S1), 1-22. DOI: 10.1080/19345747.2016.1164780”,(2016)

White, T. G., Kim, J. S., Kingston, H. C., & Foster, L. F. (2014). Replicating the Effects of a Teacher-Scaffolded Voluntary Summer Reading Program: The Role of Poverty.Reading Research Quarterly, 49(1), 5-30. DOI: 10.1002/rrq.62,(2014)

Kim, J. S. & Quinn, D. M. (2013). The Effects of Summer Reading on Low-income Children’s Literacy Achievement from Kindergarten to Grade 8: A Meta-analysis of Classroom and Home Interventions.Review of Educational Research, 83(3), 386-431.,(2013)

Olson, C.B., Kim, J. S., Scarcella, R., Kramer, J. S., Pearson, M., van Dyk, D., Collins, P., & Land, R. (2012). Enhancing the Interpretive Reading and Analytical Writing of Mainstreamed English Learners in Secondary School: Results From a Randomized Field Trial Using a Cognitive Strategies Approach. American Educational Research Journal, 49(2), 323-355.,(2012)

Kim, J. S., Capotosto, L. C., Hartry, A., & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Can a Mixed-Method Literacy Intervention Improve the Reading Achievement of Low-Performing Elementary School Students in an After-school Program? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of READ 180 Enterprise. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(2), 183-201.,(2011)

Kim, J. S, Olson, C.B., Scarcella, R., Kramer, J. S., Pearson, M., van Dyk, D., Collins, P., & Land, R. (2011). A Randomized Experiment of a Cognitive Strategies Approach to Text-Based Analytical Writing for Mainstreamed Latino English Language Learners in Grades 6-12. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 4(3), 231-263.,(2011)

Kim, J. S., & Guryan, J. (2010). The Efficacy of a Voluntary Summer Book Reading Intervention for Low-Income Latino Children from Language Minority Families.Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, (3), 505-515.,(2010)

Gersten, R., Dimino, J., Jayanthi, M., Kim, J. S., & Santoro, L. E. (2010). Teacher Study Group: Impact of the Professional Development Model on Reading Instruction and Student Outcomes in First Grade Classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 47(3), 694-739.,(2010)

Kim, J. S., Samson, J. F., Fitzgerald, R., & Hartry, A. (2010). A Randomized Experiment of a Mixed-Methods Literacy Intervention for Struggling Readers in Grades 4-6: Effects on Word Reading Efficiency, Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary, and Oral Reading Fluency. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23 (1), 1109-1129.,(2010)

Kim, J. S. (2008). Research and the Reading Wars.Phi Delta Kappan, 89 (5), 372-375.,(2008)

White, T. G., & Kim, J. S. (2008). Teacher and Parent Scaffolding of Voluntary Summer Reading. Reading Teacher, 62(2), 116-125.,(2008)

Kim, J. S. (2008). Research and the Reading Wars. In. Hess, F. M. (Ed.), When Research Matters: How Scholarship Influences Education Policy (89-112). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.,(2008)

Kim, J. S. & White, T. G. (2008). Scaffolding Voluntary Summary Reading for Children in Grades 3 to 5: An Experimental Study. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12 (1), 1-23.,(2008)

Kim, J. S. (2007). The Effects of a Voluntary Summer Reading Intervention on Reading Activities and Reading Achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 505-515.,(2007)

Sunderman, G., & Kim, J. S. (2007). The Expansion of Federal Power and the Politics of Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers College Press, 109(5), 1057-1085.,(2007)

Kim, J. S. (2007). The Relative Influence of Research on Class Size Policy. Brookings Papers on Education Policy (9), 273-295.,(2007)

Sunderman, G. L., Orfield, G., & Kim, J. S. (2006). The Principals Denied by NCLB are Central to Visionary School Reform. The Education Digest, 72,(2), 19-24.,(2006)

Kim, J. S. (2006). “The Effects of a Voluntary Summer Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement: Results from a Randomized Field Trial.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(4), 335-355.,(2006)

Sunderman, G., L., & Kim, J. S. (2006). Implementing Supplemental Educational Services: Implications for School Districts and Educational Opportunity. Wong, K. K., & Rutledge, S. A. (Eds.), System-wide Efforts to Improve Student Achievement (63-92). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.,(2006)

Sunderman, G., Kim, J. S., & Orfield, G. (2005). NCLB Meets School Realities, Lessons from the Field. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage/Corwin Press.,(2005)

Kim, J. S., & Sunderman, G. (2005). Measuring Academic Proficiency Under the No Child Left Behind Act: Implications for Educational Equity. Educational Researcher, 34(8), 3-12.,(2005)

Kim, J. S. (2004). Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap.Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 9(2), 169-188.,(2004)

Brennan, R. T., Kim, J. S., Wenz-Gross, M., & Siperstein, G. N. (2001). The Relative Equitability of High-Stakes Testing versus Teacher-Assigned Grades: An Analysis of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).Harvard Educational Review, 71(2), 173-216.,(2001)

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