Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Photo of Lynne Vernon-Feagans

Vernon-Feagans, Lynne

William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Intervention and Literacy and Professor of Psychology
Coordinator of Education M.A./Ph.D. (ECIL)

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301K Peabody Hall
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“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure."

– Emma Goldman


Over the last 40 years, Lynne Vernon-Feagans has focused her interest on children at risk – especially African-American children who live in poverty. As part of the Abecedarian Early Intervention Project, she led a study on children’s use of language in their home neighborhood and in their classrooms at school. Her resulting book helped educators and practitioners understand the disconnect between the children’s neighborhood language and culture and the school’s language and culture to help better understand the challenges faced by minority children during the transition to school.     

Presently, Vernon-Feagans is principal investigator of a NICHD multi-site, multi-disciplinary, birth-cohort study of that is a representative sample of children born in each of three poor, rural Pennsylvania and North Carolina counties. With policy implications for rural families and their children, this landmark study involving 23 investigators collects in-depth measures of families, poverty and rurality, biological markers of family stress, family health, family work, parental language input and interactions, as well as child cognition, language, emotionality and sociability. Additionally, Vernon-Feagans serves as co-principal investigator of the National Research Center on Rural Education Support funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. With colleagues, she developed a series of randomized clinical trials to test the effectiveness of her Targeted Reading Intervention, a web based consultation (Tier II intervention) for classroom teachers to promote rapid reading growth in struggling readers. Results suggested significant reading gains for children in limited income rural kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. Her current work is now in a school in Charlotte, NC with funding from The Belk Foundation.


Educational Background

  • Post-doctoral training, 1975 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Child Development Institute
  • Ph.D. 1975 - University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Developmental Psychology and Linguistics
  • B.A. 1967 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Economics

Doctoral Program Affiliation(s)

Ph.D. in Education - Applied Developmental Science and Special Education

Research Interests

  • Rural Children and Minority Families in Poverty
  • The Transition to School for Struggling Learners
  • Language and Literacy at Home and at School
  • Literacy Interventions for Kindergarten and First Grade

Teaching Areas

  • Family, Poverty and Intervention
  • Language, Literacy and Schooling


  • EDUC 824: Fundamentals of Educational Research
  • EDUC 864: Families, Schools, and Child Development: Successful Intervention Strategies
  • EDUC 882: Seminar in Human Learning and Cognition

Honors & Awards

  • 2011, Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, UNC
  • 2008, National Academy of Science Panel “Language and the Achievement Gap”
  • 2006, Rockefeller Scholar in Residence Award (Bellagio, Italy), Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1999, Fellow, International Association for Research in Learning Disabilities

Funded Research

  • Vernon-Feagans, L. The Targeted Reading Intervention:  A Web-Based Professional Development Program Targeting K-1 Classroom Teachers and Their Struggling Readers. Institute of Education Sciences. (7/01/2010-6/30/2014: $3,500,000).
  • Vernon-Feagans, L. & DeMarco, A. Child Care Subsidy Use and the Relationship to Parental Work and Child Competence. Child Care Bureau (1/01/2010-12/31/2010: $120,000) Allison DeMarco is the real PI of this project.
  • Vernon-Feagans, L. and Greenberg, M. Children Living in Rural Poverty: The Continuation of the Family Life Project. National Institute of Health. (7/01/07-6/30/12; $12,900,000)
  • Vernon-Feagans, L. Elementary School Transition Project. National Center for Rural Education. Supplemental Funding. (9/15/06-9/15/09; $1,000,000)
  • Farmer, T. & Vernon-Feagans, L. Elementary School Transition Project. National Research Center for Rural Education Support. (9/15/04-9/15/09; $10,000,000)
  • Vernon-Feagans, L. & Cox, M. The development of young children growing up in rural poor communities. Approved for Funding by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development  (7/1/02–6/30/07); $16,500,000)
  • Cox, M. & Reznick, S. (Vernon-Feagans, investigator) The North Carolina Research Collaborative Center. The National Science Foundation. (9/1/01 - 8/31/06; $2,500,000)

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Psychological Society
  • Association for Children with Learning Disabilities
  • Council for Learning Disabilities
  • International Association for Research in Learning Disabilities
  • International Society for Infant Studies
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development
  • Society for Pediatric Psychology
  • Society for Research in Child Development

Selected Publications

Vernon-Feagans, L., Willoughby, M., & Garrett-Peters, P. (2016) Predictors of behavioral regulation in kindergarten: Household chaos, parenting, and early executive function. Developing Psychology. doi:10.1037/dev0000087

Willoughby, M.T., Magnus, B., Vernon-Feagans, L., Blair, C.B., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators. (2016) Developmental delays in executive function from 3-5 years of age predict kindergarten academic readiness. Journal of Learning Disabilities. doi:10.1177/0022219415619754

Baker, C.E., Vernon-Feagans, L., & The Family Life Project Key Investigarors. (2015). Fathers' language input during shared book activities: Links to children's kindergarten achievement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 53-59. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2014.11.009

Blair, C., Ursache, A., Greenberg, M., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (2015). Multiple aspects of self-regulation uniquely predict mathematics but not letter-word knowledge in the early elementary grades. Developmental Psychology, 51(4), 459-472. doi: 10.1037/a0038813

Tichnor-Wagner, A., Garwood, J.D., Bratsch-Hines, M., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (2015). Home literacy enviroments and foundational literacy skills for struggling and nonstruggling readers in rural early elementary schools. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice. doi: 10.1111/ldrp.12090

Vernon-Feagans, L., Bratsch-Hines, M., Varghese, C., Bean, A and Hedrick, A.(2015). The Targeted Reading Intervention: Face-to-face vs. webcam literacy coaching of classroom teachers. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 30, 135-147. doi:10.1111/ldrp.12062

Bratsch-Hines, M., Baker, C. & Vernon-Feagans, L. (2016). Minority Families in the Rural United States: Family Processes, Child Care and Early Schooling. In L.Crockett & G. Carlo (Eds.). Rural minority youth and families. New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20976-0_9

Vernon-Feagans, L., Burchinal, M., & Mokrova, I. (2015). Diverging destinies in rual America. In P. Amato, A. Booth, S. McHale, & J. Van Hook (Eds.), Diverging Destinies: Families in an Era of Increasing Inequality. New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-08308-7_3

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