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)

T: 919.843.5623
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301K Peabody Hall
CB 3500

“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 30 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 10 year 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, family interactions and home and childcare literacy activities, 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. Results suggested significant reading gains for children in limited income rural kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. As part of the Center, she and her associates are now developing outreach models to deliver state-of-the-art professional development to rural schools around the country through innovative webcam technology. Her recent articles include “An Eco-cultural Perspective of Early Literacy: Avoiding the Perils of School for Non-mainstream Children,” co-authored with Darlene Head and Kirsten Kainz, also of UNC-Chapel Hill.


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

Research Interests

  • Rural Children and 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

Honors & Awards

  • 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., Gallagher, K., & Kainz, K. (in press). The transition to school in rural America:  A focus on literacy. In J. Eccles & J. Meece (Eds.) Schooling and Development. Mahweh, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Vernon-Feagans, L. (2009). School Readiness. In R. A. Shweder, T. R. Bidell, A. C. Dailey, S. D. Dixon, P. J. Miller, & J. Modell (Eds.) The child: An encyclopedic companion (pp. 860-862). Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Vernon-Feagans, L. (2008). Rural Education. In G. McCulloch & D. Crook (Eds.) The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Education (pp. 499-502).  London: Routledge.


Vernon-Feagans, Gallagher, K.C., Amendum, S. Ginsberg, M., Kainz, K., Rose, J.,& Burchinal, M.  (2010). A Diagnostic Teaching intervention for classroom teachers:  Helping struggling  readers in early elementary school. Learning Disability Research and Practice, 25(4), 183-193.

Pancsofar, N., Vernon-Feagans, L., and The Family Life Project Investigators (2010). Fathers’ early contributions to children’s language development in families from low-income rural communities. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25, 450-463.

Gallagher, K., Kainz, K., Mayer, K., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (in press). Development of student teacher relationships in early education. Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Ginsberg, M., & Vernon-Feagans, L. (in press) Webcam Coaching for Professional Learning Accelerates K-1 Struggling Readers: The Targeted Reading Intervention. Academic Exchange Quarterly.

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