Research interests & goals:
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.