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Department ofPsychology

Kirsten Read

Kirsten Read
Kirsten Read

Assistant Professor

Educational Background

Ph.D., Stanford University


My research focuses on early language development, how most children become so fast and fluent in understanding and using language in just the first few years of life - no small task! My most recent studies involve looking at how common kinds of language experiences, specifically story book reading and language play, can help children use their own predictions to learn new words.

Here is a link to a newly published study on the impact of rhymed stories on children's word learning:

Our research group is always looking for volunteers, so parents of children between the ages of 2 and 5 who would like to find out more about our current studies and how to participate should email me.

Santa Clara students interested in joining my research team should know that research with small children takes patience and commitment as well as creativity. Interested students can contact me via email to learn more. It is always helpful to know if interested students have taken relevant courses (including Psych 43 and 185), and have experience working with young children.

  • PSYC 51/52/53: Statistics and Research Methods
  • PSYC 131: Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 137: Psycholinguistics
  • PSYC 184: Infancy
  • PSYC 185: Developmental Psychology

Read, K., Furay, E. & Zylstra, D. (2019). Using strategic pauses during shared reading with preschoolers: Time for prediction is better than time for reflection when learning new words. First Language.

Read, K., & Quirke, J. (2018). Rhyme and word placement in storybooks support high-level verb mapping in 3- to 5-year-old learners. Frontiers in Psychology.

Read, K., & Regan, M. (2018). The cat has a … : Children’s use of rhyme to guide sentence completionCognitive Development. 

Read, K. (2018). Making sense of nonsense: Quantifying children’s verbal play for correlational researchSAGE Research Methods Cases.

Read, K., James, S. & Weaver A. (2017). Pie, Fry Why: Language play in children three to five years oldJournal of Early Childhood Research.

Ciffone, K., Weaver, A., and Read, K. (2016). The third voice: Do enhanced e-books enhance the benefits of shared story reading with preschoolers? Childhoods Today, 10(1).

Read, K. (2014). Clues cue the smooze: Rhyme, pausing and prediction help children learning new words from storybooks. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:129.

Read, K., Macauley, M. &Furay, E. (2014). The Seuss boost: Rhyme helps children retain words from shared storybook reading. First Language. 

Fernald, A., Thorpe, K. & Marchman, V. (2010). Blue car, Red car: Developing efficiency in online interpretation of adjective-noun phrases. Cognitive Psychology, 60 (3). 190- 217.

Thorpe, K. & Fernald, A. (2006). Knowing what a novel word is not: Two-year olds "listen through" ambiguous adjectives in fluent speech. Cognition. 100, 389-433.


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