I am an educational psychologist with 25 years of experience working as an elementary, middle and high school teacher, college professor and research scientist. My area of expertise is language and literacy development in elementary school children. I have coordinated multiple teams of researchers and research assistants (teachers, school psychologists, PhD students, and post docs).I have also worked with students with special needs, second language learners, typically developed students, and gifted and talented students.

While working as a research scientist and classroom teacher, I’ve noticed what seems to be an increasingly acknowledged gap between academic research and classroom practice. Too often, the findings of well conducted academic research studies never reach their main beneficiaries (the classroom teachers). At the same time, many challenging issues confronted by classroom teachers on a daily basis are not captured by the research. In contrast to the holistic approach found in several fields (e.g. medicine) there is a great disconnect between educational researchers and teachers: most researchers do not spend enough time in the classroom, and many teachers do not have access to (or receive the proper training to fully understand) the new, increasingly complex scientific research on best practices.

My goal is to bridge this gap.



Curriculum-based measures for monitoring
the progress of reading skills

This book aims to help elementary school teachers, reading specialists, administrators and curriculum coordinators effectively and reliably monitor the progress of reading development in elementary school students. The book includes multiple sets of parallel assessment instruments that are built around the main developmental milestones of each reading skill. It offers a research-based, user-friendly, convenient and affordable solution to monitoring the progress of reading skills that can be readily implemented in the elementary classroom.

Daris Camp Adventures: A Transylvanian Saga

This middle grade novel is written for upper elementary school students and their teachers. The aim of this book is to expose students gradually and systematically to new, challenging and age-appropriate vocabulary. The research-informed approach at the foundation of this novel helps students master over 150 Tier 2 vocabulary words by the time they have finished reading it. The novel is entertaining, dynamic and saturated with dialogue. Each short chapter of consistent length (400-600 words) provide an ideal solution for brief classroom activities, a quick silent reading during transition periods, or for independent reading blocks.

The novel follows Danny, a twelve-year old boy who reluctantly leaves the comforts of his home to attend a summer camp in Transylvania, Romania. At the camp, he befriends Alex, with whom he shares a cabin and a mutual dread of vampires, and Lucy whose ambivalent attitude often tests the boys’ patience. The week-long camp experience proves to be full of mystery and unexpected adventures for the three protagonists. By the novel’s end, a strong friendship has formed between them.


Daris Camp Adventures: A Transylvanian Saga
Vocabulary and reading comprehension activity book

Teachers can embed the novel Daris Camp Adventures: A Transylvanian Saga in their curriculum, with the purpose of teaching Tier 2 vocabulary words and improving their reading comprehension skills. This activity book helps teachers provide students with the support they need to consolidate newly learned vocabulary words by explicitly and systematically using them in different contexts. Moreover, the activities featured in this book include comprehension questions focusing on lower level skills (e.g. identifying the main idea, the main and secondary characters, the setting, the plot, or the supporting details) as well as higher level skills (e.g. compare and contrast, making inferences, paraphrasing, making predictions, or identifying the author’s purpose). The activities are accompanied by answer keys that indicate the specific skills practiced with each question.

PD Services

I offer the following professional development presentations aimed to benefit elementary
school teachers, administrators, and specialists.

The pathways to reading for meaning.

How do the brains of disadvantaged students work when they learn to read?

Beyond correct words per minute: How can we reliably monitor the progress of reading skills?

How can we effectively improve the vocabulary of upper elementary school children?

The utility of homework in elementary school: How much is too much?

Best practices in elementary school: Distinguishing between the noise and critical instruction.


The following is a selection of my research papers, highlighting my expertise in the field

Dolean, D.D. (2021). Home literacy practices that support language and literacy development in bilingual children: A longitudinal case study. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Online First June 21, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2021.1943304

Dolean, D.D. & Lervag, A. (2021). Variation of homework assigned in elementary school can impact academic achievement. The Journal of Experimental Education, Online first February 10, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/00220973.2020.1861422

Dolean, D.D., Lervag, A., Visu-Petra, L. & Melby-Lervag, M. (2021). Language skills, and not executive functions, predict the development of reading comprehension: Evidence from an orthographically transparent language. Reading and Writing: An interdisciplinary journal, 34, 1491-1512. doi.org/10.1007/s11145-020-10107-4

Dolean, D.D. & Călugăr, A. (2020). How reliably can we measure a child’s true IQ: Socio-economic status can explain most of the inter-ethnic differences in general non-verbal abilities. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02000

Dolean, D.D., Melby-Lervag, M., Tincas, I., Damsa, C. & Lervag, A. (2019). Achievement gap: Socioeconomic status affects reading development beyond language and cognition in children facing poverty. Learning and Instruction, 63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2019.101218.

Lervag, A., Dolean, D.D., Tincas, I. & Melby-Lervag, M. (2019). Socioeconomic Background, Nonverbal IQ and School Absence Affects the Development of Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension in Children Living in Severe Poverty. Developmental Science, 22(5). https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12858

Dolean, D.D., & Tincas, I. (2019). Cognitive factors explain inter-cultural variations of abilities in rhythm perception: The case of Roma minority. Psychology of Music, 47(5), 757–766. https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735618766715

Dolean, D.D. (2016). The effects of teaching songs in foreign language classrooms on foreign language anxiety. Language Teaching Research, 20(5), 638-653. DOI: 10.1177/1362168815606151

Dolean, D.D. (2015). How early can we efficiently start teaching a foreign language? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23(5), 706-719. DOI:10.1080/1350293X.2015.1104047

Dolean, D.D. (2014). Using the Keyword Method in the classroom: Is the interacting imagery necessary? System, 45, 17-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2014.04.003


Email: drdolean@gmail.com

Twitter: @DDolean