Lynne Vernon-FeagansProgram Director, Retired Faculty Program
Lynne Vernon-Feagans is the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor Emerita at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Education. She has focused her research on young children and families from diverse low wealth rural communities.
She has been the the principal investigator of the largest NIH funded study of rural children and their families with a representative sample of every baby born to a mother who lived in one of six low wealth rural counties. The study oversampled for both poverty and African American (1292 children). The study has followed these children and families from birth with the collaboration of 23 investigators from various disciplines, and new NIH funding has allowed researchers to follow the children through 18 years of age. She and her colleagues’ work has demonstrated the importance of childcare that emphasizes teacher/child verbal interactions in predicting later language and literacy development and the importance of continuous better quality elementary school instruction in predicting later literacy development, especially for those children who enter school with the lowest readiness skills.
In an extension of this work, she and her colleagues developed the Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI), a professional development program for classroom teachers to improve early literacy instruction for struggling readers in rural America. Using cost effective webcam technology, the Targeted Reading Intervention has been able and continues to improve teacher effectiveness in reading instruction by helping struggling readers make dramatic gains in early reading. The TRI is now endorsed by What Works Clearinghouse and many other organizations.