I am an educational psychologist with 26 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.

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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.

Audiobook: Click here to listen to the book narrated by a 12-year-old (includes a free sample)

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Daris Camp Adventures: Teacher's Guide

Daris Camp Adventures: Teacher's Guide provides teachers and parents a research-based rationale behind the decisions of writing the novel Daris Camp Adventures: A Transylvanian Saga, illustrates five different ways to use the materials in the classroom or at home, and provides methodological recommendations and examples of instructional strategies that teachers and parents can use to support their students. It includes activities to support vocabulary instruction, paragraph writing through chapter summarization, and comprehension questions for each chapter.

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Daris Camp Adventures: Students' Activity Workbook

Daris Camp Adventures: Students' Activity Workbook provides students the opportunity to develop their vocabulary, writing and reading comprehension skills, after they read the novel Daris Camp Adventures: A Transylvanian Saga.

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PD Services

I offer a variety of professional development presentations with the focus on improving reading skills of elementary school students. Below I illustrate some of the topics that I cover:

How can the science of reading help teachers of struggling readers?

How can we use books to help our students develop academic vocabulary, reading comprehension and paragraph writing skills?

How do we teach culturally and linguistically diverse students how to read?

Teaching sentence structure to improve reading comprehension: Editing for punctuation and capitalization

Teaching sentence structure to improve writing skills: Sentence combining

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


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

Dolean, D.D. & Prodan, N. (2023). Let's eat grandma: Awareness of punctuation and capitalization rules' violations predicts the development of reading comprehension. Learning and Instruction, 86, 101780, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2023.101780

Dolean, D.D. (2022). Home literacy practices that support language and literacy development in bilingual children: A longitudinal case study. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 25(7), 2621-2635. 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, 90(2), 280-296. 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