A video interview with

James Kim, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Dr. James Kim is an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former middle school history teacher. His research focuses on literacy interventions designed to improve reading and writing of upper elementary, middle, and high school students. Dr. Kim co-authored a 2009 report, Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together: How Systematic Vocabulary Instruction and Expanded Learning Time Can Address the Literacy Gap (Center for American Progress).

In this interview, Kim talks about how to keep the "learning faucet" on during the summer, how summer reading builds background knowledge, and the power of dialogic read alouds.


Through his research, Dr. Kim aims to understand the role that teachers and parents play in promoting children's reading comprehension and reading engagement during the academic school year and summer months. He is particularly interested in using the results of randomized experiments to identify a toolbox of literacy interventions and instructional practices that enable educators to improve children’s literacy outcomes, especially vulnerable populations of children growing up in low-income neighborhoods, schools, and homes. His ultimate goal is to use experimental evidence to identify effective literacy interventions that enable all children to acquire knowledge, to read for enjoyment, and to succeed in their careers.

Dr. Kim is associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was previously an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine. He is a 2008 National Academy of Education, Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and a graduate of the University of Virginia (UVa), College of Arts and Sciences and Curry School of Education. At UVa, he was a history major, focused on race relations in the American South, completed an oral history of school desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and earned a masters degree in teaching.

Dr. Kim began his career in education as an American history teacher and chair of the history and civics department in an ethnically diverse middle school. As a former history teacher, he learned the importance of identifying effective instructional practices and literacy interventions that enabled my students to succeed in school.

Learn more at Dr. Kim's website.


"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall." — Roald Dahl