Erica Barnes completed her Ph.D. in Development, Learning, and Diversity at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. She is the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Early Education and Child Development Special Interest Group (SIG) Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2015. Her previous teaching experience has involved working with children in grades K-12, primarily providing support for students receiving special education services. She has also served as a Teacher Consultant and Progress Monitoring Consultant, assisting teachers and principals with planning, implementing, and assessing instruction, particularly around literacy-related activities.
Her research investigates teacher-child interactions in early childhood classrooms that promote vocabulary growth, with an emphasis on the developmental trajectories of children with varying levels of language abilities and from low-income homes. Her work uses fine-grained measures such as type/token counts, academic vocabulary, and utterance level coding to identify the mechanisms driving vocabulary learning in young children using quantitative methodology. She is interested in how language, particularly academic language, facilitates literacy growth, and how teachers may differentiate instruction for children from underserved populations to build their funds of knowledge.