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Faculty of Community Services

Kathleen Peets




416-979-5000, ext. 7646

Email Address:


  • Language and literacy.
  • Cross-cultural development.
  • Bilingualism.


My training has been largely multidisciplinary, with a background in linguistics (BA, York University) developmental psychology and education within a cross-cultural model (EdM, EdD, Harvard University). As a result, my work is focused on the development of language and its relationship to early literacy, specifically with reference to children from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and children with language-based learning difficulties. From a social interactionist theoretical framework in children’s language, I am currently addressing a number of lines of research in collaboration with other scholars and our own students here at Ryerson.

One current project that is nearing completion is entitled The Role of Discourse in Listening and Reading Comprehension among Children with Language Impairment (SSHRC). This project looks at oral language ability such as narrative and considers the role that it may play from kindergarten through grade 4 in children’s ability to understand text. This is an ongoing study in collaboration with Christiane Kyte (chief SLP, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board) and a team of undergraduate and graduate students in ECS. Another project that is underway is in collaboration with Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI) to develop a Nigerian model of play-based early learning, in collaboration with Patricia Falope (CEO, ECDI) and a team of students to travel to Abuja in the spring of 2016.

Research Interests:

Research interests:

  • Language development.
  • Literacy in the early years.
  • Cross-cultural early learning, language and literacy, bilingualism.

Research projects

  • Project:The role of discourse in listening and reading comprehension among children with language impairment
    • Funded by: SSHRC
    • Years: 2013-2016
  • Project: Play-based learning, language and literacy in Nigerian early learning (pilot)
    • Year: Spring, 2016
  • Project: Children’s book reviews (emerging area of research)
  • Project: Community-based research supporting children’s language and literacy (in development)

Current Courses:

  • CLD206: Language Development
  • CLD307: Cognitive Development
  • CLD314: Literacy in the Early Years
  • CS8938: Cross-cultural Development

Selected Publications:


  • Peets, K.F. (2013). Processes underlying typical and atypical language and literacy development: First and second language issues. In C.A. Stone, E.R. Silliman, B.J. Ehran & K. Appel (Eds.) Handbook of Language and Literacy: Development and Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Bialystok, E. & Peets, K.F. (2010). Bilingualism & cognitive linkages: Learning to read in different languages. In M. Shatz, & L. Wilkinson (Eds.) The Education of English Language Learners. New York: Guilford Press. 

 Journal articles:

  • Peets, K.F. & Bialystok, E. (2015). Academic discourse: Dissociating standardized and conversational measures of language proficiency in bilingual kindergarteners. Applied  Psycholinguistics.
  • Bialystok, E., Peets, K.F., & Moreno, S. (2014). Producing bilinguals through immersion education: Development of metalinguistic awareness. Applied Psycholinguistics.
  • Peets, K.F., & Tannock, R. (2011). Errors and self-correction in narrative distinguish ADHD from ADHD with language impairment. Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología (Speech and Language Therapy and Audiology), 31 (4), 227-235.
  • Bialystok, E., Luk, G., Peets, K.F. & Yang, S. (2010). Receptive vocabulary differences in monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.
  • Peets, K.F. & Bialystok, E. (2010). An Integrated approach to the study of SLI and bilingualism [Peer commentary on the journal article “The interface between bilingual development and specific language impairment”]. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31 (2), 314-319.
  • Peets, K.F. (2009). The effects of context on the classroom discourse skills of children with language impairment. Speech, Language, and Hearing Services in Schools 40, 5-16.
  • Peets, K.F. (2009). Profiles of classroom discourse performance among children with language impairment. Journal of Communication Disorders 42(2), 136- 154.
  • Humphries, T., Oram, J., Worling, D., & Peets, K. (2004) Narrative comprehension and retelling abilities of children with nonverbal learning disability. Brain and Cognition, 56, 77-88.

Position Currently Held:

Associate Professor

Creative Activity
Awards and Honours

Contact details

Office details

  • Office location: KHS 350-D, Kerr Hall South
  • Appointment preference: Email for an appointment.