• Ph.D. 2016 – University of Maryland, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
  • B.A. 2010 – Kenyon College, Psychology

Areas of Expertise

  • Human Development
  • Language and Literacy Development
  • Parenting
  • Early Childhood


Kathryn Leech specializes in children’s language and literacy development during early childhood. She takes an interdisciplinary view on this topic and collaborates with individuals affiliated with Developmental Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech and Hearing Sciences. Before joining the UNC School of Education, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Boston University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Kathryn Leech’s research examines early childhood language and literacy development, with a specific focus on how children’s social interaction with caregivers supports these skills. Her research takes place in multiple contexts (e.g., mealtimes, book reading, museums, childcare settings) and includes mother-child and father-child interactions in families from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Her research is published in outlets such as Developmental Psychology, Developmental Science, and Journal of Child Language.