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Diane Beals, EdD

Diane Beals, EdD
Department Chair of Educational Studies
Associate Professor of Educational Studies
College of Arts & Sciences
918-631-2045 Chapman Hall Room 320


MEd – University of Washington EdD – Harvard University BA – Seattle Pacific University


Diane Beals conducts research on the links between language and literacy development in young children. She has worked with Drs. Catherine Snow and David Dickinson on the Home-School Study since 1989, during her doctoral studies at Harvard. Her research on the project has focused largely on the use of narrative and explanation in family mealtime conversations, beginning with her dissertation, completed in 1991, titled 'I know who makes ice cream': Explanations in Mealtime Conversations of Low-Income Families of Preschoolers. Since she has continued her research on the development of children's ability to use different genres of discourse. In collaboration with Dr. Patton Tabors, she has expanded this work to examine the informativeness of the use of rare vocabulary (words preschoolers would not be expected to know) within these discourse genres and situations. She is currently an associate professor and Director of the School of Education at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has also served as a member of the New Standards Speaking and Listening Committee of the National Center for Education and the Economy, which developed Speaking and Listening for Preschool through Third Grade, a multimedia publication that addresses the language foundations of early literacy.

Research Interests

Children’s language and cognitive development: Research examines everyday contexts in which children hear new words and the ways that the conversational structure allows children to make connections between these words and their meanings

Teaching Interests

Courses on language acquisition; literacy development; discourse analysis; research methods in language acquisition; developmental psychology; mind and language; psychology of reading; education, childhood and society


  • New Standards Speaking and Listening Committee. (2001). Speaking and Listening for Preschool through Third Grade. Washington, DC: National Center on Education and the Economy. Member of the Committee.

  • Sheldon H. White and Diane E. Beals. (1990). What New Research Says About the Developmental Patterns and Needs of Young Children. In Council of Chief State School Officers (Eds.) Early childhood and family education: Analysis and recommendations (pp. 41-61). Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

  • David K. Dickinson and Diane E. Beals. (1994). Not by Print Alone: Oral Language Supports for Early Literacy Development. In D.F. Lancy (Ed.) Children’s Emergent Literacy. Westport, CT: Praeger.

  • Diane E. Beals, Jeanne M. De Temple, and David Dickinson. (1994). Talking and Listening that Support Early Literacy Development of Children from Low-Income Families. In D. Dickinson (Ed.) Bridges to Literacy: Approaches to Supporting Child and Family Literacy (pp. 30-40). Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell.

  • Diane E. Beals & Joan Test. (1996). Introduction for Catherine E. Snow (Author) Reading Books with Children: Enough Preparation for Academic Success? First Maya Zuck Lecture in Early Childhood Education. St. Louis: Washington University. (also served as co-editor of this publication)

  • Patton Tabors and Diane E. Beals, and Zehava Weitzman. (2001). ‘You Know What Oxygen Is?’: Learning New Words At Home. In D. Dickinson & P. Tabors (Eds.) Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School (pp. 93-110). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

  • Diane E. Beals. (2000). Introduction for Lillian G. Katz (Author) Balancing Constructionism and Instructionism in the Early Childhood Curriculum. Second Maya Zuck Lecture in Early Childhood Education. St. Louis: Washington University.

  • Diane E. Beals. (2001). Eating and Reading: Links Between Family Conversations with Preschoolers and Later Language and Literacy. In D. Dickinson & P. Tabors (Eds.) Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School (pp. 75-92). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

  • Catherine E. Snow and Diane E. Beals. (2006). Mealtime Talk that Supports Literacy Development. In A. Wiley, R. Larson, & K. Branscomb (Ed.). New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  • Diane E. Beals and Catherine E. Snow. (2002). Deciding What to Tell: Selecting and Elaborating Narrative Topics in Family Interaction and Children’s Elicited Personal Experience Stories. In S. Blum-Kulka & C. Snow (Eds.) Talking to Adults: The Contribution of Multi-Party Discourse to Language Acquisition (pp. 15-32). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1994). Book review: Explanation and Interaction: The Computer Generation of Explanatory Dialogues (1992), by Alison Cawsey. Applied Psycholinguistics, 15(4), 575-576.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1998). Book review: The Contextual Self in Context: Culture, Experiences, Self-Understanding (1997), edited by Ulric Neisser and David A. Jopling. Philosophical Psychology, 11(4), 546-548.

  • Diane E. Beals. (2000). Book review: Vygotsky and Cognitive Science: Language and the Unification of the Social and Computational Mind, (1997), by William Frawley. Applied Psycholinguistics, 21(3), 425-427.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1999). Book review: Pretend Play as Improvisation: Conversation in the Preschool Classroom (1997), by R. Keith Sawyer. Child Development Abstracts and Bibliography, 73(1), 88-89.

  • Diane E. Beals (2002). Book review: The CHILDES Project: Tools for Analyzing Talk. Vol. 1: Transcription Format and Programs. & Vol. 2: The Database, Third Edition, (2000), by Brian MacWhinney. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23(2).

  • Diane E. Beals (2002). Book review: Children’s Language: Developing Narrative and Discourse Competence, edited by Keith E. Nelson, Ayhan Aksu-Koc, & Carolyn E. Johnson. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23(3).

  • Diane E. Beals. (1989). A Practical Guide For Estimating Readability. Teaching Exceptional Children, 21(3), 24-27.

  • Jeanne M. De Temple and Diane E. Beals. (1991). Family Talk: Sources of Support for the Development of Decontextualized Language Skills. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 6(1), 11-19.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1991). Stories From the Classroom: Rate of Response to Personal Event Narratives in a Computer Network. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 13 (2), 31-38.

  • Katherine K. Merseth, Diane E. Beals, and Ada Beth Cutler. (1992). The Beginning Teacher Computer Network: Supporting New Teachers Electronically. Final Report to the Hitachi Foundation.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1991). Computer Mediated Communication Among Beginning Teachers. Technological Horizons in Education Journal, 18(9), 74-77.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1992). Computer Networks as a New Data Base. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 8(3), 337-355.

  • Diane E. Beals and Catherine E. Snow. (1994). “Thunder is When the Angels are Upstairs Bowling”: Narratives and Explanations at the Dinner Table. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 4 (4), 331-352.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1993). Explanations in Low-Income Families’ Mealtime Conversations. Applied Psycholinguistics, 14(4), 489-513.

  • Diane E. Beals and Jeanne M. De Temple. (1993). Home Contributions to Early Language and Literacy Development. In D. Leu & C. Kinzer (Eds.) Forty-second Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 207-215). Chicago: National Reading Conference.

  • Diane E. Beals and Patton O. Tabors. (1995). Arboretum, Bureaucratic, and Carbohydrates: Preschoolers’ Exposure to Rare Vocabulary at Home. First Language, 15, 57-76.

  • Timothy J. Lensmire and Diane E. Beals. (1994). Appropriating Others’ Words: Traces of Literature and Peer Culture in a Third-Grader’s Writing. Language in Society, 23(3), 411-426.

  • Diane E. Beals. (1998). Reappropriating Schema: Conceptions of Development from Bartlett and Bakhtin. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 5(1), 3-24.

  • Katherine K. Merseth and Diane E. Beals. (1991). The Beginning Teacher Computer Network: Supporting the Teaching Process. Connections, 8(1), 9-11.

  • Diane E. Beals. (2010). Reasoning and Explanatory Talk: Learning in Everyday Settings. In the International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd ed (Eds B. McGaw, & P. Peterson, E. Baker). pp. 464-46. Elsevier.

Courses Taught

  • Brain, Learning and Education

Professional Affiliations

  • National Even Start Association
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • American Educational Research Association
  • International Association for the Study of Child Language
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Center for Family Literacy/Family Literacy Alliance

Awards & Honors

  • Dissertation Year Fellowship, Alternate
  • Outstanding Faculty Member
  • Dissertation Year Fellowship
  • Pass with Distinction on Student Qualifying Paper
  • Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Faculty Member of the Year
  • Certificate of appreciation for Outstanding Service to the Publications Committee
  • Faculty Award to Improve Learning