Diana Leyva

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center



Education and Training

PhD, Clark University; Post-doctoral training, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Research Interests

I study authentic familial practices that support preschool children’s early language, literacy and math development in ethnically diverse communities and use that information to design, implement, and evaluate intervention programs for families in these communities. My research has identified two rarely studied familial practices that promote school readiness and are meaningful and culturally relevant for families from diverse ethnic backgrounds: food routines (e.g., grocery shopping, cooking, mealtimes) and oral narratives (e.g., reminiscing).

2nd Language Learning Community & Family-based Learning Computer-supported Collaboration Literacy Coaching Reading Processes Robotic Learning Environments Socio-cultural Factors

Related Research Areas

Developmental Processes and Outcomes Informal & Life-long Learning Reading & Language

Recent Publications

Leyva, D.,Yeomans-Maldonado, G., Weiland, C., & Shapiro, A. (2022). Latino kindergarteners' math growth, approaches to learning, and home numeracy practices. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., &  Febles, A. (2022). A strengths-based, culturally responsive family intervention improves latino kindergarteners’ vocabulary and approaches to learning. Child Development.  Online First. doi: 101111/cdev.13698

Leyva, D., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., Weiland, C., & Leech, K. (2022). Positive impacts of a strengths-based family program on Latino kindergarteners’ narrative language abilities. Developmental Psychology.

Hornburg, C, Leyva, D., & Purpura, D. (2021). New directions in measurement of the home mathematics environment: An international and interdisciplinary perspective. Journal of Numerical Cognition. 

Leyva, D., Libertus, M.E., & McGregor, R. (2021). Relations between subdomains of home math activities and corresponding math skills in 4-year-old children. Education Sciences, 11, 594-609. doi: 10.3390/edusci11100594.

Diana Leyva's Google Scholar profile

News and Awards

Diana Leyva was awarded a new, two-year, $178K grant by the Brady Education Foundation for "Recipe for Success (RFS): Improving Literacy and Diet in Latino Preschoolers Through Peer Support." The Co-PIs are Sharon Ross at the School of Education and Patricia Documet at the School of Public Health.

January 30, 2023

Diana Leyva was recently awarded William Penn Foundation grant to work in Philadelphia during 2022-2023. Leyva will pilot “Literacy Eats” an intervention that promotes children’s literacy through cooking classes with adult caregivers.

August 29, 2022

How Getting Kids to Make Grocery Lists and Set the Table Can Improve Their Vocabulary and Willingness to Learn. Diana Leyva, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and LRDC Research Scientist, was featured in The Conversation.

November 16, 2021


Kudos to Diana Leyva, Associate Professor, Psychology, and Melissa Libertus, Associate Professor, Psychology for receiving an LRDC 2020 internal grant for their research on “Personalizing Family Routines to Support Three-Year-Olds’ Math Skills.”

May 15, 2020

Diana Leyva is featured in Fox43 for her research on “Learning math and reading at the store!”

July 25, 2019


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(412) 624-7068

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