Diana Leyva

Department web site

Lab web site

Diana Leyva

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

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).

Leyva, D., Von Suchodoletz, A., Doering, E., Shroff, D., Hinojo, A., & Kartner, J. (2021). Maternal book-sharing styles and goals and children’s verbal contributions in three communities. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54, 228-238.

Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., & Febles, A. (2021). A Strengths-Based, Culturally Responsive Family Intervention Improves Latino Kindergarteners’ Vocabulary and Approaches to Learning. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-349). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University.

Leyva, D., Molina, D.C., Suárez, C., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., & Yoshikawa, H. (2021). Mother-child reminiscing and first-graders’ emotion competence in a low-income and ethnically diverse sample.Journal of Cognition and Development, 22(1).

Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., & Febles, A. (2021). A strengths-based, culturally responsive family intervention improves latino kindergarteners’ vocabulary and approaches to learning. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-349). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University.

Leyva, D., Reese, E., Laible, D., Schaughency, E., Das, S., & Clifford, A. (2019). The art of elaboration: Differential links of parents’ elaboration to children’s autobiographical memory and socioemotional skills. Journal of Cognition and Development.

Kim, J., Armstrong, C., Burkhauser, M., Mesite, L., & Leyva, D. (2019). Using a Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) to Develop an Adaptive K–2 Literacy Intervention With Personalized Print Texts and App-Based Digital Activities. AERA Open, 5, 1-18.

Wei, R., Ronfard, S., Leyva, D., & Rowe, M. (2019). Teaching a novel word: Parenting styles and toddlers’ word learning. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Leyva, D., Tamis-LeMonda, C., & Yoshikawa, H. (2019). What parents bring to the table: Maternal behaviors in a grocery game and first graders’ literacy and math skills in a low-income sample. The Elementary School Journal, 119, 629-650.

Leyva, D. (2019). How do low-income Chilean parents support their preschoolers’ writing and math skills in a grocery game? Early Education and Development, 30, 114-130.

Nieto, A., Leyva, D., & Yoshikawa, H. (2018). Sharing is reading: Guatemalan Mayan book-sharing styles and their relation to parents’ schooling and children’s narrative contribution. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 47, 405-417

Leyva, D., Davis, A., & Skorb, L. (2018). Math intervention for Latino parents and kindergarteners based on food routines. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 2541-2551.

Leyva, D., & Skorb, L. (2017). Food For Thought: Family food routines and literacy in Latino kindergarteners. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 52, 80-90.

Leyva, D., Tamis-LeMonda, C., Yoshikawa, H., Jimenez-Robbins, C., & Malachowski, L. (2017). Grocery games: How ethnically diverse low-income mothers support children’s mathematics and literacy. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 40, 63-76.

Leyva, D., & Smith, M. (2016). Beyond book reading: Narrative participation styles in family reminiscing predict children’s print-related literacy in low-income Chilean families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 37, 175-185.

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


Diana Leyva is featured in Child Trend News. There is a Spanish and an English version of the news and a link to a 10-min interview about her research “Grocery store math and reading add up!”

July 2019


Diana Leyva blogs for the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) on “ECD implementation insights: Will this program work here? Assessing Feasibility”

October 4, 2018


Diana Leyva is featured in a local newspaper in Dunedin, New Zealand about her research “Grocery games”

March 7, 2018


Diana Leyva is awarded a 3-year grant from the Brady Education Foundation to examine the effectiveness of the “Food For Thought” program, a family program designed by Dr. Leyva for Latinx families based on food routines.

February 2018


Diana Leyva is featured in a local public television program in Colombia on “La importancia de la familia en el desarrollo de los niños” [The importance of families in the development of children]

September 2017