Margaret McKeown

Senior Scientist, Professor Emerita, Learning Research & Development Center


Education and Training

PhD, Education, University of Pittsburgh, 1983

Research Interests

  • The acquisition of vocabulary in school-age children, its relation to general verbal functioning, and instructional strategies for enhancing verbal functioning through vocabulary development.
  • The effects of learner and text characteristics on learning in verbal domains.
  • Instructional design and teacher professional development based on principles of cognitive theory and research.

Recent Publications

McKeown, M. G. (2019). Effective vocabulary instruction fosters knowing words, using words, and understanding how words work. Language Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 50, 466–476.

McKeown, M., Crosson, A.C., Moore, D. & Beck, I. (2018). Word knowledge and comprehension effects of an academic vocabulary intervention for middle school students. American Educational Research, 55(3), 572-616.

McKeown, M. G., Deane, P. D., Scott, J. A., Krovetz, R, & Lawless, R. R. (2017). Vocabulary assessment to support instruction: Building rich word-learning experiences. New York: Guilford Press.

Rimbey, M., McKeown, M., Beck, I., & Sandora, C. (2016). Supporting teachers to implement contextualized and interactive practices in vocabulary instruction. Journal of Education, 196(2), 69-87.

Crosson, A.C., & McKeown, M. G. (2016) Middle school learners’ use of Latin roots to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words. Cognition and Instruction, 34(2), 1-24.

News and Awards

Margaret McKeown, Senior Scientist, Professor Emerita was interviewd on the podcast, Empowering LLs (Language Learners), about robust vocabulary instruction and on the Education Research Reading Room podcast discussing her book Questions the Author.

November 2020


Very exciting news about Bringing Words to Life, by Moddy McKeown, Clinical Professor, Department of Instruction and Learning, School of Education, Isabel Beck, LRDC Senior Scientist and Professor Emerita, and Linda Kucan, School of Education. The Guardian, the world's third largest newspaper website, ran an article on the "ten books every teacher should read," and Bringing Words to Life was one of them!

August 15, 2018


Presented annual Jeanne Chall Lecture at Harvard Graduate School of Education 2017.

October 2017


Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan (2002; 2013) was listed by The Guardian, the world's third largest newspaper website, as one of the "ten books every teacher should read."

August 2017


Vocabulary Assessment to Support Instruction: Building Rich Word-learning Experiences is now available from Guilford Press

July 2017