Faculty of Education

Queen's University
Search Type

FACULTY OF

Education

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John Kirby

B.A. (McGill), Ph.D. (Alberta)

Professor Emeritus of Psychology of Education, Graduate Faculty
Cross-Appointed to Psychology and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Room: A220
Phone: 613-533-6000 x 77231
Email: kirbyj@queensu.ca

Research Interests
  • Cognitive processes in reading
  • Learning disabilities
  • Spatial cognition
  • Educational psychology
Biography

Dr. John Kirby earned an Honours degree in Psychology at McGill University (1972) and a PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta (1976). He taught in Australia for eleven years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Newcastle. In 1987 he returned to Canada to Queen's University where he is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education, cross-appointed to the Department of Psychology, and a member of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies. He is a member of the Cognitive Studies group and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Kirby's research concerns the applications of cognitive psychology to educational issues and has three major thrusts:

  • Cognitive processes underlying successful reading. Processes such as phonological awareness, naming speed, orthographic processing, and morphological awareness are examined in learning to read. Other research concerns reading to learn, addressing comprehension processes and instructional conditions. This research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and has involved numerous graduate students.
  • Conceptions of learning. This research explores students' and workers' understanding of learning, for instance with regard to deep and surface learning, lifelong learning, and self-regulated learning, and the effects these conceptions have on the quality of learning in school and the workplace. Current topics include continuing professional education, and the use of information technology in learning.
  • Spatial cognition. This research investigates how students learn to use and think about maps, graphs and three-dimensional visual displays.

Dr. Kirby teaches in the Educational Psychology/Cognitive Studies area. At the graduate level, his courses include Cognitive Studies, Psychological Foundations of Learning, Psychology of Reading and Psychology of Learning Disabilities, as well as Quantitative Research Methods. He advises and supervises students at both the Master's and Doctoral levels. His students have a strong record of completion and success, and have won thesis prizes. At the undergraduate level he teaches Psychological Processes of Reading, and Psychology of Learning Problems.

In the Faculty of Education, Dr. Kirby has served as Chair of Faculty Board, Coordinator of Graduate Studies and Research, Coordinator of the Educational Psychology/Cognitive Studies group, and Coordinator of the Literacy Centre. He is a former President of the Canadian Association for Education Psychology.

Professional Activities

Member of editorial boards for:

  • Educational Research Review
  • Journal of Research in Reading
  • Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Learning and Instruction
  • Reading Psychology
  • Reading Research Quarterly
  • Scientific Studies of Reading
Research Grants (Selected)

Kirby, J. R. (2010-2011). Breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension. Faculty of Education, Queen’s University.

Martinussen, R. Wiener, J, & Kirby, J. R. (2009-2012). Promoting listening and reading comprehension in students with ADHD. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Wade-Woolley, L., Wood, C. & Kirby, J. R. (2009-2012). The role of speech rhythm in reading development. 2009-2012. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Kirby, J. R., Deacon, S. H. & Bowers, P. (2007-2008). Morphological awareness in literacy development. Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.

Desrochers, A. & Kirby, J. R. (2007-2010). The development of French word morphology knowledge and its relation to reading. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Desrochers, A. & Kirby, J. R. (2007-2009). Longitudinal prediction of French reading development. Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.

Cheng, L., Kirby, J. R. & Wade-Woolley, L. (2007-2008). Second language immersion and students’ academic success. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada.

Kirby, J. R., Deacon, H., Parrila, R. & Wade-Woolley, L. (2004-2007). Beyond the double deficit: The roles of orthographic and morphological processing in reading and spelling. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Kirby, J. R., Parrila, R. K & Wade-Woolley, L. (2003-2004). Orthographic processing and the double deficit hypothesis. Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (Centre of Excellence).

Parrila, R., Kirby, J. R. & Wade-Woolley, L. (2002-2005). Compensated adult dyslexics: Deficits and compensatory mechanisms. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Kirby, J. R., Wade-Woolley, L. & Parrila, R. K. (2001-2004). The development, prediction, and remediation of subtypes of reading disorders. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Wade-Woolley, L. & Kirby, J. R. (2000-2003). Development of English language skills in early French immersion: Accounting for individual differences. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Publications

Al Dahhan, N. Z., Kirby, J. R., & Munoz, D. P. (in press). Understanding reading and reading difficulties: Bridging the gaps between neuroscience, cognition, and education. AERA Open.

Kirby, J. R. & Bowers, P. N. (in press). Morphological instruction and literacy:  Binding phonological, orthographic, and semantic features of words. In K. Cain, D. Compton, & R. Parrila, (Eds.), Theories of reading development. Amsterdam, NL: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Al Dahhan, N. Z., Kirby, J. R., Brien, D. C. & Munoz, D. P. (in press). Eye movements and pause/articulation times during a letter naming speed task: Children with and without dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities

Kirby, J. R. & Bowers, P. N. (in press). The effects of morphological instruction on vocabulary learning, reading, and spelling. In R. Berthiaume, D. Daigle, & A. Desrochers (Eds.), Issues in Morphological Processing. Routledge.

van Zon, L,. Kirby, J. R., & Anderson, N. D. (2016). The efficacy of a volunteer-administered cognitive stimulation program in long-term care homes. International Psychogeriatrics, 28, 995-1004.

Kwiatkowska-White, B., Kirby, J. R., & Lee, E. (2016). A longitudinal study of reading comprehension achievement from grades 3 to 10: Investigating stability, cumulative and compensatory models. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 34, 153 –165.

Simper, N., Reeve, R. & Kirby, J. R. (2016). Effects of concept mapping on creativity in photo stories. Creativity Research Journal, 28, 46–51.

Al Dahhan, N. Z., Brien, D. C., Kirby, J. R., & Munoz, D. P. (2015). Saccadic eye movements and neural correlates involved during letter and object naming speed tasks. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 8 (1), 87. (European Conference on Eye Movements Meeting Abstract).

Al Dahhan, N., Georgiou, G., K., Hung, R., Munoz, D., Parrila, R., & Kirby, J. R. (2014). Eye-movements of university students with and without reading difficulties during naming speed tasks. Annals of Dyslexia, 64, 137–150.

Li, M. & Kirby, J. R. (2015). The effects of vocabulary breadth and depth on second language reading. Applied Linguistics, 36, 611-634.

Papadopoulos, T. C., Parrila, R. K., & Kirby, J. R. (Eds.) (2014). Cognition, intelligence, and achievement: A tribute to J. P. Das. Elsevier.

Kirby, J. R., Kim, H.-J., & Silvestri, R. (2014). Cognitive constructs and individual differences underlying AD/HD and dyslexia: A Cognitive Mosaic approach. In T. C. Papadopoulos, R.  K. Parrila, & J. R. Kirby (Eds.), Cognition, Intelligence, and Achievement: A Tribute to J. P. Das. New York: Academic Press.

Li, M. & Kirby, J. R. (2014). Unexpected poor comprehenders among adolescent ESL students. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18, 75-93.

Papadopoulos, T. C., Parrila, R. K. & Kirby, J. R. (2014). Introduction to cognition, intelligence, and achievement. In T. C. Papadopoulos, R.  K. Parrila, & J. R. Kirby (Eds.), Cognition, Intelligence, and Achievement: A Tribute to J. P. Das. New York: Academic Press.

Papadopoulos, T. C., Parrila, R. K. & Kirby, J. R. (2014). Retrospect and prospect. In T. C. Papadopoulos, R.  K. Parrila, & J. R. Kirby (Eds.), Cognition, Intelligence, and Achievement: A Tribute to J. P. Das. New York: Academic Press.

Steacy, L. M., Kirby, J. R., Parrila, R. & Compton, D. L. (2014). Classification of Double Deficit groups across time: An analysis of group stability from Kindergarten to second grade. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18, 255-273.

Al Dahhan, N., Brien, D. C., Kirby, J. R., & Munoz, D. P. (2012). Saccadic eye movements in young adults performing a letter naming speed task and reading (abstract). Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 290.

Lawson, M. J. & Kirby, J. R. (2012). Introduction. In J. R. Kirby & M. J. Lawson (Eds.), Enhancing the quality of learning: Dispositions, instruction, and learning processes. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kirby, J. R. & Lawson, M. J. (2012). Future directions. In J. R. Kirby & M. J. Lawson (Eds.), Enhancing the quality of learning: Dispositions, instruction, and learning processes. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kirby, J. R. & Lawson, M. J. (Eds.) (2012). Enhancing the quality of learning: Dispositions, instruction, and learning processes. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Li, M. & Kirby, J. R. (2012). Breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge in second language reading. In Avery, J. S. & Stewart, M. H. (Eds.), Language learning: New research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Publishers.

Kirby, J. R. & Bowers, P. N. (2012). Morphology works: Research into practice. What Works: Research into Practice. Research Monograph #41. Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, Ontario. www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/WW_Morphology.pdf

Kirby, J. R., Deacon, S. H., Bowers, P. N., Izenberg, L., Wade-Woolley, L., Parrila, R. (2012). Children’s morphological awareness and reading ability. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25, 389-410.

Li, M., Kirby, J. R., Cheng, L., Wade-Woolley, L., & Qiang, H. (2012). Cognitive predictors of English reading achievement in Chinese English-immersion students. Reading Psychology, 33, 423-447.

Georgiou, G. K., Parrila, R., Manolitsis, G., & Kirby, J. R. (2011). Examining the importance of assessing Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) speed for the identification of children with reading disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 9, 45-66.

Li, M., Kirby, J. R., & Georgiou, G. (2011). RAN components and reading comprehension in bilingual children. Journal of Research in Reading, 34, 6-22.

Deacon, S. H., Whalen, R. & Kirby, J. R. (2011). Do children see the danger in dangerous? Grade 4, 6, and 8 children’s reading of morphologically complex words. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32, 467-481.

Kirby, J. R., Ball, A., Geier, B. K., Parrila, R., & Wade-Woolley, L. (2011). The development of reading interest and its relation to reading ability. Journal of Research in Reading, 34, 263-280.

Tong, X., Deacon, S. H., Kirby, J. R., Cain, K. & Parrila, R. (2011). Morphological awareness: A key to understanding poor reading comprehension in English. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 523-534.

Kirby, J. R., Georgiou, G. K., Martinussen, R., & Parrila, R. (2010). Naming speed and reading: From prediction to instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45, 341–362.

Kirby, J. R., Knapper, C., Lamon, P., & Egnatoff, W. J. (2010). Development of a scale to measure lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 29, 291-302.

Bowers, P. N., Kirby, J. R., & Deacon, S. H. (2010). The effects of morphological instruction on literacy skills: A systematic review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 80, 144-179.

Deacon, S. H., Campbell, E., Tamminga, M., & Kirby, J. R. (2010). Seeing the harm in harmed and harmful: Morphological processing by children in grades 4, 6, and 8. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31, 759-775.

Bowers, P. N. & Kirby, J. R. (2010). Effects of morphological instruction on vocabulary acquisition. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 23, 515–537.

Georgiou, G. K., Parrila, R., & Kirby, J. R. (2009). RAN components and reading development from grade 3 to grade 5: What underlies their relationship? Scientific Studies of Reading, 13, 508-534.

Kirby, J. R. (2009). Not learning to read: Diversity among children with reading difficulties. In J. Lupart, A. McKeough, M. Porath, L. Phillips & V. Timmons (Eds.), The challenges of student diversity in Canadian schools: Essays on building a better future for exceptional children. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Deacon, S. H., Wade-Woolley, L. & Kirby, J. R. (2009). Flexibility in young second-language learners: examining the language specificity of orthographic processing. Journal of Research in Reading, 32, 215-229.

Roman, A. A., Kirby, J. R., Parrila, R., Wade-Woolley, L. & Deacon, S. H. (2009). Towards a comprehensive view of the skills involved in word reading in Grades 4, 6, and 8. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 102, 96-113.

Deacon, S. H., Parrila, R. & Kirby, J. R. (2008). A review of the evidence on morphological processing in dyslexics and poor readers: A strength or weakness? In G. Reid, A. Fawcett, F. Manis, & L. Siegel (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Dyslexia (pp. 212-237). UK: Sage Publications.

Kirby, J. R. & Hogan, B. (2008). Family literacy environment and early literacy development. Exceptionality Education Canada, 18, 112-130.

Georgiou, G. K., Parrila, R., Kirby, J. R., & Stephenson, K. (2008). Rapid naming components and their relationship with phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, speed of processing, and different reading outcomes. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12, 325-350.

Desrochers, A., Kirby, J. R., & Thompson, G. (2008). Le développement de la lecture orale chez l’enfant. Canadian Psychology, 49, 111-117.

Kirby, J. R. & Savage, R. S. (2008). Can the Simple View deal with the complexities of reading? Literacy, 42, 75-82.

Kirby, J. R., Desrochers, A., Roth, L., & Lai, S. S. Y. (2008). Longitudinal predictors of word reading development. Canadian Psychology, 49, 103-110.

Stephenson, K. A., Parrila, R. K., Georgiou, G. K., & Kirby, J. R. (2008). Effects of home literacy, parents’ beliefs, and children’s task-focused behaviour on emergent literacy and word reading skills. Scientific Studies of Reading, 12, 24-50..

Kirby, J. R. (2008). Mental representations, cognitive strategies, and individual differences in learning with animation. In R. Lowe and W. Schnotz (Eds.), Learning with animation: Research implications for design. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kirby, J. R., Silvestri, R., Allingham, B., Parrila, R. & La Fave, C. B. (2008). Learning strategies and study approaches of college and university students with dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, 85-96

Kirby, J. R. (2007). Reading comprehension: Its nature and development. In Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development. Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.

Kirby, J. R. (2007). Higher education students with reading and writing difficulties. Exceptionality Education Canada, 17, 129-134.

David, D., Wade-Woolley, L., Kirby, J. R. & Smithrim, K. (2007). Rhythm and reading development in school-age children: A longitudinal study. Journal of Research in Reading, 30, 169-183.

Deacon, S. H., Wade-Woolley, L. & Kirby, J. R. (2007). Cross-over: The role of morphological awareness in French immersion children's reading. Developmental Psychology, 43, 732-746.

Deacon, S. H., Parrila, R., & Kirby, J. R. (2006). Processing of derived forms in high-functioning dyslexics. Annals of Dyslexia, 56, 103-128.

Johnston, T. C. & Kirby, J. R. (2006). The contribution of naming speed to the simple view of reading. Reading and Writing, 19, 339-361.

Georgiou, G. K., Parrila, R. & Kirby, J. R. (2006). Rapid naming speed components and early reading acquisition. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10, 199-220.

Parrila, R. K., Aunola, K., Leskinen, E., Nurmi, J. E. & Kirby, J. R. (2005). Development of individual differences in reading: Results from longitudinal studies in English and Finnish. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 299-319.

MacCoubrey, S. J., Wade-Woolley, L., Klinger, D. & Kirby, J. R. (2004). Early identification of at-risk readers in a second language. Canadian Modern Language Review, 61, 11-28.

Delva, M. D., Kirby, J. R., Schultz, K. & Godwin, M. (2004). Assessing the relationship of learning approaches to workplace climate in clerkship and residency. Academic Medicine, 79, 1120-1126.

Schultz, K. W., Kirby, J. R., Delva, D., Godwin, M., Verma, S., Birwhistle, R. & Knapper, C. (2004). Medical students' and residents' preferred site characteristics and preceptor behaviours for learning in the ambulatory setting: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Medical Education, 4:12. (available at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/4/12)

Deacon, S. H. & Kirby, J.R. (2004). Morphological: Is it more than phonological? Evaluating the roles of morphological and phonological awareness in reading development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 223-238.

Parrila, R., Kirby, J. R. & McQuarrie, L. (2004). Articulation rate, naming speed, verbal short-term memory, and phonological awareness: Longitudinal predictors of early reading development. Scientific Studies of Reading, 8, 3-26.

Evans, C. J., Kirby, J. R. & Fabrigar, L. R. (2003). Approaches to learning, need for cognition, and strategic flexibility among university students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73. 507-528.

Kirby, J. R., Parrila, R. & Pfeiffer, S. (2003). Naming speed and phonological processing as predictors of reading development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 453-464.

Kirby, J. R., Knapper, C. K., Evans, C. J., Carty, A. E. & Gadula, C. (2003). Approaches to learning at work and workplace climate. International Journal for Training and Development, 7, 31-52.

Kirby, J. R., Delva, M. D., Knapper, C. K. & Birtwhistle, R. V. (2003). Development of the Approaches to Work and Workplace Climate Questionnaires for Physicians. Evaluation and the Health Professions, 26, 104-121.

Papadopoulos, T. C., Das, J. P., Parrila, R. K. & Kirby, J. R. (2003). Children at-risk for developing reading difficulties: A remediation study. School Psychology International, 24, 340-366.

Delva, M. D., Kirby, J. R., Knapper, C. K. & Birtwhistle, R. V. (2002). Postal survey of approaches to learning among Ontario physicians: Implications for continuing medical education. British Medical Journal, 325, 1218-1222.

Kirby, J. R., Knapper, C. K., Maki, S. A., Egnatoff, W. J. & Van Melle, E. (2002). Computers and students' conceptions of learning: the transition from post-secondary education to the workplace. Educational Technology and Society, 5, 47-53.

Parrila, R. & Kirby, J. R. (2002). Modeling growth in word reading: Using HML to analyse individual differences both in the pattern of growth and performance levels. In X. Ma and L. Hayduk (Eds.), Structural Equation Modeling and Hierarchical Linear Modeling: Communicating Across Fields (pp. 115-137). Edmonton, AB: Population Research Laboratory.

Carson, L., Kirby, J. R. & Hutchinson, N. L. (2000). Phonological processing, family support, and academic self-concept as predictors of early reading. Canadian Journal of Education, 25, 310-327.

Delva, M. D., Woodhouse, R. A., Hains, S., Birtwhistle, R. V., Knapper, C. & Kirby, J. R. (2000). Does PBL matter? Relations between instructional context, learning strategies, and learning outcomes. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 5(3), 167-177.

Hadwin, A. F., Kirby, J. R., & Woodhouse, R. A. (1999). Notetaking and summarization: Individual differences and recall of lecture material. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 45, 1-17.

Kirby, J. R. & Boulter, D. R. (1999). Spatial ability and transformational geometry. European Journal of Psychology in Education, 14, 283-294.

Kirby, J. R. & Parrila, R. K. (1999). Theory-based prediction of early reading. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 45, 428-447.

Kirby, J. R. & Parrila, R. K. (1998). What shapes Canadian children? Canadian Journal of Education, 23, 209-215.

Martinussen, R., Kirby, J. R., & Das, J. P. (1998). Instruction in successive and phonological processing to improve the reading acquisition skills of kindergarten children. Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, 26(2), 19-39.

Nagy, P. N. & Kirby, J. R. (1998). Achievement and its correlates. In G. Orpwood (Ed.), Ontario in TIMSS. Toronto: Education Quality and Accountability Office.

Kirby, J. R. (1997). Measuring environment: Meaningful differences in language experience. Canadian Journal of Education, 22, 323-329.

Boden, C. & Kirby, J. R. (1995). Successive processing, phonological coding, and the remediation of reading. Journal of Cognitive Education, 4(2&3), 19-32.

Lanca, M. & Kirby, J. R. (1995). The benefits of verbal and spatial tasks in contour map learning. Cartographic Perspectives, #21, 3-15.

Kirby, J. R. (1995). Intelligence and social policy. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 41, 322-334.

Kirby, J. R., Booth, C. A., & Das, J. P. (1995). Cognitive processes and IQ in reading disability. Journal of Special Education, 29, 442-456.

Kirby, J. R. (1994). Comprehending and using maps: Are there two modes of map processing? W. Schnotz & R. Kulhavy (Eds.), Comprehension of graphics (pp. 63-76). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers.

Kirby, J. R. & Woodhouse, R. A. (1994). Measuring and predicting depth of processing in learning. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 40, 147-161.

Schofield, N. J. & Kirby, J. R. (1994). Position location on a topographical map: Effects of abilities, preferences, and instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 12, 35-60.

Kirby, J. R. (1993). Collaborative and competitive effects of verbal and spatial processes. Learning and Instruction, 3, 201-214.

Das, J. P., Mishra, R. K., & Kirby, J. R. (1993). Cognitive patterns of children with dyslexia: A comparison between groups with high and average nonverbal intelligence. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 235-242, 253.

Das, J. P., Naglieri, J. & Kirby, J. R. (1993). Assessment of cognitive processes: The PASS theory of intelligence. New York: Allyn and Bacon. [1999, Chinese translation; Shanghai: East China Normal University Press]

Stein, B. L. & Kirby, J. R. (1992). The effects of text absent and text present conditions on summarization and recall of text. Journal of Reading Behavior, 24, 217-232.

Kirby, J. R. & Williams, N. H. (1991). Learning problems: A cognitive approach. Toronto, Ontario: Kagan and Woo. [2011, Japanese translation; Tokyo, Japan: The English Agency (Japan) Ltd]