Paola Pilonieta

Paola Pilonieta

Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Undergraduate Reading Program
Reading and Elementary Education


Born in Bogota, Colombia, Paola Pilonieta moved to Miami, Florida with her family when she was 6 years old. Her experiences as a Multilingual Learner and her parents’ acclimation to a new education system continue to inspire her research agenda. Dr. Pilonieta attended the University of Miami for her entire educational career. She received her B.A. in elementary education and French, her Master’s in Reading and Learning Disabilities, and her Ph.D. in Reading. Along the way, Dr. Pilonieta taught first grade for five years in an urban Catholic school. Currently she is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in reading methods and is current teaching her courses at Niner University Elementary, the university’s lab school. Dr. Pilonieta has served as co-editor of Literacy Research and Instruction (2016-2019), is actively involved in the Literacy Research Association, and was chosen as a UNC System Literacy Fellow (2020).


Ph.D. – 2006 University of Miami Reading
M.S. – 2002 University of Miami Reading and Learning Disabilities
B.A. – 1998 University of Miami Elementary Education and French


Teaching Foundational Literacy Skills
Applied Literacy and Practices
Essentials of Literacy Instruction
Methods for Literacy

Research Interests/Areas of Expertise

Comprehension of primary grade learners
Reading strategies for children from diverse backgrounds, particularly Multilingual Learners
Early literacy
Preservice and Inservice teacher education Science of Reading

Awards & Honors

Educational Testing Service Visiting Scholar
Bank of America Faculty Fellowship in Early Reading and Child Development
The Ann Colbert Memorial Award


Dr. Pilonieta provides professional development in literacy to a variety of organizations.

Selected Publications

Pilonieta, P., & Hathaway, J. I. (in press). Kindergarteners’ engagement in academic
conversations. Early Childhood Education Journal.
Medina, A. L., Hancock, S. D., Hathaway, J. I., Pilonieta, P. & Holshouser, K. O. (2021) The
influence of sustained, school-based professional development on explicit reading
comprehension strategy instruction. Reading Psychology, 42(8), 807-835.
Pilonieta, P., Hathaway, J. I., & Casto, A. (2020). Kindergarteners strategic talk during partner reading. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 36(5), 397-417. Pilonieta, P., Hathaway, J. I., Medina, A. L., & Casto, A. (2019). The impact of explicit
comprehension strategy instruction on first and second graders at risk students. Journal of Education, 199(3), 128-141. Beach, K. D., McIntyre E., Philippakos, Z. A., Mraz, M., Pilonieta, P., Vintinner, J. (2018).
Effects of a summer reading intervention on reading skills for low-income Black and
Hispanic students in elementary school. Reading and Writing Quarterly: Overcoming
Learning Difficulties, 34(3), 263-280.
Medina, A. L., Hathaway, J. I., & Pilonieta, P. (2015). How preservice teachers’ study abroad
experiences lead to changes in perceptions of English Language Learners. Frontiers: The
Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, (25), 73-90.
Pilonieta, P., Shue, P., & Kissel, B. (2014). Reading books, writing books: Bringing reading
and writing together in a dual language pre-k classroom. Young Children, 69(3), 14-21.
Williams, C., & Pilonieta, P. (2012). Using interactive writing instruction with kindergarten
and first grade English Language Learners. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(3),
Pilonieta, P., & Medina, A. (2009). Reciprocal teaching in the primary grades: “We can do it,
too!”. The Reading Teacher, 63(2), 120-129. Featured as a top article in the Reading Rockets Website