Sarah Eason, PhD

Research Interests

Family engagement in early learning; parent-child interactions; mathematics in early childhood; social influences on cognitive development and attitudes towards learning; informal learning environments


I joined the faculty in Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue in 2019. Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago after receiving my PhD in Human Development at the University of Maryland. At the heart of my research is an interest in how young children learn from the world around them, and how we can best prepare children to succeed when they begin school. In particular, I investigate how experiences and social interactions in informal learning settings such as the home environment equip children with the skills and knowledge they need to do well in school and beyond. Within the home, through interactions with parents, caregivers, and other family members, children have opportunities to gain knowledge as well as develop positive attitudes towards learning.

Primarily investigating early learning in the domain of mathematics, my research program aims first to understand the factors that contribute to family engagement and children’s learning. This research involves both observational work in naturalistic settings and experimental studies that systematically examine contextual variables that may influence the quality of family interactions around learning. Findings from these studies then help to inform the second aim of my research, which is to identify effective approaches to enhancing family engagement and children’s learning. Across all of my work, I am aiming to center families and understand how their social and cultural circumstances and individual characteristics inform engagement, learning, and the best ways to support families.

Selected Publications

  • Eason, S. H., Nelson, A. E., Dearing, E., & Levine, S. C. (2021). Facilitating young children’s numeracy talk in play: The role of parent prompts. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 207.

  • Hornburg, C. B., Borriello, G.A., Kung, M., Lin, J., Litkowski, E., Cosso, J., Ellis, A., King, Y., Zippert, E., Cabrera, N., Davis-Kean, P., Eason, S. H., Hart, S. A., Iruka, I., LeFevre, J.-A., Simms, V., Susperreguy, M. I., Cahoon, A., Chan, W. W. L., Cheung, S. K., Coppola, M., De Smedt, B., Elliot, L., Estévez-Pérez, N., Gallagher-Mitchell, T., Gardner-Neblett, N., Gilmore, C., Leyva, D., Maloney, E. A., Manolitsis, G., Melzi, G., Mutaf-Yıldız, B., Nelson, G., Niklas, F., Pan, Y., Ramani, G. B., Skwarchuk, S.-L., Sonnenschein, S., & Purpura, D. J. (2021). Next directions in measurement of the home mathematics environment: An international and interdisciplinary perspective. Journal of Numerical Cognition.

  • Clements, L., LeMahieu, R., Nelson, A. E., Eason, S., & Dearing, E. (2021). Associations between parents’ number talk and management language with their young children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 73.

  • Eason, S. H., Scalise, N., Berkowitz, T., Ramani, G. B., & Levine, S. C. (2020). Reviewing the family math literature: Recommendations for practice, policy, and research [White paper]. Family Math Roadmap Implementation Project.

  • Eason, S. H., & Ramani, G. B. (2020). Parent-child math talk about fractions during formal learning and guided play activities. Child Development, 91(2), 546-562.

  • Zippert, E., Eason, S. H., Marshall, S., & Ramani, G. B. (2019). Preschool children’s math exploration during play with peers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

  • Daubert, E. N., Ramani, G. B., Rowe, M. L., Eason, S. H., & Leech, K. A. (2018). Sum thing to talk about: Caregiver-preschooler math talk in low-income families from the United States. Bordon, 70(3), 115-130.

  • Eason, S. H., & Levine, S. C. (2017, May). Math learning begins at home. Zero to Three, 29-37.

  • Eason, S. H., & Ramani, G. B. (2017). Parental guidance and children’s executive function: Working memory and planning as moderators during joint problem solving. Infant and Child Development, 26, 1-24.

  • Ramani, G. B., Rowe, M. L., Eason, S. H., & Leech, K. A. (2015). Math talk during parent-child interactions in Head Start families. Cognitive Development, 35, 15-33.

  • Eason, S. H., Sabatini, J. P., pGoldberg, L. F., Bruce, K. M., & Cutting, L. E. (2013). Examining the relationship between word reading efficiency and oral reading rate in predicting comprehension among different types of readers. Scientific Studies of Reading, 17, 199-223.

  • Eason, S. H., pGoldberg, L. F., pYoung, K. M., Geist, M. C., & Cutting, L. E. (2012). Reader-text interactions: How differential text and question types influence cognitive skills needed for reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 3, 515-528.


  • Postdoctoral Scholar, 2015-2019, University of Chicago

  • PhD, 2015, University of Maryland College Park, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology

  • MS, 2006, Loyola University Maryland, Clinical Psychology

  • BA, 2003, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Psychology

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 341: Working With Parents

  • HDFS 405: Language, Literacy, and Social Studies in Preschool and Primary Grades


  • 2021-2025, Heising-Simons Foundation, Math Language and Dual Language Learners: A family-implemented intervention (David Purpura, PI)

  • 2021-2022, Purdue Clifford B. Kinley Trust, Parents As Partners: A Collaboration to Enhance Family Math Engagement

  • 2020-2023, NewSchools Venture Fund, My Math Stores: Taking My Place in Our Mathematical World (David Purpura, PI)

  • 2019-2020, Heising-Simons Foundation, Reviewing the Family Math Literature: Recommendations for Practice, Policy, and Research

  Sarah Eason
Assistant Professor

Human Development & Family Studies

(PhD, University of Maryland)

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Faculty Associate:
   Center for Early Learning

Fowler Memorial House, Room 211
Purdue University
1200 West State St.
West Lafayette, Indiana  47907-2055

Phone: 765-496-1828
Fax: 765-494-0503



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