David Purpura, PhD

Research Interests

Preschool mathematics and reading, home numeracy and literacy environment, behavioral and cognitive development, interventions for children at-risk of later mathematics difficulties


I joined the Purdue faculty in the fall of 2012 after completing a US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois in the College of Education. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University in 2010. You could say that I study the ABCs of the 123s! In my research, I focus on understanding how young children in preschool through 3rd grade learn math and early identification of children at-risk for later math difficulties. My current focus is on evaluating the effects of literacy and executive functioning skills on the development of young children’s mathematical knowledge as well as on evaluating interventions and instructional methods that enhance this development. In my lab we also study the home numeracy and literacy environment and how home factors affect children’s academic skills at preschool entry.

Selected Publications

  • Purpura, D. J., Napoli, A. R., Wehrspann, E. A., & Gold, Z. S. (in press). Causal connections between mathematical language and mathematical knowledge: A dialogic reading intervention. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

  • Schmitt, S. A., Geldhof, G. J., Purpura, D. J., Duncan, R., & McClelland, M. M. (in press) Examining the relations between executive function, math, and literacy during the transition to kindergarten: A multi-analytic approach. Journal of Educational Psychology.

  • Schmitt, S. A., Jones, B., Korucu, I., Snyder, F., Evich, C., & Purpura, D. J. (in press). Self-regulation and Body Mass Index in preschoolers. Early Child Development and Care.

  • Purpura, D. J., Schmitt, S. A., & Ganley, C. M. (2017). Foundations of mathematics and literacy: The role of executive functioning components. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 153, 15-34.

  • Schmitt, S. A., Korucu, I., Jones, B. L., Snyder, F., Evich, C. D., & Purpura, D. J. (2017). Self-regulation as a correlate of weight status in preschool children. Early Child Development and Care. doi:10.1080/03004430.2017.1299715

  • Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2016). Mathematics and language: Individual and group differences in mathematical language skills in young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 259-268.

  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., Eiland, M. D., & Reid, E. E. (2015). The impact of highly and minimally guided discovery instruction on promoting the learning of reasoning strategies for basic add-1 and doubles combinations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 30, 93-105. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2014.09.003

  • Purpura, D. J., & Logan, J. A. R. (2015). The non-linear relations between the approximate number system and mathematical language to symbolic mathematics. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1717-1724.

  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., Eiland, M. D., & Reid, E. E. (2014). Fostering first-graders’ fluency with basic subtraction and larger addition combinations via computer-assisted instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 32, 159-197.

  • Purpura, D. J., & Ganley, C. (2014). Working memory and language: Skill-specific or domain-general relations to mathematics? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 122, 104-121.

  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2013). Can computer-assisted discovery learning foster first graders' fluency with basic addition combinations? American Educational Research Journal, 50, 533-573.

  • Li, X., Sun, Y., Baroody, A. J., & Purpura, D. J. (2013). The effect of language on Chinese and American 2- and 3-year olds’ small number identification. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28, 1525-1542.

  • Lonigan, C. J., Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., Walker, P. M., & Clancy-Menchetti, J. (2013). Evaluating the components of an emergent literacy intervention for children at-risk of reading difficulties. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 111-130.

  • Purpura, D. J., Baroody, A. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2013). The transition from informal to formal mathematical knowledge: Mediation by numeral knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 453-464.

  • Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2013). Informal numeracy skills: The structure and relations among numbering, relations, and arithmetic operations in preschool. American Educational Research Journal, 50, 178-209.

  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M. D., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2012). Fostering at-risk kindergarten children’s number sense. Cognition and Instruction, 30, 435-470.

  • Sims, D. M., Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2012). The relation between inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors and early mathematics skills. Journal of Attention Disorders. doi:10.1177/1087054712464390

  • Purpura, D. J., Hume, L., Sims, D., & Lonigan, C. J. (2011). Early literacy and early numeracy: The value of including early literacy skills in the prediction of numeracy development. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, 647-658.

  • Piasta, S. B., Purpura, D. J., & Wagner, R. (2010). Fostering alphabet knowledge development: A comparison of two instructional approaches. Reading and Writing, 23, 607-626.

  • Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., & Lonigan, C. J. (2010). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in preschool children: Examining psychometric properties using item response theory. Psychological Assessment, 22, 546-558.

  • Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan C. J. (2009). Conner’s Teacher Rating Scale for preschool children: A revised, brief, age-specific measure. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 263-272.


  • 2010 – 2012  Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • 2010              PhD, Clinical Psychology, Florida State University

  • 2007              MS, Clinical Psychology, Florida State University

  • 2005              BA, Psychology, Purdue University

David Purpura

Assistant Professor

Faculty Associate:
   Center for Families

(PhD, Florida State University)

Hanley Hall, Room 231
Purdue University
1202 West State St.
West Lafayette, Indiana  47907-2055

Phone: 765-494-2947
Fax: 765-496-1144

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