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Dr. Guinevere Eden Shares Evidence Supporting Early Intervention for Struggling Readers at annual Robert J. Schwartz Lecture at The Windward School

by Danielle Scorrano

Dr. Guinevere Eden speaks at the annual Robert J. Schwartz Lecture in April 2017.

On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, nearly 500 peoplattended the annual Robert J. Schwartz Memorial Lecture presented by internationally recognized neuroscientist Dr. Guinevere Eden. In her presentation on “Decoding the Reading Brain: Lessons from Brain Imaging,” Dr. Eden described how she and her colleagues were the first to apply functional MRI (fMRI) to the study of dyslexia, and they have since used this brain-imaging technology to visually map the functions of the brain. Advances in brain imaging technology have enabled researchers to use non-invasive tools to understand the cognitive processes for language and reading acquisition. While fMRI scans have broadened our understanding of dyslexia, they have also helped neuroscientists discover the positive results of effective intervention to remediate dyslexia.        

 Dr. Eden’s research has significantly contributed to mapping the reading brain as well as understanding the neural correlates of dyslexia. At the lecture, she shared studies that show the differences in language and reading acquisition across different writing systems and oral languages. She also shared other studies that demonstrate how brain activity changes based on the age of when a person learns to read. For example, as young children learn how to read, the studies show increased activity in the area of the brain related to phonological awareness. These brain images have shown distinct differences in brain mapping based on a person’s native language, writing system, and level of reading development.

In dyslexia research, brain imaging has been integral in supporting and expanding existing behavioral studies. Dr. Eden presented many fMRI studies that charted differences in the reading brains of people with and without dyslexia. According to brain imaging studies of people with dyslexia, certain areas of the brain are under-activated during reading tasks. More recently, other brain imaging studies have shown that people with dyslexia also exhibit under-activated areas of the brain during mathematical procedures tasks.

Neuroscientists have also used brain imaging to demonstrate how effective interventions and instructional practices have changed the brains of struggling and pre-literate readers.In various studies of adults and children with dyslexia, fMRI imaging showed that new areas of the brain were activated after an intensive, structured, and multisensory intervention, demonstratingfurther evidence of neuroplasticity in the brain. Therefore, Dr. Eden emphasized the importance of seeking early intervention for struggling readers. Although brain imaging is not intended for individual diagnosis, aggregated findings from participants across a multitude of studies have provided new insights for neuroscience and education. Future brain imaging research and collaboration between scientific institutions and educational communities will continue to deepen our understanding of dyslexia and the developing reading brain.


Bracket Fever Comes to Windward's Manhattan Campus

While the month of March saw basketball teams battling for the college championship, Windward Manhattan students witnessed some friendly competition among their favorite books in “March Madness in the Library.” Students nominated their favorite books to make it into the “Sweet Sixteen” round. The top 16 picks were ranked and seeded. To narrow the playing field more, students filled out their own brackets to select the books they wanted to win and move onto the “Elite Eight.” Those results determined the “Final Four” books to compete towards the ultimate championship. Students voted on the final two books to determine a winner. At Manhattan Lower School, the favorite book was “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney. At Manhattan Middle School, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio took the favorite book spot.


Students from The Windward School in Manhattan show the books they hope to win "March Madness in the Library."

Windward’s Impact on Alumni Revealed at "The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia" Film Screening and Alumni Panel in Manhattan

Last week, approximately 170 Windward parents, students, alumni, alumni parents, and grandparents gathered in the Coleman Gymnasium at The Windward School’s Manhattan campus for a screening of the film The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia which was followed by a panel discussion featuring Windward alumni.


Windward alumni with Maureen Sweeney, Jon Rosenshine, and Dr. John J. RussellWindward alum Skye Lucas ’17 and her mother, Geralyn, were the impetus behind the screening and panel. Both were featured in this documentary that also describes the experiences of dyslexic children, parents, experts, and iconic leaders at the top of their fields. The documentary makes clear that dyslexia, a persistent problem with learning to read, has nothing to do with one’s intelligence. Super-achieving dyslexics revered in their fields – from Sir Richard Branson and financier Charles Schwab to politician Gavin Newsom and attorney David Boies – are also featured in the film. The film confirms what experts and Windward families know: by receiving research-based instruction taught by expertly-trained teachers, dyslexic students can be successfully remediated and achieve their fullest potential. In the film, the renowned reading scientists Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, discuss how recent scientific advances have illuminated the diagnosis and treatment of reading and dyslexia.


Following the panel, five Windward alumni took to the stage to share their educational experiences pre-and-post-Windward. They reflected on how Windward helped get them to where they are today:


    • Tom Higgins ’12 attended Windward from 2002-2006 for third through sixth grade. He graduated from Riverdale Country School and recently graduated from Columbia University with a degree in philosophy and economics. He says, “I credit much of my overall success to the dedicated teachers at Windward.


    • Skye Lucas ’17 attended Windward from 2006-2008 for second and third grade and is currently a senior at The Dwight School. “It was only after I left Windward that I became aware of my growth. Now I treasure my time at Windward; without it, I could not be the determined and engaged scholar I am today.


    • Reed Switzer 18 attended Windward from 2007-2011 for second through fifth grade. He is currently a sophomore at The Dwight-Englewood School and recently registered his clothing brand, Ville, and is currently manufacturing the line in India. “If it weren’t for Windward, I wouldn’t have the organizational and leadership skills necessary to run a business.


    • Callie Toal ’18 attended Windward from 2009-2012 for fifth through eighth grade. She is currently a junior at Blair Academy. “From my experience at Windward, I became that person that I am today and gained the confidence needed to tackle any academic challenge. The comfortable environment at Windward allowed me to be my complete self without having to worry about making mistakes and helped me realize that having difficulty in school was okay.


    • Emma Weinstein ’16 attended Windward from 2009-2012 for sixth through eighth grade. She graduated from The Berkshire School and is currently attending Bucknell University College of Management. “My success in academics and life can be greatly attributed to my time at Windward.


If you are an alum of Windward or the parent of an alum, we would love to know how Windward impacted your life/your child’s life. You may send your submissions to Heather Pray at Please note that these submissions may be used in future printed or digital publications.


Photo info: Back row (L to R): Maureen Sweeney, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions; Jon Rosenshine, Associate Head of School; and, Dr. John J. Russell, Head of School. Front row (L to R): Tom Higgins '12, Skye Lucas '17, Reed Switzer '18, Callie Toal '18, and Emma Weinstein '16. Photo by Jill LeVine at The Windward School Manhattan campus's Coleman Gymnasium. February 23, 2017.


Note: At The Windward School, a student's class year is the same as his/her high school graduation year.


Westchester Lower School First-and-Second-Grade Students Visit Teatown Lake Reservation

On October 26, 2016, Westchester Lower School first-and-second-grade students visited Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, New York. They participated in the Native Americans: Keepers of the Earth program. 

To support the social studies curriculum, students learned about the daily life of the indigenous people of the lower Hudson Valley.  They explored a full-size wigwam and longhouse. They also discovered how Native Americans relied on the land for food, clothing, and shelter.  Sitting in a circle on logs and animal skins, students listened to stories from long ago.  Students also had the opportunity to participate in daily chores of Native Americans.  

First and second graders particularly enjoyed throwing a corn cob through a hanging target. The students learned this was a children's game played long ago to hone their hunting skills.


In this photo, students sit in a circle on logs and animal skins to listen to stories from long ago.

In this photo, students showcase their wooden sticks used to play a game from hundreds of years ago. In this game, children would throw pieces of wood connected by a string back and forth to their playmate. The playmate would try to catch it using a wooden stick similar to those in the picture.

In this photo, students are throwing a corn cob through a hanging target. They learned that this was a game children played long ago to hone their hunting skills.

Reflecting on the Veterans of Our Country at The Windward School

On Veterans Day, students across all campuses of The Windward School spent a part of their day reflecting on the veterans of our country.


At Westchester and Manhattan lower schools, students learned about Veterans Day in their classes and attended community meetings to learn about the importance of Veterans Day and honoring veterans. They also learned about the significance of the number 11 to Veterans Day (World War I ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, in the 11th month of the year 1918).

Veterans Day 2016 at Westchester Lower School


In the Westchester and Manhattan middle schools, academic lessons were designed to teach the history behind Veterans Day, and students participated in reading and writing activities in their classes.


Students at Westchester Middle School write about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 

In this photo, Westchester Middle school students have finished reading an article and are engaged in a writing exercise to describe the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Photo credit: Lindsay Kennedy


Colonial History Comes Alive: Windward Fifth-Grade Students Learn About Battle of Pell’s Point

On October 13 and 14, 2016, fifth-grade students from Windward’s Westchester and Manhattan campuses took a trip to St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon, New York. This trip supplemented their study of the Revolutionary War in Social Studies classes. The beautiful, fall day afforded students the opportunity to learn about the Battle of Pell’s Point, which took place on October 18, 1776. This battle was critical to the success of the Continental Army.


Although the actual conflict took place in what is now Pelham Bay Park in Bronx, New York, St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon was used as a military hospital for wounded British soldiers during the skirmish. During their visit, students learned about the battle’s significance in America’s struggle for independence including the fact that it allowed General George Washington and his troops to retreat ahead of the British to White Plains, New York. Students also learned about 18th-century colonial life in New York, witnessed “colonial soldiers” load and fire vintage weapons, heard music from the period, and had the opportunity to play games that children in the 13 colonies would have played with their friends.


About the photos: 

In the first photo, a student helps play "Yankee Doodle Dandy" as his classmates sing along.

In the second photo, students learn from a sailor in the British navy about life at sea.



Westchester Lower School      13 Windward Avenue 
                                                White Plains, NY 10605
Westchester Middle School      40 West Red Oak Lane 
                                                White Plains, NY 10604
Manhattan Lower and               212 East 93rd Street 
Middle Schools                         New York, NY 10128