2023 Robert J. Schwartz Memorial Lecture

Key Takeaways from the 2023 Schwartz Lecture

Addressing and supporting the needs of children with dyslexia requires integrated, comprehensive approaches at the family, school, and community levels. Due to the disproportionate burden placed on schools to identify and remediate students with dyslexia, whole child approaches to assessment, identification, and intervention are critical.

Whole Child Approach to Reading and Learning:
What works for whom under what conditions?

  • Emphasizes supporting both student achievement and well-being
  • Points the way toward making educational experiences more responsive to individual student needs and strengths in the contexts of home, school, and community 
  • Aligns with ecological models that illustrate the impact of varied systems, such as family and health services, on a child’s development
  • Aligns with a risk and resilience model (Catts & Petscher, 2021)
    • Addresses known risk factors, including deficits in phonological skills, while simultaneously allowing for promotive resilience factors that may mitigate risk, such as growth mindset
  • Considers four domains including (Darling-Hammond & Cook-Harvey, 2018)
    • positive school climate
    • productive instructional strategies
    • social and emotional development
    • individualized supports
  • Acknowledges the potential of screenings, including screenings for trauma and dyslexia, to identify interventions and services for individual children
  • Calls on teachers, parents, pediatricians, social workers, and other stakeholders to play a role in early identification as well as the development and implementation of individualized supports across varied contexts 

Learn More from Dr. Petscher

About Featured Lecturer Yaacov Petscher, PhD

Yaacov Petscher, PhD is Professor of Social Work, Associate Director of the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University, and Deputy Director of the National Center on Improving Literacy. His research interests include screening and identification, translational science, and the intersection among the science of reading, quantitative methods, and technology for building tools to support reading development.

His work with collaborators has been recognized with awards from the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, International Literacy Association, American Education Research Association, MIT Solve Challenge, and the Florida Educational Research Association among others. His current research concerns the early identification of reading disabilities and the role of trauma in reading and language development.



The annual Robert J. Schwartz Memorial Lecture was established by Ms. Gail Ross in memory of her husband, Mr. Robert J. Schwartz, a compassionate and dedicated former member of the Board of Trustees who passed away in 1997. The lecture in his memory seeks to bring experts in the field of reading and reading disabilities to the School each spring. If you are interested in receiving updates about lectures, please sign up for our mailing list here.

Past Robert J. Schwartz Memorial Lectures