READ Podcast Episode Library
Episode #21 Summary
This month, we invite listeners to learn from Maryanne Wolf, PhD, internationally renowned scientist, and author of several books on reading and the brain. Dr. Wolf shares the journey of her life’s work, illustrating her existential journey at the intersection of literacy and social justice and her life goal to ensure that reading is a fundamental access point to ensure the livelihood of people around the world. She discusses of the science and poetic story of the reading brain and explains its connection to child development. The story of dyslexia, in particular, illuminates why and how our human brain re-wires for reading. Dr. Wolf offers implications from the classroom to global policy- advocating for literacy to solve some of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. Join Dr. Wolf and Danielle as they share a cup of tea and explore the beautiful intricacies of the reading brain.
Episode #20 Summary
The guest for this episode, Emily Solari, PhD, is a leader in academia and reading research as well as a true disruptor. We tackle the big question that is saturating current public and education discourse: How do we change reading achievement in this country? Dr. Solari offers her expertise on applying evidence-based instruction across school settings and addresses why our education system needs to enact simultaneous change in all policy areas to advance literacy outcomes for all students. She operationalizes key terms such as the Science of Reading (SoR), evidence-based instruction, and intervention. Citing her research and experience in school settings, she emphasizes the importance of making research and curriculum efficient, feasible, and effective for teachers and discusses the benefits of translational science. At the end of the conversation, Dr. Solari and Danielle talk more about advocating for the advancement of women in science. This conversation speaks to Dr. Solari’s impact and her continued call to action to implement change across the system of education.
Episode #19 Summary
Language development is a cognitively and socially demanding process.
In this episode, Indigo Young, MS CCC-SLP, explains how educators and practitioners can cultivate equitable and inclusive environments that promote language development with a focus on children from marginalized backgrounds. Ms. Young discusses the importance of anti-oppressive practices in educational contexts, emphasizing the continuous, discerning process that bridges our understanding of identity and power, cultural humility, and equity-seeking practices. She identifies key forms of biases and offers insights and applications in any educational setting. This episode is critical for our understanding of how we frame education within the context of identity, equity, and inclusion to support all students.
Episode #18 Summary
Literacy, a fundamental human right, is foundational for a child’s potential toward academic and lifelong success. For children with language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, mastering skilled reading can feel like an impossible endeavor without necessary support and teaching using proven instructional methods. Fortunately, there are powerful research-based antidotes toward potentially preventing a destiny of reading failure. In this episode, Hugh Catts, PhD explains why early screening and proven, effective reading intervention are critical to mitigating reading disabilities in children. He outlines the research supporting the current model, developed with Yaacov Petscher, PhD, which examines the factors that increase the probability of developing dyslexia. Being able to identify these factors is important to better understand how to effectively screen and provide more comprehensive support for all students, offering implications for research, policy, and education.
Episode #17 Summary
While the implementation of high quality, research-based literacy instruction benefits all students, schools must consider scalability and sustainability. In this episode, Magdalena Zavalia, co-founder of Intelexia, discusses the successful, scalable implementation of Aprendo Leyendo, a research-based literacy program and professional development methodology based on the PAF Reading Program. Using what she learned about the science of reading as well as her skills and experience in social entrepreneurship, Ms. Zavalia and her team transformed literacy outcomes for 430 teachers and 10,000 students in 70 schools across the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ms. Zavalia explains how she navigated barriers for scalability including politics, cost, and resources and shares insights about unexpected challenges due to the pandemic. She offers expertise and experience in entrepreneurship and leadership, providing valuable lessons about the possibility, potential, and effectiveness of research-based reading instruction across all schools.
Episode #16 Summary
Molly Ness, PhD, shares her passion and work toward increasing access to literacy opportunities for all children. Dr. Ness shares data and insights about "book deserts," a term describing areas and circumstances in which children lack adequate access to books. She highlights organizations that are tackling social justice and equity issues related to literacy through innovative and grassroots methods. Dr. Ness calls for increased investments and policies toward ending book deserts and supporting school librarians and teachers to provide high quality literacy opportunities and instruction to their students. Committed to cultivating literacy-rich homes and communities, Dr. Ness shares actionable strategies that families can implement immediately with their own children.
Episode #15 Summary
In this bonus episode on special education, we are joined again by Peter Beardsley and Lara Damashek, the Committee on Special Education liaisons at The Windward School. We tackle questions like, how do families start and navigate the IEP process? Who makes the referral for services? How should families and educators be prepared for meetings with the multi-disciplinary team? We also discuss the rights of families and students like due process. This episode contains the golden nugget of information for families and educators to navigate the special education process. READers will identify key action items that educators and families can take in the special education process to effectively advocate for students with disabilities.
Episode #14 Summary
Federal, state, and local education policy establish the rights of students with disabilities. In this episode, The Windward School’s Committee on Special Education liaisons, Peter Beardsley and Lara Damashek, explain the fundamentals and nuances of special education law. They discuss the responsibility of educational teams to ensure that students with disabilities receive equitable, appropriate services. This episode provides READ listeners with a deep dive in the key principles of special education policies and processes and how they impact the rights of students with the most common learning disabilities including dyslexia, speech and language impairment, and ADHD.
Episode #13 Summary
Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), shares the organization’s goal to promote teacher effectiveness for every child, in every classroom. Walsh outlines NCTQ’s areas of focus such as setting greater oversight and transparency in policy and institutions. With a deep investment in the implementation of evidence-based reading instruction in schools, Walsh and the NCTQ launched the first review and rankings of teacher preparation programs in the United States. Walsh describes the analysis process, calling for increased transparency and advocacy in preparing educators to teach reading. Finally, Walsh discusses literacy within the framework of social justice. A true disruptor and advocate for children, Walsh remains committed to achieving better educational opportunities for teachers and students.
Episode #12 Summary
This bonus episode follows our October conversation with Ken Pugh, PhD, “Using Science to Decode the Literacy Crisis.” Dr. Pugh further illustrates the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on literacy around the world, citing current scientific evidence of learning loss related to student access to education resources. While the current pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our education systems, Dr. Pugh points to other significant factors which inhibit fundamental education access such as climate change and natural disasters as well as forced migration from violence or political instability. Finally, Dr. Pugh discusses the future of research, policy, and educational technology to support learning outcomes around the world.
Episode #11 Summary
In this episode, Dr. Ken Pugh, an internationally renowned scientist and the President and Director of Research at Haskins Laboratories, addresses the global literacy crisis, drawing attention to the moral responsibility we have to ensure all children can read. He highlights the advances and promise of neuroscience in understanding complex brain mechanisms for reading, as well as the role of neuroscience in exploring potential brain co-morbidities. Finally, we discuss the promise of educational neuroscience as a “translational collaboration” between research and educators, which can ultimately improve learning outcomes for all children.
Episode #10 Summary
Executive functioning (EF) refers to the foundational skill set required to manage daily life including behavior, attention, and self-management. For children, executive functioning is essential for academic performance in school as well as overall resilience and well-being. In this episode Mark Bertin, MD, shares the research underlying executive functioning in children as well as his expertise in understanding its development. He offers tools for parents and educators to support children’s EF skills as well as interventions for kids who present with deficits. Finally, Dr. Bertin shares insights about the practicality of mindfulness, particularly as school resumes during the current pandemic.
Episode #9 Summary
Julie Washington, PhD, and Windward’s Head of School, Jamie Williamson, discuss the impact of race and culture on the Linguistic Landscape of American schools. Dr. Washington’s research focuses on the linguistic differences in students speaking African American English and the implications on identification, literacy, and support in the classroom. Dr. Washington and Mr. Williamson discuss why teacher competence in cultural and linguistic differences is a critical element of effective reading instruction. Drawing from her expertise and experience working in a variety of research and school contexts, Dr. Washington advocates for equity and access for all students.
Episode #8 Summary
Drawing on decades of research on reading and professional development, Margie Gillis, EdD, presents the necessary elements to provide teachers with the training and tools to implement high quality reading instruction in their classrooms. As the founder and president of Literacy How, Dr. Gillis and her team coach teachers across districts and schools in Connecticut using a prescriptive and research-based model, cognitive coaching. Research supports the individualized nature of teacher coaching within a professional development framework that integrates expertise from coaches, high trust and relationality between the coach and teacher, feedback, and teacher agency. Dr. Gillis addresses potential factors that may influence the variability in coaching effectiveness across school contexts and provides implications for sustainability and scalability of professional development programs.
Episode #7 Summary
This episode marks a significant milestone for the READ podcast and The Windward Institute—the six-month anniversary since The Institute’s official launch. In this interview, John J. Russell, EdD, the Executive Director of The Windward Institute, reflects on The Institute’s impact in 2020, particularly in a world of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Russell explains why The Institute was established—highlighting its work to "increase childhood literacy rates by disrupting the educational status quo to save more lives." He identifies key factors that contribute to decades of problems in reading education, including inadequate teacher preparation, lack of early screening and identification, and failure to utilize research-based instructional practices. He calls for “disrupting the status quo” so all students, especially students with language-based learning disabilities, receive the education they fundamentally need.
Episode #6 Summary
Language is a powerful device we use to communicate every day, yet we may underestimate its complex, multifaceted nature. In this episode, Tiffany Hogan, PhD, CCC-SLP, teaches listeners about the fundamental aspects of language and discusses specific language difficulties presented in children with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD). Did you know that about one in ten people are diagnosed with DLD? Dr. Hogan presents the top myths of DLD and explains ways speech language pathologists and classroom teachers can collaborate to remediate and support children with DLD. Reflecting on her vast experience as a researcher, Dr. Hogan calls for continued collaboration between scientists and educators through implementation science and bidirectional learning. Dr. Hogan uniquely presents ideas for sharing expertise with the public including her own podcast, SeeHearSpeak, in order to advocate for the DLD community around the world.
Episode #5 Summary
Host Danielle Scorrano invites READ listeners to enter the classroom with Devin Kearns, PhD! Dr. Kearns, a former teacher, is an expert in educational research and professor of special education at University of Connecticut. Dr. Kearns shares his expertise about dyslexia, dispels its pervasive myths, and presents research on reading. He explains the necessary components of effective reading interventions and offers examples for classroom application. Drawing on his experience as a professor, Dr. Kearns discusses his passion and experience for preparing teachers by giving them “real tools” to teach reading in their classrooms. Dr. Kearns shares insights from his unique experience engaging with communities of educators, students, parents, researchers, and professors in teacher preparation programs, calling for future collaboration to advocate for students with dyslexia and reading difficulties.
Episode #4 Summary
While practicing social distancing from their own homes, host Danielle Scorrano interviews Dr. Rachel Busman, the Senior Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center, Director of the Selective Mutism Service at the Child Mind Institute, and a faculty member of The Windward Institute. Dr. Busman provides her expertise on how families and educators can support children at home and from a distance. Dr. Busman shares applicable strategies that benefit children, and insights on proactively managing our own self-care as adults, even during this uncertain time. This episode was recorded in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, which, in April 2020, had already significantly affected daily life.
Episode #3 Summary
In this episode, Nicole Landi, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist at Haskins Laboratories and a professor at University of Connecticut, speaks about the promise of in-school neuroscience, which expands upon the opportunities for exchange of learning between researchers, educators, and students. Dr. Landi discusses the structure of the brain for typical and atypical reading and ways schools and scientists can further collaborate. Dr. Landi also draws connections between research and education to advocate for all students.
Episode #3 Learning Guide
Episode #2 Summary
In this episode, Jamie Williamson, Head of School at The Windward School, shares his experiences as an educator and leader. He calls for creating educational environments that centralize in advocating for the overall development of the child and that remain laser focused in providing instruction using empirically validated research and data. As a leader, Mr. Williamson discusses the importance of values and creating a school community where all students, families, teachers, and leaders can thrive.
Episode #1 Summary
In this episode, we speak to Dr. Richard Aslin, a Senior Research Scientist at Haskins Laboratories. He discusses the incredible abilities of the infant brain for language and early learning and shares ways that brain imaging has broadened our understanding of the brain. He cites examples of how infants learn language, which influences later learning. Dr. Aslin finally provides implications for closer integration between research and practice in order to optimize the learning environment for all students.
About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.
Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests.