READ Podcast Episode Library

Episode #32: Language and Reading Comprehension with Mindy Bridges, PhD, CCC-SLP

Episode 32 Summary

Reading comprehension, by nature, is multifaceted and complex, and for Mindy Bridges, PhD, understanding its development and factors in children is a key passion in her professional work and research. This episode dives deep into the role of language in reading comprehension. Dr. Bridges explains how various factors contribute to comprehension, reflects on her research on comprehension across age development, and offers insights on supporting children who struggle. Dr. Bridges discusses the role of collaboration and implementation science to better understand language and comprehension development in order to serve more schools and students.

Episode #31: From Translation to Implementation with Nicole Patton Terry, PhD

Episode 31 Summary

What does it take to invest in improving the educational outcomes and livelihood of all children? In this episode, Nicole Patton Terry, PhD, director of the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) shares her expertise and experience collaborating with researchers, schools, community partners, and families to support literacy and academic goals of students.

Dr. Terry’s research focuses primarily on young learners who are vulnerable to experiencing poor language and literacy achievement including African American children, children growing up in poverty, and children with disabilities. Applying a collective and integrated approach to implementation and dissemination of research in education, Dr. Terry offers insights and wisdom to the systems that are needed to make lasting change.

Episode #30: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teacher Growth Matthew Kraft, PhD

Episode 30 Summary

How can an interdisciplinary research approach inform our understanding of the systems of education? This month’s guest, Matthew Kraft, PhD, associate professor of education and economics at Brown University, offers a research-based commentary of the macro-level trends in education that particularly impact large urban settings, including teacher growth and well-being, the role of school climate and context, and instructional coaching. Applying his expertise in various interdisciplinary research designs across urban settings, Dr. Kraft suggests innovative methods to repurpose resources and reform school system for the benefit of all teachers and learners. The insights in this episode are intended to engage the listener in critical thinking about scalable and sustainable education solutions across broad education systems.

Episode #29: The Power of Language and Learning with Lydia Soifer, PhD

Episode 29 Summary

What is the role of language in our schools and curriculum? Simply put, language is everything. In the words of this episode’s guest, Lydia Soifer, PhD, “Language is the vehicle that drives the curriculum.” Dr. Soifer is a renowned language pathologist and literacy specialist with over forty-five years of experience in clinical settings as well as in professional and parent education. She explains a multidisciplinary approach to child development, offering immediate, actionable strategies for teachers and families.

Episode #28: Curriculum, Consistency, and Coherence of Reading Instruction with Louise Spear-Swerling, PhD

Episode 28 Summary

In the first episode of 2022, Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling, a leader and trailblazer in reading education, joins the READ Podcast. Speaking from her background and expertise as a professor, teacher educator, author, and researcher, Dr. Spear-Swerling identifies evidence-based practices that support structured literacy and clarifies common pitfalls of implementation. Listeners will understand how curriculum, coherence, and consistency are fundamental to supporting schools and teachers deliver high quality reading instruction for all students.

Episode #27: READ in Review 2021

Episode 27 Summary

READ in Review is the “epilogue” that highlights this year’s episodes with leading experts in research, education, and advocacy. Host Danielle Scorrano reflects upon her conversations from throughout 2021, centered around the theme of integration. The top bookmarks captured by our guests include current research in the Science of Reading (SoR) and dyslexia, advocacy for increased access and equity to high quality education, and an examination of the system to deliver the promise of education for all children. Join the conversation as we reflect upon the 2021 chapter of the READ podcast and forecast ahead into 2022.

Episode #26: The Language of Math with Paul Riccomini, PhD

Episode 26 Summary

All READers are invited to take a journey in mathematics with Penn State professor and The WI faculty member, Paul Riccomini, PhD. Dr. Riccomini and Danielle discuss the language of math with the underlying principle – if kids don’t understand the language of instruction, they’re not going to be able to learn to their potential. Dr. Riccomini explains certain markers of why children may experience challenges in math, when difficulties persist, and scaffolds and instructional practices to support struggling mathematicians. At the end of the episode, Dr. Riccomini answers “crowdsource” questions from adults READers including how parents/ guardians can support kids at home, and he takes on the curiosity of school-aged students by answering their top questions. Dr. Riccomini invites all listeners into a math class to listen closely for the importance of its numbers AND its mathematical language.

Episode #25: The Intersectionality of Race and Dyslexia with Resha Conroy

Episode #25 Summary

During Dyslexia Awareness Month, Resha Conroy, the founder of Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children (DABC), joins the READ Podcast for a conversation about education reform and equity. Using a historical and social lens, Ms. Conroy discusses how Black children with dyslexia are often left behind in the system of education, and the consequences are dire and dangerous. She cites research and draws on stories from communities where Black children with dyslexia face barriers to diagnosis and intervention and experience stigma and deficit-model thinking in their classrooms. On a societal level, Ms. Conroy explains the historical implications of the school to prison pipeline. She discusses the actions the DABC is taking to increase knowledge, advocacy, and awareness and identifies immediate calls to action as well as systemic changes needed to save a current generation of children from failure.

Episode #24: Beyond the NAEP: Mississippi’s Literacy Growth with Kristen Wynn

Episode #24 Summary

Join Kristen Wynn, Mississippi’s State Literacy Director and The Windward Institute’s 2021 Fall Community Lecturer, as she details the story of how the state transformed literacy outcomes for its students. Reflecting upon her story with her son who was diagnosed with dyslexia and her early career as a teacher and interventionist, Ms. Wynn discusses her personal journey to learn about the Science of Reading. She outlines the literacy policy reform that began at the state level and explains how it was disseminated strategically to districts and schools. Ms. Wynn discusses how professional development and a state-facilitated literacy coaching program shaped teacher practices, classrooms, and cultures of schools for the betterment of their students. Finally, she shares how the state innovated teaching and professional learning practices to support families and children during the pandemic. This READ conversation with Kristen Wynn offers hope and applicable lessons for every state, district, and school to disrupt the educational status quo to promote literacy for all students.

Episode #23: The Neuroscience of Resilience and Dyslexia with  Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D.

Episode #23 Summary

Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., leading cognitive neuroscientist, joins the READ Podcast to explore pressing questions about the brain, resilience, and learning disabilities. Dr. Hoeft examines the definitions of resilience and outlines its promotive factors related to the reading brain and children with learning disabilities. She cites the latest brain research on the role of stigma and stereotype threat in children with LD, drawing implications on how to combat stigma and cultivate a more inclusive environment in schools. At the end of the episode, Dr. Hoeft discusses her leadership to support the worldwide community during and post-pandemic and calls for solutions to democratize education for all.

Episode #22: Global Literacy, Digital Reading, and Social Justice with Maryanne Wolf, PhD

Episode #22 Summary

Join the READ Podcast for an exclusive follow up episode with Maryanne Wolf, PhD. The conversation builds off last month’s episode on the science and story of the reading brain, Danielle and Dr. Wolf dive into literacy at the intersection of social justice and digital reading on a global scale. Highlighting her work as an innovator and social entrepreneur, Dr. Wolf shares the impact of Curious Learning on global literacy as well as her thoughts on the digital reading revolution, collaborative efforts with organizations around the world, and leadership at the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA. At the end of the interview, Dr. Wolf and Danielle discuss needed investments in policy platforms and Dr. Wolf offers hope for a revitalized educational future.

Episode #21: The Beauty and Science of the Reading Brain with Maryanne Wolf, PhD

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: Translating Reading Practices, Transforming Education Policy with Emily Solari, PhD

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: Inclusive Language Instruction with Indigo Young, MS CCC-SLP

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: Early Identification and Intervention of Reading Disabilities with Hugh Catts, PhD

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: Science at Scale: Using Research and Social Entrepreneurship to Improve Literacy Outcomes

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: Literacy as a Vehicle for Social Justice with Molly Ness, PhD

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: Special Education 101: Navigating The IEP Process

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 #15 Learning Guide

Episode #14: Special Education 101: The Law and Protections 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 #14 Learning Guide

Episode #13: The Power of Oversight on Policy and Education with Kate Walsh

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 #13 Learning Guide

Episode #12: Bonus Episode: Literacy in a Pandemic with Ken Pugh, PhD


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 #12 Learning Guide

Episode #11: Using Science to Decode the Literacy Crisis with Ken Pugh, PhD


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 #11 Learning Guide

Episode #10: Executive Functioning, Resilience, and Back to Basics Parenting with Mark Bertin, MD

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 #10 Learning Guide

Episode #9: Navigating The Linguistic Landscape: A Path To Equity & Access with Dr. Julie Washington & Jamie Williamson

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 #9 Learning Guide

Episode #8: Translating Literary Research and Empowering Teachers with Margie Gillis, EdD

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 #8 Learning Guide

Episode #7: Inside the Institute with John J. Russell, EdD

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 #7 Learning Guide

Episode #6: "See Her Speak": A DLD Discussion with Tiffany Hogan, PhD, CCC-SLP

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 #6 Learning Guide

Episode #5: Back to the Classroom with Devin Kearns, PhD

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 #5 Learning Guide

Episode #4: Supporting Our Children's Well-being and Learning During COVID-19 with Rachel Busman, PsyD

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 #4 Learning Guide

Episode #3: In-School Neuro-Superheroes with Nicole Landi, PhD

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: Leading with Values with Jamie Williamson

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 #2 Learning Guide

Episode #1: Real Talk About Baby Talk with Richard Aslin, PhD

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. 

Episode #1 Learning Guide

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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Scorrano.

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.   

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