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Mickey Smith Jr. is an acclaimed Louisiana educator, author, saxophonist, and self-described "solutionist" who feels a strong calling to help educators and teachers. Mickey, who received the Grammy Music Educator Award in 2020, brings his motivational blend of music and message to this very special episode in which he and Susan Lambert discuss music, perseverance, and finding purpose as educators and human beings. In between interludes of uplifting songs and stories, Mickey shares his proven principles for helping educators create sound connections and culture in today's classrooms. He also describes his methods for providing all-purpose encouragement and offers a tangible approach to finding one's own personal mission statements—or, as he likes to call it, our legacy song.Show notes: Mickey Smith Jr.  - WebsiteSee the Sound -  PodcastThe Keep Going TourQuotes:“I want to share some of the things that helped me to keep going, so that someone else won’t miss their next and best steps.”—Mickey Smith Jr. “I believe we all have a sound. I think our success comes, number one, from the promises we make and keep with ourselves, but also the authenticity we live out that sound with.”—Mickey Smith Jr. “If we all have a sound, ultimately I think our goal should be to create a legacy song.”—Mickey Smith Jr.“The sound I’m talking about is not the audible but the internal. It’s that thing that leaves an effect with folks beyond what you just teach them. It’s how you reach them.”—Mickey Smith Jr.
Dr. Desirée Pallais-Downing is an assistant professor of instruction in the Bilingual/Bicultural Education Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Having lived in Nicaragua, England, the United States, and Spain, she has experienced bilingual learning across four different countries. In this episode, she differentiates between sequential and simultaneous bilingualism, and the importance of assessment in the home and second languages before diving deep into the linguistic structures of Spanish vs. English. She also offers advice for non-Spanish speakers on the best ways to support Spanish speakers.Show notes:Dr. Desirée Pallais-Downing - WebsiteQuotes:"The way we position students in our classrooms can open or close opportunities for them to shine. When we bring in their knowledge and cultural experiences, we open more opportunities for them to be successful."- Dr. Desirée Pallais-Downing"There's very strong research on how language and literacy skills are transferable from Spanish to English, and that transfer from Spanish to English is not automatic."- Dr. Desirée Pallais-Downing
Dr. Kymyona Burk is Policy Director for Early Literacy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd). In this role, she supports states pursuing a comprehensive approach to K–3 reading policy. She joins host Susan Lambert to give listeners a look behind the curtain of the legislative process creating education policy, including writing and passing literacy legislation, the politics of advocating for the Science of Reading within legislation, and what the results look like for states that have this legislation in place.Show notes: ExcelinEd profile pageThe Perfect Storm: Mississippi’s Momentum for Improving Reading Achievement - The Reading League JournalAmplify’s Virtual Symposium 2022 - Celebrating Biliteracy: Realizing a Better Future for Our Spanish SpeakersQuotes: “A literacy law is an equity law … there has to be some type of consistent language around what effective reading instruction looks like in classrooms.”— Dr. Kymyona Burk
Claude Goldenberg joined the podcast to introduce what he argues is much-needed skepticism to the conversation of reading science. Goldenberg mentions that while the Science of Reading may be the latest buzzword, reading science is here to stay and, like any other science, will only grow stronger alongside informed critique. He later talks about the foundational skills and what the movement can learn from the failings of Reading First; offers advice for implementation; and ends with a hopeful note, highlighting that all educators can come together around a shared mission to see students succeed. Show notes: Quote: “If we listen, if we communicate clearly, if we pay attention, giving people the benefit of the doubt that what they want is for all kids [to succeed], I think we can move forward.”— Dr. Claude GoldenbergLessons Learned? Reading Wars, Reading First, and a Way Forward by Margaret Goldberg and Claude GoldenbergReading Wars, Reading Science, and English Learners by Claude GoldenbergAmplify’s Virtual Symposium 2022 - Celebrating Biliteracy: Realizing a Better Future for Our Spanish SpeakersTeaching All Students to Read: Practices from Reading First Schools With Strong Intervention Outcomes by Elizabeth Crawford & Joseph TorgesenCatch Them Before They Fall by Joseph K. Torgesen
Susan Lambert is joined by Dr. Brittney Bills, educator and recent Science of Reading Star Award Winner to discuss MTSS. Dr. Bills began her journey as a school psychologist for six years before transitioning to the role of curriculum coordinator at Grand Island Public Schools. In this episode, Dr. Bills explains what MTSS is and how it centers on prevention rather than intervention. She talks about the intersection of universal screening data and MTSS and provides advice on evidence-based strategies and techniques to make a positive impact in your classroom. Using examples from her own district, Dr. Bills discusses avoiding burnout, learning to use data, and the process of ongoing improvement.Show notes:Learn more about the Science of Reading for English learners at Celebrating Biliteracy: Realizing a Better Future for Our Spanish Speakers. Register here!
Joining host Susan Lambert, Dr. Doris Baker speaks from her background researching the academic outcomes of English language learners to discuss ways educators can better engage and support all of their students. Dr. Baker emphasizes how much there is to learn about our native language by learning another language, and the many advantages of bilingualism. She then dives into a conversation around codeswitching and the importance of cultural awareness. Dr. Baker also gives listeners practical advice on how to include English language learners in core instruction and highlights how critical it is to provide students with opportunities to engage in sophisticated and deep conversations. Lastly, Dr. Baker outlines how educators can include parents in their children’s language learning by teaching them how, when, and what to read to their kids—in their native language!Show notes:Learn more about the Science of Reading for English learners from Dr. Baker and other experts at Celebrating Biliteracy: Realizing a Better Future for Our Spanish Speakers. Register here!Webinar: The Importance of Dual Language Assessment and How to Deliver It in Your ClassroomResearch paper: Effects of Spanish vocabulary knowledge on the English word knowledge and listening comprehension of bilingual students
Today on the podcast, we‘re joined by literacy expert Jan Hasbrouck, Ph.D. Dr. Hasbrouck is an education consultant, author, and researcher. She opens the episode talking about her start with literacy, underscoring how she was one of the lucky ones who learned how to teach reading correctly in college. Dr. Hasbrouck also discusses what it’s like to combat skepticism—both of the Science of Reading and the power of assessment. She then goes on to talk about the book she co-authored on student-focused coaching and ends the episode by addressing assessment anxiety directly, including a discussion of where it comes from, the importance of progress monitoring, and more!Student-Focused Coaching by Jan Hasbrouck, Ph.D., Daryl Michel, Ph.D.
Susan Lambert joins biliteracy expert and professor Dr. Lillian Durán, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota and researches the improvement of instructional and assessment practices with preschool-aged dual language learners (DLLs).Durán begins by pointing out the difference between being bilingual and biliterate, then describes the key advantages of being bilingual and the unique skills students who speak multiple languages bring to school. She then discusses how the Simple View of Reading connects to Spanish, the double standard often occurring when bilingual students are celebrated vs. when they are not, and the process of screening and assessment for multilingual students. Lastly, Dr. Durán compels educators to avoid viewing biliteracy and dual language support as a sub-population of their classroom and instead prioritize the development of students’ home languages, whatever they may be, alongside English instruction.Quotes: “Language is inextricably linked to culture. We want to make sure these families and children feel valued and honored within our schools.” —Dr. Lillian Durán“No matter what language you start to learn some of those skills in, there's a transfer and understanding of how to listen to sounds and how to put sounds together.” —Dr. Lillian Durán 
In this episode, host Susan Lambert is joined by Lacey Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of UnboundEd. Robinson opens the podcast by telling her personal story of learning to read, discussing those who influenced her, and sharing how literacy empowered her to pursue education reform. Robinson emphasizes the responsibility that educational practitioners and leaders have to dismantle and eliminate all barriers to education. She helps to define equity and equitable instruction and describes the literacy experiences of Black students, stressing how an understanding of history is essential to moving forward and not repeating past mistakes. Lastly, Robinson outlines what productive struggle should look like in the classroom, encouraging educators to embrace their students’ local, cultural, linguistic, and historical context to enable more rigorous reading opportunities. Listen now. Quotes:“Not everybody has to love to read. Everybody deserves the right to read."— Lacey Robinson“I would lose myself in books. I would wrap myself up in characters and lands and places. My mother told me that day that once they taught me how to read, nobody would ever be able to take that away.” —Lacey Robinson Show notes: GLEAM instructionUnboundEd
In this episode, Susan Lambert sits down with all of our Science of Reading Star Award winners to discuss their journey with the Science of Reading—from the very beginning, to the work they are doing now. Susan is joined by Brittney Bills (Curriculum Coordinator, Grand Island Public Schools, Nebraska) and Alli Rice (Elementary ELA Lead, Kansas City Public Schools, Kansas), who both won our Amplifying Your District award. Susan also talks with Anila Nayak (Instructional Coach and Reading Intervention Teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District, California), winner of our Superstar award that celebrates a teacher who has made a direct impact on their students by applying the Science of Reading. Lastly, this episode features Cathy Dorbish (Principal, Austintown Elementary School, Ohio), who won the Standout School award that celebrates educators successfully shifting their school to the Science of Reading. These incredible educators share their stories of driving change, giving listeners inspiration and advice to take back to their own schools and classrooms.Quotes:“School is a happy place. You need to enjoy being with the kids and making a lasting impact that really matters.” —Anila Nayak“When you’re helping teachers and supporting other people’s classrooms, you do as much as you can.” —Alli RiceShow notes: Learn more about our winners.Read Brittney’s spotlight.Read Alli’s spotlight.Read Anila’s spotlight.Read Cathy’s spotlight.
In this episode, Susan Lambert joins senior product specialist at Amplify, Kamilah Simpson. Kamilah’s roots in education took shape when she was a Title 1 middle school intensive reading teacher and from there she became an instructional coach. Kamilah shares her knowledge with podcast listeners as she dives into teaching reading to middle school students. She gives tangible advice on how to allow for productive struggle so that students can learn through discovery. Some of the topics Kamilah highlights include complex text and rigor, learning to scaffold, the importance of having students listen to text, incorporating writing practice, and supporting students without over-supporting. Finally, Kamilah stresses the importance of motivating middle school students to read by providing texts that they can see themselves and their world in.Quotes: “Students are going to write more when they have something to write about. It goes back to that discovery. It goes back to allowing them to have a productive struggle.” —Kamilah Simpson“Are these texts that my students can find something of themselves in? Or are these just texts that have absolutely nothing to do with anything pertaining to their lives, their world, or their peers? What would motivate them?” —Kamilah Simpson
In this episode, Susan Lambert sits down with Kareem Weaver to discuss change management for educators implementing the Science of Reading. Kareem Weaver is a member of the Oakland NAACP Education Committee and a leader of the organization Full and Complete Reading is a Universal Mandate (FULCRUM). He was also an award-winning teacher and administrator in Oakland, California, and Columbia, South Carolina. Kareem discusses what the Science of Reading is at the simplest level and why it’s important that educators are undivided in backing the research. He goes on to give an impassioned plea to educators to come together, because this is an issue that impacts all kids. Kareem also highlights the importance of meeting educators where they are and realizing that change cannot happen if teachers aren’t given the tools and support they need first. Lastly, Kareem calls for systemic changes to education so that teachers can do their jobs in a way that is balanced, sustainable, and ultimately benefits the students.Quotes: “In order to save our kids and to get them competitive in the information age, they have to be able to access information. And so we’ve got to focus on literacy.” —Kareem WeaverShow Notes:FULCRUM: Full and Complete Reading is a Universal Mandate
In this episode, we join Susan Lambert as she revisits a conversation she had during season 1 with Dr. Nancy Nelson, a research assistant professor at the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon. They discuss myths and misconceptions around Response to Intervention (RTI), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and universal screening in reading instruction. Dr. Nelson also describes her work on DIBELSⓇ and explains the importance of dyslexia screeners and what tools need to be in place for RTI to work well.Quotes: “Education is one of the few things that students experience in life that has the ability to change their trajectory.” —Dr. Nancy Nelson“I feel very strongly that students get access to instruction that is delivered through evidence-based practices, because that’s what we know works.” —Dr. Nancy Nelson
In this episode, we join Susan Lambert as she talks to 10th grader Hadyn Fleming about his experiences growing up with dyslexia. Hadyn shares his story of moving around a lot and what it took in his educational journey to feel like he had the tools and resources to be successful. Hadyn openly discusses the experiences that made a difference in his life and candidly discloses what it really feels like to have dyslexia. He also shares the way that dyslexia impacts all facets of education and, conversely, how becoming a confident reader gave him increased confidence in other areas of his life. Lastly, Hadyn helps debunk dyslexia myths, and talks about how an educator's belief in their students' potential is essential to student success.Quote: “Give us the opportunity to be great and we will not disappoint you.” —Hadyn FlemingShow Notes:Rocky Mountain Camp for Kids with Dyslexia
In this episode, we join Susan Lambert as she talks to Ricky Robertson about building systems of support for students impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the educators who work with them. Ricky is an educator, author, and consultant who has worked with alternative and traditional schools. The episode focuses first on how teachers can prioritize their own self-care and why it is essential in order to care for students. Ricky then goes into explaining what ACEs are and the ways that fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses can manifest in the classroom. Lastly, they go into explaining resilience and how routine and relationships help build a foundation for resilience—ending on a note of encouragement to educators that their investment is never wasted. Quote:"Books have been some of my most meaningful companions … there’s a form of attachment that can occur between a reader and a story or a book that can actually be a safe space of refuge." — Ricky Robertson Show Notes:Teach for Trust - Ricky RobertsonBuilding Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences by Ricky Robertson, Victoria E. Romero, and Amber WarnerRicky Robertson: Adverse Childhood Experiences Webinar [Video/Webinar]Adverse Childhood Experiences: Trauma-Informed Strategies for Teacher and Student Well-Being [Video/Webinar]
In this episode, we join Susan Lambert as she rewinds the tape and highlights some of the standout learning moments that have occurred throughout this season of the podcast. Guests like Sue Pimentel, Julie Washington, Nadine Gaab, and more have all taught us invaluable lessons about the Science of Reading. You’ll hear top takeaways from each of their episodes as they cover topics such as literacy accelerators, learning to read digitally versus in print, teaching reading to multi-language learners, dialectical variety, and so much more.Quotes: "My gratitude extends to these amazing guests who are helping us become more informed about the complexities and realities of learning to read."Show notes:Podcast Episode 5: Sue PimentelReading as Liberation—An Examination of the Research Base by Sue Pimentel, Meredith Liben, and Student Achievement PartnersPodcast Episode 4: Lauren Trakhman & Patricia Alexander (UMD)Podcast Episode 7: Julie WashingtonPodcast Episode 8: Elsa Cárdenas-HaganPodcast Episode 9: Nadine Gaab
In this episode, Susan Lambert joins Dr. Nadine Gaab to discuss dyslexia and the developmental progression of the brain and behavior of students as they learn to read. Dr. Gaab, an Associate Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focuses on both typical and atypical learning trajectories from infancy to adulthood, with a special emphasis on language and reading development and the role of the environment in shaping these trajectories. In this episode, Dr. Gaab provides further insight into these developmental trajectories as they relate to early intervention for at-risk students. She differentiates between early diagnosis of dyslexia versus early identification of at-risk students. Adding nuance and complexity to the discussion of dyslexia, Dr. Gaab emphasizes the ways educators can ensure that all students experience the joy of learning to read.Quote:“We want to make sure that we find everyone who is struggling with learning to read and make sure that everyone gets to experience the joy of learning to read.“ —Dr. Nadine GaabShow Notes:Gaab Lab website Gaab Lab - myths about dyslexia , by Nadine Gaab National Center for Improving LiteracyVideo - How the brain learns to read by Nadine Gaab Tracing the Roots of Language and LiteracyReading to Rewire 
In this episode, Susan Lambert is joined by Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities presented when teaching multilingual learners how to read. Dr. Cárdenas-Hagan is a bilingual speech language pathologist and a certified academic language therapist. She is also the director of Valley Speech Language and Learning Center in Brownsville, Texas. She discusses how teachers can make connections between students’ home languages and English in order to celebrate their language and give them new tools to better understand English. She stresses the importance of teachers educating themselves on their students’ home languages so they can spot orthographic and phonological similarities and differences. Lastly, she highlights the importance of educators collaborating for the success of the students.Quotes: “The more we’re able to read, the more we’re able to learn.“—Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan “Sometimes as teachers, we feel so overwhelmed with, “Oh, I don't know that language. How in the world am I going to introduce a whole new thing?” Instead we should be starting to understand connections.”—Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan Show Notes:Literacy Foundations for English Learners: A Comprehensive Guide to Evidence-Based Instruction by Elsa Cárdenas-HaganPresentation: Making Connections for Structured Literacy Instruction Among English LearnersReading SOS Special Video Series: Expert Answers to Family Questions About ReadingOnline book study of Literacy Foundations for English Learners By Dr. Elsa Cá
In this episode, Susan Lambert is joined by Dr. Julie Washington to discuss linguistic variety and dialects as difference, not error, and how to best support all students as they learn to read. Dr. Washington, professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and a speech-language pathologist, offers practical advice for educators teaching reading to children who don’t use general American English and discusses how to do so in a way that respects students' community languages and dialects. She reminds educators that students rise or fall to the expectations set for them, and encourages educators to remember that if they embrace language variety as something that needs to be understood and incorporated into developing successful readers, they will develop successful readers.Quotes:“Teachers need to know about the language variety that their students are speaking.” —Dr. Julie Washington“Educating yourself as a teacher and recognizing where there is variety and difference and not error is critical for how you'll respond to it.” —Dr. Julie WashingtonShow Notes:Teaching Reading to African American Children by Julie A. Washington and Mark S. SeidenbergCultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad
In this episode, Susan Lambert joins elementary educator Lindsay Kemeny for a conversation about her journey of discovery with the Science of Reading. A current second grade teacher with ten years of experience in elementary education, Lindsay Kemeny has been published in the Reading League Journal and spoken alongside literacy experts like Emily Hanford. In this episode, Lindsay discusses how she processed her shock and guilt at realizing she’d never been taught how to properly teach reading. She also discusses the journey she took as a mother and an educator when her son was diagnosed with severe dyslexia alongside depression, and how that inspired her to dive into what is needed for good literacy instruction and what students with learning disabilities need. Listeners will also hear stories from additional educators from across the country about how the Science of Reading has transformed their classrooms.Show Notes:The Learning Spark blogSink or Swim: The Appearance of Reading by Lindsay KemenyQuotes:“The ability to read is so tightly connected to our self-esteem.” —Lindsay Kemeny “I love the phrase we have in the Science of Reading community: Know better, do better.” —Lindsay Kemeny Content Warning:CW // depression, suicideThis episode includes discussion of depression and suicidal thoughts, specifically as it impacts students with learning disabilities. This is a very sensitive but important topic that impacts educators, parents, and students alike. It is also a pivotal part of today’s guest’s story. We understand that not everyone is in a place to listen to today’s episode and we look forward to having you with us next week. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. For additional resources, please visit:
Comments (2)

Michelle Whalen Henderson

This podcast was outstanding!

Jan 20th

reza alipour

wow. it changed my whole process of learneng english

Mar 15th
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