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With Utah's recent passing of Senate Bill 127, a sweeping piece of literacy legislation, many are turning to the state as a model of what statewide implementation of the Science of Reading can look like. In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Throndsen, Director of Teaching and Learning at Utah State Board of Education, joins Susan to tell the story of how Senate Bill 127 came to be and how they are continuing to make changes to schools across Utah. Together, they discuss what the bill included, the opportunities and challenges the bill provides when it comes to implementation, and advice for other states looking to enact literacy legislation. Throndsen also discusses her experience as a teacher and her journey with the Science of Reading.Additional resources:Utah’s S.B. 127 Early Literacy Outcomes ImprovementWestern States Take Aim at Early Literacy During 2022 Legislative Sessions (The Council of State Governments West)Quotes:"Our students are the state's greatest asset, and we need to invest in them with all the energy and knowledge we have to do our best to serve them with urgency, compassion, and high expectations." —Jennifer Throndsen"If kids can't read, that really keeps them from accessing other content areas like science, social studies, and being able to engage in story problems in mathematics." —Jennifer Throndsen"Being able to read is today's civil right's movement." —Jennifer Throndsen"With requirements comes resistance. No matter how great the opportunity is." —Jennifer Throndsen
In this episode, we take you behind the scenes of the smash hit foundational reading series The Reading League’s “Reading Buddies,” aimed at students in pre-K through third grade. Susan is joined by Andrea Dotto and Brendan Malafronte—artists, performers, and co-founders of children's story hour and media company Dusty & Dott—as well as "Reading Buddies" executive producer Toni Ann Walsh. Together, the four of them discuss how the show started and how Andrea and Brendan got up to speed on the Science of Reading, and share tips for educators and caregivers on how to make reading instruction fun for kids.Additional resources:YouTube ChannelWebsite: FacebookInstagramThe Reading League websiteDusty and Dott websiteQuotes:“Our mission is to educate educators on the Science of Reading because we believe that if educators have that knowledge, they can transform kids' lives.”  —Toni Ann Walsh“Little by little you can learn to read, you can do something hard and we can do it together.” —Andrea Dotto“As a storyteller, I can go on a stage and tell a story and know, ‘Oh, that song made somebody connect to a memory,’ or ‘These two hours, they got to escape whatever is bothering them at home.’ That escapism is special and magical. But with reading buddies you get escapism and then you also get impact.” —Andrea Dotto“God bless teachers. They're incredible. And we are here to help you continue to be incredible. We're here to give you tools to excite your students and just complement everything that you are doing.” —Brendan Malafronte
Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson, Deputy Chief of Curriculum and Instruction in the School District of Philadelphia, has played an integral role leading and sustaining a transition to the Science of Reading in the Philadelphia public school district. But making such a change across a large district is difficult. In this episode, Dr. Francis-Thompson (who goes by Dr. Ny) talks with Susan about Philadelphia’s experience. She also talks about her own experience learning about the Science of Reading, and offers tips to other district-level leaders and wisdom about providing all students with the liberation that comes through reading and leading—all with love at the center.Additional Resources:Dr. Ny’s LinkedIn profileFocused implementation: Doing less to do more with Dr. Doug Reeves—Podcast episode2021 The Philadelphia Citizen story: “A Better Way to Teach Reading” 2021 Chalkbeat Philadelphia story: “Just 32% of Philadelphia third graders read on grade level. Freedom Schools Literacy Academy could be a model to change that.”A 2017 Accountability Review Council report on Philadelphia: “Promoting the Science of Reading Instruction in Philadelphia Public Elementary Schools: Early Implementation Lessons”Video of Dr. Ny speaking: “Equity in Curriculum”Dr. Ny’s 2017 dissertation: “Beyond the Pink Sand: Case Studies of Experiences of Multi-Tier System of Supports Implementation in the Bermuda Public School System”Quotes:“I have never met a student that did not want to learn how to read or a family that did not understand the importance of their children knowing how to read.” —Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“We have to listen to our young people in order to be able to move with that sense of urgency.” —Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“Liberation is connected to our students being literate… In order for our students to truly be free, we [need to] understand the power that reading has in their future.”—Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“We have to remember who we are serving and why we are serving them.” —Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“A lot of times when you’re in a large system and you’re leading a large system, it can become very robotic-like a machine. You do this, you get this, you do this, you get this. But there’s a human aspect that if you have not considered that human aspect, you could very well end up in the same place that you’re trying to move away from.”—Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“And while it’s a five-year strategic plan, we do have a sense of urgency and I’m sure within that there are gonna be benchmarks and hundred-day plans and smaller plans to make sure that we are actually doubling down again on the things that truly matter, that are gonna lead, outcomes for our students here in the school district.”—Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson“If we’re only in the business of educating some students, then what are we really doing? It’s important to look at the students that are not benefitting and really identifying the things that work for that population of students rather than continuing with practices that aren’t meeting the needs of the students we’re serving.” —Dr. Nyshawana Francis-Thompson
As the former chief academic officer at the Louisiana Department of Education, Rebecca Kockler made it her mission to empower districts to select higher quality materials. This involved a thorough and rigorous curriculum review, and allowing teachers to choose the program they wanted once they knew exactly what they were getting. This work built Kockler’s case for focusing on quality curricula as a vital part of student success. Using Kockler’s work in Louisiana as a case study, this episode shows why state governments should focus on logistics, procurement, and equipping educators with the information they need to make the best decision for their students.Additional Resources:Louisiana Department of Education’s instructional materials review Education Next: Louisiana Threads the Needle on Ed ReformBio on the the Advanced Education Research and Development Fund (AERDF) websiteUS News: A Compelling Case for CurriculumQuotes:“It was really our teachers who led so much of the charge to say, ‘No, this is what we want. We believe kids should be held to high expectations. We believe they're capable, we believe they deserve it.’”– Rebecca Kockler, Program Director of Reading Reimagined within AERDF, CEO and Founder of Illuminate Literacy, and former Assistant Superintendent of Academics at the Louisiana Department of Education
Mimi Stewart is a state senator from New Mexico and previously worked as a public school elementary special education teacher for thirty years, with an expertise in reading literacy. Her unique background has turned into a passion for and a history of championing educational policies as a legislator. This episode focuses on how state government and state legislation can work to improve literacy instruction. She takes us through the process of creating a piece of literacy legislation, New Mexico Senate Bill 398, which passed in 2019. Sen. Stewart also shares the latest on that bill and also talks about what she’s now focusing on from her place in the legislature—like changing that way we teach teachers from a university level.Additional Resources:New Mexico Senate Bill 398Mimi Stewart - TwitterPeople for Mimi Stewart - Facebook PageMimi Stewart - WebsiteAmerican Educator, Spring/Summer 1998National Conference of State Legislatures’ “No Time To Lose” ReportThe May Center for Learning - WebsiteQuote:“Think about how many young kids in school right now we are not reaching and that have that feeling that they're dumb and they can't get it. I had one kid say to me, Ms. Stewart, I think there's just a secret code. And I said to him, You are right. There is a secret code. It's called the alphabetic code, and you can learn that easily.” – Mimi Stewart, New Mexico State Senator, representing New Mexico’s District 17
Equal parts educational leader, educator, and life-long learner of reading science, Mitchell Brookins has leveraged his passion and dedication to affect change in the lives of the students and teachers he works with, as well as the many educators he has inspired online. In this episode, he opens up about the emotional journey he took—from realizing everything he’d been doing wasn’t working and that he’d never actually learned how to teach kids to read, to seeking out reading research and encountering the Science of Reading—a path that brought unparalleled transformation and success to his schools. Mitchell talks about how he is still learning  and keeping students at the forefront of what he does every day, ending on a powerful story of a student who changed his life forever.Additional Resources:The National Reading Panel Report: Practical Advice for TeachersMitchell Brookins - TwitterScanning Pens webinar: Learning to Read & How to Support Older LearnersFree Poster: Why are you thankful for literacy?Quotes: “My calling is so that children can one day stand on their own without scaffolds, that children will one day reap the benefits that literacy is liberty, that children will one day be able to teach someone else the power that only literacy can bring.” – Mitchell Brookins
Community and education activist Naomi Peña and clinical psychologist Dr. Akeela Azcuy knew that, as moms of struggling readers themselves, they had the opportunity to advocate for not only their own children but all children. These two leaders and changemakers founded Literacy Academy Collective with the goal of one day creating a stand-alone New York City public school devoted to educating children with language-based learning disabilities as well as struggling readers. In this episode, our guests share their own families’ experiences with dyslexia, how that impacted their activism, and how listeners at home can effect grassroots change in their own communities.Additional Resources:Literacy Academy Collective homepage “Parents play a major role in new dyslexia pilot program”—NY1“The rise and fall of vibes-based literacy”—The New Yorker“In the fight over how to teach reading, this guru makes a major retreat”—The New York TimesBecome an Amplify Tutor—Don’t miss this opportunity to make an impact in young readers' lives!Quotes:“Leaders tend to forget that you get more out of parents if you collaborate with them, if you're honest.” — Naomi Peña“With the level and degree of training, understanding, and privilege that I had, it was still – and still continues to be – an overwhelming battle to get your child the services that they need.” — Akeela Azcuy
As an educator, researcher, author, and leadership consultant—there is little within the education world that Doug Reeves has not done. Twice named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series, Doug has written more than forty books and joins Susan to discuss one in particular—Building to Impact. Together they dive into what evidence-based implementation looks like including the importance of de-implementation. Doug provides tangible advice for educators on what success looks like, how to define it for your school, and the ways to make it happen by focusing on one thing at a time until it becomes part of your school’s culture.Show Notes:Join us for our webinar series all about building a Science of Reading ecosystem. At our next session on Oct. 10, Dr. Jan Hasbrouck will join us for a webinar on Dyslexia Awareness Month. Additional resources:Building to Impact: The 5D Implementation Playbook for EducatorsFearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Learning, Teaching, and Leading100-Day Leaders: Turning Short-Term Wins Into Long-Term Success in SchoolsDoug Reeves - HomepageCreative Leadership - WebsiteDoug Reeves - Twitter“The Engagement Illusion” by Doug ReevesWebinar: “Fearless Schools”Quotes:“When was the last time in education, anybody heard of de-implementation? All we do is pile one thing on top of another, on top of another, and then we don't then, then we wonder why it didn't work.” —Doug Reeves“If you're not gonna have deep implementation, which requires a level of focus and allocation of time and resources, then don't bother.” —Doug Reeves“You have to have a singular focus and, and it's gotta be sustained year after year after year until it becomes part of your culture.” —Doug Reeves“You have to distinguish between an initiative, something that is new, and culture, something that's part of what we do every day and that is embedded. That is more important.” —Doug Reeves“The problem is this. If you only look at the results, then you don't know what caused it. Somebody has to look at underlying causes.” —Doug Reeves“It's really important for administrators to say, hey, I can deal with some chaos. I can deal with students making mistakes. That's real learning.” —Doug Reeves
In this episode, we dive deep into the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s report card. Chester Finn, Jr., author of the new book Assessing the Nation's Report Card: Challenges and Choices for NAEP, joins Susan to talk about the NAEP assessment. They discuss how the assessment works, what it is and isn’t, and what benefits and opportunities it provides as the achievement gap continues to grow.Show Notes:Assessing the Nation's Report Card: Challenges and Choices for NAEP by Chester Finn, Jr.Want to hang out with Susan and chat live about this episode of this podcast? Don’t miss our next “Off the Pod” FB live on our Community Facebook Group, where you can ask Susan your questions in real time!Also, join Susan on Sept. 26, as she kicks off a webinar series all about building a Science of Reading ecosystem. The first session will focus on demystifying the Science of Reading and MTSS. Additional resources:PolicyEd video: “Overhauling the Nation’s Report Card” | Perspectives on PolicyFlypaper: “Assessing the Nation’s Report Card: Challenges and choices for NAEP”Education Next piece: “It felt like guerrilla warfare”Webinar: What you may not know—but should—about the Nation's Report CardChester Finn bio at Thomas B. Fordham InstituteQuotes:“For this to work, we need both great teachers and great curricula.”   —Chester Finn“The single most important thing NAEP cannot do [is that] it cannot in any definitive way explain why scores are what they are or are rising or falling.”   —Chester Finn
In our kick-off episode for season six, host Susan Lambert is joined by podcast alum Margaret Goldberg, the co-founder of the Right to Read Project.  They discuss the new, animated Science of Reading series Brain Builders, and how this free tool can be shared directly with students and with their caregivers. Importantly, Margaret also elevates the need to focus on the comprehension strand of the Science of Reading.Show Notes: Right to Read ProjectBrain Builders animated videosBrain Builders: VIP launch partyKnowledge at the Center of English Language Arts Instruction by Gina Cerveti and Freddy HeibertQuotes: “We looked at Scarborough's Rope. If we're really focused just on word recognition, we're not going to get all of our kids to where they need and deserve to be." —  Margaret Goldberg“It's never too late to learn how to read. We can get you there.”   —  Margaret Goldberg
In this episode, Susan Lambert was joined by Dr. 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. On the podcast, she and Susan talked about 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 stressed the importance of teachers educating themselves on their students’ home languages so they can spot orthographic and phonological similarities and differences, and highlighted the importance of educator collaboration to drive student success.Show notes: Literacy Foundations for English Learners: A Comprehensive Guide to Evidence-Based Instruction by Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-HaganPresentation: “Making Connections for Structured Literacy Instruction Among English Learners”Reading SOS special video series: Expert Answers to Family Questions About ReadingOnline book study of Literacy Foundations for English Learners By Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-HaganMylanguages.orgPodcast surveyQuotes:“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 
Dr. Nancy Nelson, assistant professor of special education at Boston University, discusses myths and misconceptions around RTI, MTSS, and assessment screening in reading and mathematics instruction. She highlights what tools need to be in place for the RTI system to be implemented well, her work on DIBELS®, and the importance of dyslexia screeners.Show notes: DIBELS® at the University of OregonPodcast SurveyQuotes:“Relying on data allows us to engage in a systematic process to implement systems to meet the needs of all kids.”           —Dr. Nancy Nelson
Join Sonia Cabell, associate professor at the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, as she shares findings from her research trials on content-rich literacy curricula and discusses whether activating students’ background knowledge alongside explicit phonics instruction is more effective than the traditional approaches. She also describes what constitutes “compelling evidence” in the Science of Reading and explains why students need to interact with both written and spoken language while learning to read.Show notes: Florida Center for Reading ResearchCore Knowledge Language ArtsWriting Into Literacy TEDx Talk by Sonia CabellNational Reading Panel Report 2000EdWeek Science of Reading article by Sonia CabellSpecial Issue: The Science of Reading: Supports, Critiques, and QuestionsLive with the Author interviewThe Power of Conversations: Building Primary Grade Students’ Vocabulary and Comprehension in a Changing Educational Landscape by Sonia CabellTwitter: @SoniaCabellQuotes:“The knowledge that you have about a particular subject matters for your reading comprehension.”        —Sonia Cabell“When I think about content-rich English Language Arts, I think about how we can integrate science and social studies into the language arts in ways that make sense.”     —Sonia Cabell
Jacquey Barber, director emerita of The Learning Design Group at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, joins the podcast to discuss her research on the symbiotic relationship between literacy and science, as well as what educators should be looking for in high-quality, literacy-rich science curricula. She also goes into strategies for engaging students, including the do, talk, read, write model, then ends the episode by highlighting the many ways science supports reading.Show notes:UCLA CRESSTThe Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System—and How to Fix It by Natalie WexlerNo More Science Kits or Texts in Isolation by Jacqueline Barber and Gina Cervetti.Podcast Discussion GuideQuotes:“Literacy is a domain in search of content; science is a domain in need of communication.” —Jacquey Barber“Develop opportunities for students to learn to read, write, and talk like scientists do.”—Jacquey Barber
Dr. Amy Murdoch is the assistant dean of Reading Science in the School of Education at Mount St. Joseph University. She received her doctorate in school psychology with an emphasis in early literacy from the University of Cincinnati. In this episode, she chats with Susan Lambert about creating prominent graduate and doctoral programs in the Science of Reading, and the responsibility of training the next generation of early literacy educators. She discusses how she has seen Science of Reading interest escalate, shares her hopes for the future of reading science in schools, and offers advice for those who are new to the Science of Reading and/or exploring an advanced degree rooted in reading science.Show notes: Beginning to Read by Marilyn AdamsMeaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children by Betty Hart and Todd R. RisleyProject Ready! An Early Language and Literacy Program to Close the Readiness Gap - Research articleMount St. Joseph University Reading Science ProgramCenter for Reading ScienceQuotes:"Don't do it alone, try to find community and find people you can, you know, your trusted colleagues that you can bounce ideas off of and grow your learning."—Dr. Amy Murdoch"Sometimes things are not completely clear and we need to collect more evidence in data and we do the best we can until we kind of refine a practice that we're trying to figure out, especially for children who really have significant struggles with reading."—Dr. Amy Murdoch"We're all working towards the same goal of helping all children enter the world of reading successfully and continue that path of reading successfully."—Dr. Amy Murdoch
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!
Comments (3)

Krista Redmond

Can we have the links to her published articles references in the podcast?

Aug 3rd

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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