Back to School '23, Interlude Episode 2 (Part 2)

Embracing the complexity of learning to read (Part 2), with Reid Lyon

This is Part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Reid Lyon (listen to Part 1 here), one of the leading experts in reading research. After years working for and with the highest levels of the U.S. government, Dr. Lyon stepped away from working on reading research. However, in May 2023, he released his “Ten Maxims: What We’ve Learned So Far About How Children Learn to Read.” Picking up where we left off last episode, Dr. Lyon continues to expand on what we know about how children learn—and explains how much of this information was known two decades ago when he was testifying before Congress. He also goes into what he sees in the current Science of Reading landscape, what he hopes for the future, and how both of those things led to the creation of his “Ten Maxims.”

Meet our guest(s):

Reid Lyon, Ph.D.

Reid Lyon is a neuroscientist and specialist in learning disorders. In 1980, he joined the faculty of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University, where he also directed the neuropsychology laboratory. He later joined the Stern Center for Language and Learning as the director of research, and the University of Vermont Medical School as a clinical associate professor of neurology. From 1992 to 2005, he served as a research neuropsychologist and chief of the Child Development and Behavior branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

After leaving the NIH, Lyon held distinguished scientist posts and professorships at the University of Texas (neuroscience) and Southern Methodist University (educational leadership). Lyon is the author or co-author of over 130 peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters addressing developmental neuroscience, learning and reading disorders/dyslexia, and the translation of science into practice and policy. He also co-authored the definition of dyslexia used at the NIH and worldwide, and was a two-time recipient of the NIH Director’s Award.

Meet our host, Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert is the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify, and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast. Her career has been focused on creating high-quality learning environments using evidence-based practices. Susan is a mom of four, a grandma of four, a world traveler, and a collector of stories.

As the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan is dedicated to turning theory into best practices that educators can put right to use in the classroom, and to showcasing national models of reading instruction excellence.


“The Science of Reading is cumulative and we’re learning all kinds of new things.” —Dr. Reid Lyon
“A more realistic look at reading is in fact to understand the complexity, but not be intimidated by it.” —Dr. Reid Lyon