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Science of Reading: The Podcast

Science of Reading: The Podcast delivers the latest insights from researchers and practitioners in early reading. Each episode takes a conversational approach and explores a timely topic related to the science of reading.

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Available episodes

In each episode, host Susan Lambert, Vice President of Elementary Literacy Instruction at Amplify Education, explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan has a special interest in turning theory into best practices applicable immediately in the classroom, as well as in showcasing national models of excellence in this realm. Listen and subscribe here!


Season 2, Episode 1. Confronting the data: Dr. LaTonya Goffney
Join Dr. LaTonya Goffney, Superintendent of Schools for Aldine Independent School District in Texas, as she recounts her two-year journey with her team of district educators to adopt a new early literacy curriculum. Hear how they successfully challenged the traditional adoption process, studied the science of teaching reading, analyzed student data and experiences, and developed a district-wide set of beliefs and expectations.  Listen here!


28. A look back at Season One
Join us in reflecting on Season One and preview what’s in store for an exciting Season Two. In this special episode, we visit the highlights of Season One, with key clips from Emily Hanford, Natalie Wexler, Ernesto Ortiz, David and Meredith Liben, Shawn Joseph, and other moments that inspired us and changed how we think about literacy. Listen here!


27. A conversation with Catherine Barnes
Join Dr. Catherine Barnes, CEO of Sudden Impact Solutions and leader of the Black Parents Support Networkas she addresses the shortcomings of the educational system during the pandemic in underserved communities, the need for overcoming parents’ perceptions of judgment by educators, and how educators can foster relationships with parents in order to ensure continuous learning for students during these trying times. Listen here!


26. A conversation with Daniel Willingham
Author and University of Virginia psychology professor Daniel Willingham discusses the “reading wars” (and mischaracterizations among their factions), the importance of understanding basic science to teach reading, and the variations in the implementation of the science of reading in literacy instruction across districts.  Listen here!


25. A conversation with Doug Lemov
Doug Lemov, author and managing director of Uncommon Schools, discusses the role of technology in the classroom and remote instruction, how educators should reconsider how they approach literacy, and his experience reconstructing a reading curriculum for this next phase of digital learning while holding true to the values of the science of reading. Listen here!


24. A conversation with Shawn Joseph
Educator, author, and leader Shawn Joseph, shares his passion for social justice and discusses his work advocating for equity in education, shedding light on what he calls the “silent crisis” in literacy instruction. In this episode, you’ll hear about his experience as a former superintendent of several large urban districts and learn how he fostered achievement in all of his students. Listen here!


23. A conversation with Elizabeth Salinas
Elizabeth Jiménez Salinas and host Susan Lambert discuss advocating for underrepresented ELs, improving dual language instruction, and learned passivity. She shares tips for ELs during this time and reinforces the importance of home connection and language development. Listen here!


22. A conversation with Mary Clayman
Join Mary Clayman, Director of the District of Columbia Reading Clinic, and host Susan Lambert, as Mary shares her experience founding one of the first graduate clinical practicums sponsored by a public school system and discusses how it has influenced the training of DCPS teachers and the success of students in early literacy by using the science of reading. Listen here!


21. A conversation with Jaquey Barber
Jacquey Barber, director of design & development at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. Jacquey examines her research on which instructional approach is most impactful for teaching scientific phenomena, the symbiotic relationship between literacy and science, and what educators should be looking for in high-quality science curricula. Listen here!


20. A conversation with David & Merideth Liben
David and Meredith Liben, nationally recognized reading experts and authors of Know Better, Do Better discuss their need to find evidence-based solutions, the importance of knowledge and skills instruction, and how to tackle unfinished learning in schools. Listen here!


19. A conversation with Laurence Holt
Laurence Holt, author of the Learning to Read Primers and language acquisition expert, and host Susan Lambert discuss the Simple View of Reading, how the brain rewires itself to learn how to read, and the importance of background knowledge as it relates to language comprehension. Listen here!


18. A conversation with Larry Berger
Larry Berger, CEO of Amplify, discusses the use of innovation and technology to inform teaching and learning, his new initiative called Wide Open School, and how we can step back and let this be a time of joy and creativity for kids––letting them discover a love of reading. Listen here!


17. A conversation with Freddy Hiebert
Dr. Elfrieda “Freddy” Hiebert, author and founder of the Text Project, shares insights from her research on vocabulary, the etymology of the English language, and the importance of teaching morphology to enable kids to make connections. Listen here!


16. A conversation with Jared Myracle
Jared Myracle, Chief Academic Officer of the Jackson-Madison County School System in Tennessee, shares his district’s experience in adopting the science of reading and navigating the change management process. He stresses the importance of high-quality instructional materials and implementation fidelity. Listen here!


15. Special Edition: A conversation with Ernesto Ortiz
Ernesto Ortiz, principal at an elementary school in Pennsylvania, discusses how to understand when materials are meaningfully “research-based”, how his school made the shift to the science of reading, and how he is supporting his students with remote learning resources to continue their literacy development at home. Listen here!

14. Special Edition: A conversation with David Steiner
David Steiner, Professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Education Policy at Johns Hopkins University, and Susan examine how school closures are impacting learning across the nation, how districts are responding to the rapidly-changing environment, and why maximizing our educational reach via technology should be a priority. Listen here!


13. A conversation about remote learning:
We’ve been thinking a lot about you–and our hearts go out to you during this confusing and uncertain time. Helping our students continue to learn in this unusual and unsettling situation is not easy. And here at the Science of Reading podcast, we want to do what we can to support you where we can. Listen here!


12. A conversation with Dr. Bruce McCandliss:
Susan and Dr. Bruce McCandliss, professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, chat about combining neuroscience with education. How does neuroscience help us understand the changes going on in the brain of a child learning to read? Why do some children struggle so profoundly? He shares his research into focusing students’ attention on letters and sounds versus on whole words. Listen here!


11. A conversation with Jasmine Lane:
Jasmine Lane, a high school English teacher, discusses the importance of equity in education and the disconnect between how teachers feel and what they need to do to push education forward for all students, regardless of background. She also shares how education has changed her life, how early literacy teachers made a difference for her students, and how high schoolers fill in the gaps left by things they missed early on. Listen here!



10. A conversation with Dr. Nancy Nelson:

Nancy Nelson, Research Assistant Professor at the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon, discusses myths and misconceptions around RTI, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and universal screening in reading instruction. She describes her work on DIBELS®, the importance of dyslexia screeners, and the tools that need to be in place for RTI to work well. Listen here!




9. A conversation with Dr. Carolyn Strom:

Dr. Carolyn Strom, Professor of Early Childhood Literacy and Innovation at NYU, discusses the cognitive science behind early reading. She shares her insights on the importance of neuroscience and culturally responsive teaching and dives into research Linnea Ehri’s four phases of learning how to read. Listen here!




8. A conversation with Tim Shanahan:

Reading expert Tim Shanahan discusses his view on the teaching of reading. What are the four crucial things you need to teach reading? What does it mean to really do a “close read” in literature? Listen here!



7. A conversation with Anne Lucas:

What is the missing link in reading comprehension? Anne Lucas, former curriculum director and current product manager of Amplify Reading, discusses the multifaceted nature of comprehension, why it’s so difficult to teach, a teacher’s powerful “eureka! moment,” and specific skills which, if practiced, are shown to boost comprehension. Listen here!



6. A conversation with Emily Lutrick:

Emily Lutrick, the PreK–5 Curriculum and Dyslexia Coordinator of a Texas district, examines the facts and myths of dyslexia, how early is “too early” to screen for dyslexia, and how to identify the signs and risk factors. Listen here!


5. A conversation with Lois Letchford: Lois Letchford, author of Reversed: A Memoir, shares personal accounts of her son’s struggles with learning how to read in school with dyslexia. After being told by a teacher that her son was “the worst child [she’s] ever seen in [her] 25 years of teaching,” she persisted with endless patience to help her son and began writing poems to pique his interest in reading. Where is he now? Was she successful? Listen here!


4. A conversation with Tim Rasinski: Susan and Tim Rasinski, coauthor of The Megabook of Fluency: Strategies and Texts to Engage All Readers, discuss his work at the reading clinic at Kent State University, the aspects of good fluency instruction, what constitutes fluency, and how reading speed is correlated to word recognition and automaticity. He stresses the importance of fluency and finding ways to be artful while teaching reading. Listen here!


3. A conversation with Emily Hanford: Susan sits down with Emily Hanford, education reporter and host of the Education Post podcast,and examines the big takeaways from her experience reporting on dyslexia, the patterns that emerged in her investigation, why reading instruction isn’t more aligned with the science of reading, and the evolution of whole language, balanced literacy, and phonics instruction. Listen here!


2. A conversation with Robert Pondiscio: Robert Podiscio, author of How The Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence, and the Battle Over School Choice, , shares what inspired him to embark upon his esteemed career path and how we must acknowledge and address that children come to school from different places and backgrounds. Susan and Robert discuss the latest in education reform, the knowledge gap, how it is only going to get larger as kids move through grades, the limited time we have to correct it, and how to start doing so.

Listen here!


1. A conversation with Natalie Wexler: Susan and Natalie dive into her latest book, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—And How to Fix It, and discuss the lack of equity in reading education among students, the benefits of knowledge-rich curriculum inside and beyond the classroom, why it’s important to build background knowledge while teaching foundational skills, and why professional development doesn’t seem to be making a difference and how it can be improved. Listen here!


0. About Science of Reading: The Podcast: Welcome to Science of Reading: The Podcast! We bring educators and parents the latest insights from researchers and practitioners in early reading. We believe equity in education begins with reading science. Listen here!

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