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Literacy Talks

Education Podcasts

Welcome to Literacy Talks, a podcast series from Reading Horizons, where reading momentum begins. Each episode features our trio of literacy champions: Stacy Hurst, an assistant professor of reading at Southern Utah University and Chief Academic Advisor at Reading Horizons; Donell Pons, a dyslexia specialist, educator, presenter, and writer, who now works with adults who struggle with reading; Lindsay Kemeny, an innovative, dedicated elementary teacher who is a CERI certified Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher. Each episode mixes just the right blend of humor, hope, and humanity. It’s a conversation among friends, always mixed with practical literacy strategies, powerful tips, and a real passion for teachers and students alike. Listen, laugh, and learn with Literacy Talks, brought to educators everywhere by Reading Horizons.

Location:

United States

Description:

Welcome to Literacy Talks, a podcast series from Reading Horizons, where reading momentum begins. Each episode features our trio of literacy champions: Stacy Hurst, an assistant professor of reading at Southern Utah University and Chief Academic Advisor at Reading Horizons; Donell Pons, a dyslexia specialist, educator, presenter, and writer, who now works with adults who struggle with reading; Lindsay Kemeny, an innovative, dedicated elementary teacher who is a CERI certified Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher. Each episode mixes just the right blend of humor, hope, and humanity. It’s a conversation among friends, always mixed with practical literacy strategies, powerful tips, and a real passion for teachers and students alike. Listen, laugh, and learn with Literacy Talks, brought to educators everywhere by Reading Horizons.

Language:

English


Episodes

All the Buzz from Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning 2024

2/21/2024
Whether you attended the Plain Talk 2024 Conference or wish you did, this episode is a whirlwind wrap-up of the event. From our hosts’ responses to several keynote presentations to quick summaries of the breakout sessions that made an impact, you’ll get the inside story about how the literacy community embraces science of reading instruction. You’ll also hear about new research and how this data can impact educators’ practice. From great takeaway phrases like “We need a call to curiosity…” to “One caring adult makes all the difference…” you’ll get post-conference perspectives that will fuel your professional learning. So sit back and enjoy an auditory field trip to #PlainTalkNOLA 2024. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:32:34

A Big Conversation about Small Group Instruction

2/7/2024
There is new interest in small group instruction as a key component of early literacy learning. Some educators are talking about skipping the small groups. Others have important ideas about making small group instruction better and more effective. In this episode, our hosts explore strategies and tactics for organizing, supporting, and evaluating small group instructional time. From carefully grouping students as their skills grow to using technology and audiobooks, this in-depth look at small groups will give every educator new ideas and important insights into making small groups BIG contributors to student progress. You may even want to gather a small group of colleagues to listen to this episode! Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:01:00:09

Valuable Words About Vocabulary, with Special Guest Dr. Elfrieda Hiebert

1/24/2024
Season 5 of Literacy Talks begins with a visit from special guest Dr. Elfrieda “Freddie” Hiebert, noted researcher, educator, author, and president and CEO of TextProject, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on bringing beginning and struggling readers to high levels of literacy using a variety of strategies and tools, particularly the texts used for reading instruction. In this episode, our hosts explore how small changes in teaching vocabulary and text complexity can lead to big differences in students’ literacy growth. From helping students unlock the treasure box of vocabulary to remembering that language and literacy are always about meaning, this episode invites educators to the world of words and enriching literacy instruction. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:50:08

Season’s Greetings and Literacy for All

12/13/2023
As the saying goes, “That’s a wrap!” This episode closes Season 4 of Literacy Talks. Our listening audience has grown remarkably, and we’re grateful to every educator who tunes in to share the gift of literacy with us and our special guests. Join our trio of terrific literacy leaders, Stacy Hurst, Lindsay Kemeny, and Donell Pons, for a retrospective look at the season’s most memorable guests and topics. From the launch of Lindsay’s new book, 7 Mighty Moves, to our groundbreaking four-part series that unpacks the seminal work on ending the reading wars by authors Castles, Rastle, and Nation, you’ll pick up highlights and nuggets worth remembering. We’ll also turn our focus forward to help teachers keep the reading momentum going strong in the run-up to and beyond the winter break. In that spirit, you’ll hear some unforgettable and inspirational thoughts about the importance of everyone who teaches students to read. Join us for some joy and affirmation, and watch for announcements of Season 5 coming soon! Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:33:26

Writing: Rethinking How We Build the Foundation

11/29/2023
How can we encourage young learners to become confident writers? It’s a question every elementary classroom teacher continues to ponder. In this episode of Literacy Talks, writing takes center stage as our hosts explore how to rethink writing workshop strategy and transform it so students can build a solid foundation for writing—from the basics of letter formation to the creativity that comes from expressing and communicating ideas. Like early reading instruction, early writing instruction benefits from explicit, systematic methods, with writing skills developing in tandem with reading. If you’re looking for effective ideas for building writing skills as part of everyday literacy instruction, this episode will give you a wealth of ideas and inspiration. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:35:28

The Write Stuff: Handwriting Instruction and Why It Matters for Literacy

11/15/2023
Students’ ability to write fluently is important for literacy success. This episode tackles how we can confidently and carefully teach handwriting so students can make critical connections between the shape of letters, the construction of words, and the meaning of their writing and reading. From helping young learners write legibly to building knowledge of the alphabet, this episode will give every educator new ways to think about writing automaticity and fluency. Our terrific hosts share tips, tricks, and resources they turn to as they teach handwriting to students and educators alike. So pop in those earbuds and get ready to take notes about teaching students to write in this episode of Literacy Talks! Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:38:24

ICYMI: The Reading League Conference 2023

11/8/2023
The Reading League Conference 2023 was a high-energy, high-impact event, and our three Literacy Talks hosts were there. This episode voices their observations on the conference’s many noteworthy sessions, key takeaways, and new insights about research and classroom practice. From Kareem Weaver’s unforgettable message of love to standout sessions from the profession’s leading researchers and practitioners, including Katie Pace Miles, Dr. Tiffany Hogan, Steve Dykstra, and more, this episode delivers a recap of one of the year’s most important science of reading events. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:33:12

Can We End “the Reading Wars?” Part Four—Comprehension Takes Center Stage

10/25/2023
With this episode of Literacy Talks, our literacy experts wrap up a four-part mini-series exploring the article Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition from Novice to Expert by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation. The trio shines a spotlight on the complex, multi-faceted nature of reading comprehension and how both decoding and linguistic comprehension come together as students learn to understand written language. Listeners will gain helpful insight into the layers of skills students need to know and master so they can construct meaning from text. And, of course, there’s a lively conversation about how to apply this information in the classroom so student reading proficiency soars. Don’t miss this opportunity to understand more about the critical path to comprehension. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:52:46

Can We End “the Reading Wars?” Part Three—What is Skilled Word Reading?

10/18/2023
“There’s more to learning to read than phonics…” This statement is true, but without phonics at the core of foundational literacy, the progression from beginning reading to fluent reading is at risk. In this episode of Literacy Talks, our three hosts look at skilled word reading and how the process develops in children. From decoding to spelling, from spelling to sound, and then from sound to meaning, skilled word reading takes both experience and time with text. The answer? It’s not either/or. It’s and! The article “Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert” by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation provides important research data and practical examples of explicit and sequential ways to ensure students build orthographic knowledge. They help make it all classroom-friendly and practical, which benefits students, educators, and families alike. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:48:44

Can We End “the Reading Wars?” Part Two—Cracking the Alphabetic Code

10/11/2023
This episode focuses on cracking the alphabetic code in part two of studying the article Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation. The discussion emphasizes the significance of spoken language comprehension for young learners and the crucial role of engaging students in the writing system in connecting spoken and written language. Debunking myths about phonics and highlighting the years of practice and instruction needed for reading proficiency, this episode serves as a comprehensive guide where research meets classroom practice. Let’s explore this crucial intersection together in Literacy Talks. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:44:17

Can We End “the Reading Wars?” Part One of a Four-Part Article Study

10/4/2023
Whether you participate in more formal professional learning communities or informal study groups with colleagues, you know the power of sharing and discussing articles and information that are important, thought-provoking, and meaningful. In this episode of Literacy Talks, we launch a four-part conversation centered on the article Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert by Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle, and Kate Nation. Our hosts will dive deep into this seminal work, discussing why they find it so impactful and why they recommend it to the science of reading enthusiasts and skeptics alike. It’s like a book club meeting and a professional learning experience all rolled into one. The first episode of this mini-series looks at the article’s opening section, including the importance of reading proficiently, the genesis of “the reading wars,” and the authors’ definition of reading along the way. Join the journey and invite your colleagues for a close look at this critical, robust review of how we can truly help all students read proficiently. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:38:23

A Mighty Moving Episode With Lindsay Kemeny

9/20/2023
This installment of Literacy Talks features and celebrates the publication of our own Lindsay Kemeny’s new bestselling book, 7 Mighty Moves: Research-Backed, Classroom-Tested Strategies to Ensure K-to-3 Reading Success, from Scholastic. It’s an opportunity to hear how Lindsay, a first-grade reading teacher and popular presenter, decided to write the book while giving listeners an inside look at her writing process. Most importantly, you’ll get a preview of the book’s content and its unique features, including images and videos from Lindsay’s classroom demonstrating specific foundational literacy strategies and an accessible “can-do” approach to helping teachers put the science of reading research into classroom practice. Spend a little time with some of the brightest voices in literacy teaching and learning and come away inspired and energized. Tune in to this mighty moving episode of Literacy Talks! Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:37:22

The Story Gets Better With Special Guest Emily Hanford

9/6/2023
In this episode of Literacy Talks, the trio excitedly welcomes Emily Hanford, the award-winning journalist and media producer whose work and Sold a Story podcast have changed the literacy landscape. You’ll hear Emily talk about her career reporting on education and how she uncovered problems in reading instruction, which were, in her words, hiding in plain sight. Her work has enlightened a growing audience of educators, parents, community members, policymakers, and more. She’s forthright and engaging, and she’s helped thousands of people understand more about the science of reading and the importance of putting that research into practice. Don’t miss this special, must-hear episode of Literacy Talks. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:45:14

We’ll Level With You: Unpacking the Reading Level Research

8/30/2023
In this episode of Literacy Talks, our trio of literacy experts unpacks all the information first introduced in Episode 3 of this season, featuring special guest Dr. Matt Burns. Why? Because the conversations surrounding reading levels, assessments, and the unwavering pursuit of reading proficiency are pivotal. From underscoring the importance of informal observations, pre-teaching, and scaffolding text, hear how frontline classroom teachers, reading coaches, and administrators can change how they think about reading levels and help students access all of the instructional information and resources they need to grow as readers and learners. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:35:23

On Levels: A Candid Conversation with Guest Dr. Matt Burns

8/23/2023
Classroom teachers, families, reading coaches, and, most importantly, students have all experienced reading levels. In this compelling episode of Literacy Talks, special guest Dr. Matt Burns shares his research and insights and their application to literacy learning, extra support, and growth. It’s a candid and refreshing look at assessment, measurement, and the changes in how the profession can challenge the whole notion of reading levels. This is an episode that just might change your thinking! Tune in and learn about the new ways of assessing and, most of all, growing students’ reading abilities. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:52:32

The Facts Matter: Data and Insights to Guide Your Back-to-School Approaches

8/16/2023
How many times have you heard the phrase, “Get real”? This episode extends our back-to-school conversation and focuses on the data and real-time information that will help teachers create classrooms that are places of success for every student. From recognizing that nearly a third of all fourth graders score below basic in reading, with another third at very basic levels, to early assessments that will identify those students who need extra support, this episode will “get real” about supporting striving readers from the first weeks of school forward. The conversation stretches from early grades through upper elementary, middle, and high school, emphasizing building strong reading and writing foundational skills in the K–3 years. It’s an urgent, important message full of optimism as our hosts look at the tools, supports, and knowledge that will lead to literacy. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:38:29

Welcome Back…to School!

8/9/2023
Whether you’re teaching for the first time or a seasoned classroom educator, the words ‘back to school’ always signal excitement, energy, and new enthusiasm for the year ahead. As we launch season 4 of Literacy Talks, our trio explores ideas and strategies to create classroom, at-home, and tutoring environments that support readers and reading. You’ll pick up helpful tips for classroom setup. You’ll understand why classroom routines are critical from the first day forward, and more about building relationships that help students feel comfortable and open to learning. Listen to this episode and discover the wit and wisdom of teachers who have “been there” and are here now to welcome every educator back to school! Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:30:08

Lights, Camera, Literacy! Must-Watch Films about the Need to Read

6/7/2023
Pop some popcorn. Find a comfy couch. Settle in and listen to this episode of Literacy Talks as our terrific trio shares a lineup of films about literacy. From The Right to Read to Blame It On Gutenberg, there are new and now classic films about the critical importance of literacy that you’ll want to watch. In this episode, our trio shares their responses to the movies and why they believe it’s important for educators, parents, students, and the community to see them. From sparking meaningful discussions to deepening our shared understanding of the struggle people face when they cannot read, these films build awareness, encourage activism, and reinforce every educator’s role in ensuring all children can read. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:41:33

When Students Need More: Techniques and Triumphs

5/23/2023
Every educator can relate to this episode as it delves into the complex issue of students encountering difficulties in reading. Our podcast hosts approach this issue through various lenses, revisiting the essentials of effective reading instruction, highlighting the significance of diagnostic assessments, and emphasizing the importance of early identification of learning gaps. This episode underlines the value of structured literacy, setting priorities, and understanding students at a personal level. Listen to gain helpful strategies to devise, implement, and modify instruction for your students, converting challenges into stepping stones toward success. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:34:19

Set for Variability: Making Irregular Words a Regular Success

5/10/2023
Words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently depending on their context can be perplexing for readers of all ages. What can you do? The answer comes from helping young readers build the skill known as set for variability. This episode of Literacy Talks unpacks this essential literacy skill and distinguishes it from the notion of guessing at the right pronunciation. It requires students to build cognitive flexibility and is a valuable predictor of a student’s word reading ability. Once students recognize that letters can have more than one sound and begin to address the mismatch between the sound of a decoded word and the words they recognize and know, they’re building the critical skill of set for variability. Subscribe to our Literacy Talks podcast digest and never miss an episode! We’ll send you summaries of every session, links to the resources discussed on each show, and some extra goodies so that your learning never stops. Subscribe to our podcast digest. Download the new Reading Horizons Discovery Product Guide. Access the show notes. Read the transcripts.

Duration:00:36:54