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Science of Reading: The Podcast

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Science of Reading: The Podcast will deliver the latest insights from researchers and practitioners in early reading. Via a conversational approach, each episode explores a timely topic related to the science of reading.


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Science of Reading: The Podcast will deliver the latest insights from researchers and practitioners in early reading. Via a conversational approach, each episode explores a timely topic related to the science of reading.





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ML/EL E2: Nurturing multilingualism, with Jim Cummins, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus Jim Cummins, Ph.D., joins Susan Lambert from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education for an engaging conversation that explores the dynamics of language development and bilingual education, as well as the importance of a supportive learning environment for multilingual/English learners. Cummins shares stories from his extensive experience and research in the field, highlighting the cognitive benefits of bilingualism, the importance of literacy engagement, and the role of translanguaging in educational settings. He also illuminates the challenges and opportunities in fostering multilingual capabilities and underscores the value of embracing students' linguistic diversity in schools. Show notes: Language is always an asset, Translanguaging in Bilingual Education Language Friendly SchoolQuotes: “Virtually all the research highlights the importance of being in a communicative, interactive context if you want to pick up a language." —Jim Cummins, Ph.D. “There are differences between the linguistic demands of schooling and the kind of language that we use in everyday conversational context outside of school." —Jim Cummins, Ph.D. “All of these processes are amplified when there's a community of peers or people that we can discuss these ideas with, we can get feedback, we can explore ideas collectively." —Jim Cummins, Ph.D. Episode timestamps* 02:00 Introduction: Who is Jim Cummins 03:00 Personal Language Journey 10:00 Global Perspectives on Language Education 18:00 Conversion to academic language spectrum 20:00 The process of learning a second language 25:00 Language awareness 37:00 Translanguaging and Language Policy 43:00 Benefits of being multilingual and fostering a supportive environment 49:00 Joint statement *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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ML/EL E1: Language is always an asset, with Kajal Patel Below

To kick off our miniseries focused on how the Science of Reading serves multilingual/English learners (ML/ELs), Amplify Vice President of Biliteracy Kajal Patel Below joins Susan Lambert for a retrospective discussion of the history of literacy education through a biliteracy lens. Together, they discuss the significance of a recent joint statement put out by The Reading League and the National Committee for Effective Literacy. Below sheds light on why this statement is so monumental, and what it means for serving ML/ELs going forward. Show notes: Joint Statement from The Reading League (TRL) and the National Committee for Effective Literacy (NCEL)2006 Report: Developing Literacy in Second-Language LearnersQuotes: “It must be acknowledged that there is more scientific research, or there has been more scientific research, conducted with monolingual English-speaking children, and that additional research related to teaching literacy development for English learners and emergent bilinguals is needed to advance our understanding of their literacy development.” —Kajal Patel Below “We have an underserved area that's experiencing a massive growth in student population. And so it's really important to then focus on it. Schools are adjusting, they're quick, they're doing the best they can, but we need to be having these conversations around research [and] best practices so that we can set schools up for success and students up for success." —Kajal Patel Below “I just think we have an exciting future in this country. I was in a classroom last week—I saw some of their writing. I saw them speaking, heard them speaking in two languages fluently, easily, excitedly. I just got very excited. These kids are going to be our doctors and our teachers and our engineers and they’re bilingual or multilingual.” —Kajal Patel Below “Their language is an asset, whatever language it is and however much it is.” —Kajal Patel Below Episode timestamps* 5:00 Introduction: Who is Kajal Patel Below? 7:00 Terminology: Bilingual vs biliterate; Multilingual/English learners 10:00 History in the US of multilingual learners being underserved 11:00 Multilingualism as an asset 12:00 Importance of messaging 17:00 Advocates for multilingual learners and the science of reading 21:00 Concerns regarding the science of reading movement 25:00 Screening and assessment 31:00 Teacher support and need for better materials 34:00 What is the joint statement? 43:00 Hopes for the future 46:00 Why is this conversation important? *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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Sneak peek: A miniseries on multilingual and English learners

Science of Reading: The Podcast is launching a special miniseries dedicated to multilingual/English learners (ML/ELs)! Host Susan Lambert will chat with leading researchers and practitioners about how the Science of Reading supports ML/ELs and why this is so important. Through exploration of the key research and enlightening discussions, Susan and guests will discuss the optimal use of the Science of Reading to enhance students’ classroom experiences and overall learning journeys. Listen to this trailer for a sneak peek and be sure to subscribe now so you don’t miss this exclusive miniseries—the first episode is out April 30!


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Spring Rewind '24: Biliteracy and assessment, with Lillian Durán, Ph.D.

Susan Lambert joins biliteracy expert and professor 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 multilingual/English learners. 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 that often occurs when bilingual students are celebrated vs. when they are not, and the process of screening and assessment for multilingual/English learner students. Lastly, 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. Show notes: Listen:Quotes: “Language is inextricably linked to culture. We want to make sure these families and children feel valued and honored within our schools.” —Lillian Durán, Ph.D. “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.” —Lillian Durán, Ph.D.


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Spring Rewind '24: Deconstructing the Rope: Background knowledge, with Susan B. Neuman

Join Susan B. Neuman, professor of early childhood and literacy education at the Steinhardt School at New York University, in our Deconstructing the Rope series. She explains the important link between background knowledge and reading comprehension in the Science of Reading, and shares her five research-based principles to build knowledge networks in literacy instruction. She also highlights the connection between speech and reading, and previews her upcoming studies on the role of cross-media connections in children’s learning. Show notes: Changing the Odds for Children at RiskDeveloping Low-Income Children's Vocabulary and Content Knowledge through a Shared Book Reading ProgramThe Information Book Flood: Is Additional Exposure Enough to Support Early Literacy Development?Quotes: “What you’re helping children do is create a mosaic, putting all those ideas together in a knowledge network. If you don’t do it explicitly, many children cannot do it on their own.” —Susan B. Neuman “We’ve got to start early. We’ve got to start immediately, and know that children are eager to learn and use the content to engage them.” —Susan B. Neuman


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S8 E12: Language and literacy, with Catherine Snow

Catherine Snow, Ph.D., Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, joins Susan Lambert on this episode to reflect on the state of language and literacy instruction in the U.S. They begin their conversation by discussing linguistics in young children and the relationship between language and literacy, before diving into Dr. Snow’s biggest takeaways from her work on the National Research Council report, “Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children." Susan and Dr. Snow talk about building vocabulary, growing student curiosity in reading, and exposing students to academic language. Dr. Snow talks about the specific tools educators should be given for meaningful help in the classroom, shares her hopes—and fears—for the future of reading instruction in this country, and explains why she encourages teachers to let their classrooms be noisier. Show notes: National Research Council Report: Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young ChildrenReading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading ComprehensionQuotes: “Part of preventing reading difficulties means focusing on programs to ensure that all children have access to books from birth and that they have access to adults who will read those books with them and discuss them.” —Catherine Snow, Ph.D. “I see academic language and exposure to academic language as an expansion of children's language skills that both contributes to successful literacy—successful reading comprehension—and gets built through encounters with texts, but also encounters with oral activities.” —Catherine Snow, Ph.D. “Let your classroom be noisier. Let the kids be more engaged and more socially engaged, because that is actually a contribution to their language development and to their motivation to keep working.” —Catherine Snow, Ph.D. Episode timestamps* 2:00 Introduction: Who is Catherine Snow? 3:00 Linguistics in young children 6:00 What is language? 8:00 Language and its impact on literacy 14:00 National Research Council Report: Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children 22:00 Building vocabulary and a love for reading 26:00 Academic language 28:00 “Science of Reading” movement and the reading wars 33:00 Scientific research in the hands of educators in the field 36:00 Tools teachers need in their toolbox 38:00 Hopes and fears for the future of the “Science of Reading movement” 41:00 Final advice *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E11: Cognitive load theory: Four items at a time, with Greg Ashman

Greg Ashman—author of multiple books including A Little Guide for Teachers: Cognitive Load Theory, deputy principal, and professor—sits down with Susan Lambert on this episode to discuss cognitive load theory and how it applies to how students learn and how to best teach them. Together their conversation covers cognitive load theory, including an exploration of working memory and long-term memory; intrinsic load and extraneous load; biologically primary vs. biologically secondary knowledge; and how to apply these concepts in the classroom. Ashman also provides listeners with helpful advice on ensuring their teaching practices are based on evidence. Show notes: A Little Guide for Teachers: Cognitive Load TheoryGreg Ahsman’s “Quick Insight Series” Greg Ashman’s Substack “Filling The Pail” Barak Rosenshine’s “Principles of Instruction” Quotes: “I now know I shouldn't have felt guilty, but I also know that I could have taught that from the outset in a much more structured way where the students would have left understanding the concepts better without wasting time.” —Greg Ashman “This idea that kids don't need to know anything anymore, they just need to practice skills is really quite a pernicious and damaging idea.” —Greg Ashman “Think about the teaching methods that you're being presented with. Ask about the evidence and question whether this is really the optimal way of teaching literacy or whatever it is, or whether it's more based on wishful thinking.” —Greg Ashman Episode timestamps* 2:00 Introduction: Who is Dr. Gregg Ashman 5:00 Feeling guilty about the way you had been teaching 7:00 Book talk: A Little Guide for Teachers on Cognitive Load Theory 8:00 Defining cognition 11:00 Working memory and long-term memory 13:00 Retrieval of long-term memory 15:00 What is cognitive load? 19:00 Working memory holds 4 items: What is an item? 24:00 Automaticity 26:00 Biologically primary vs biologically secondary knowledge 31:00 Mythbusting: “Long-term memory is like a computer system” 34:00 How can educators use cognitive load theory? 38:00 Explicit teaching 42:00 Productive struggle and productive failure 49:00 Final advice *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E10: Comprehension is an outcome, with Sharon Vaughn

Dr. Sharon Vaughn, award-winning researcher and multi-published author, who has advised on literacy across 30 states and 10 different countries, joins Susan Lambert on this episode. She digs into how we can build reading comprehension rather than teach it, and what it means for comprehension to be a learning outcome rather than a skill. She and Susan touch on how to ask the right comprehension questions, how to ensure coherency in teaching background knowledge, and where it's easy to go wrong—with knowledge building and with the Science of Reading as a whole. Listeners will walk away with a deeper understanding of which skills lead to comprehension and how to avoid strategy overload. Show notes: Providing Reading Interventions for Students in Grades 4—9Quotes: “Comprehension is an outcome, and it's based on being able to read words accurately, know what they mean, have adequate background knowledge, and also being able to make inferences.” —Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D. “I've seen things go awry. Good things get interpreted incorrectly. The Science of Reading has that potential … where people could take that and sort of start creating their own meaning about what it means and start downloading that in districts and schools in ways that are counterproductive.” —Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D. “If you look at the early studies from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, they really were the building blocks for phonemic awareness and phonics and the way in which we have identified the foundation skills as being essential. We act like the Science of Reading is something new, and we've been building this for decades.” —Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D. Episode timestamps* 02:00: What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide 04:00: Reading Comprehension: What it is and what it isn’t 09:00: How could we mess up background knowledge? 13:00: The relationship between vocabulary and knowledge building 21:00: Word knowledge and world knowledge, especially in the upper grades 24:00: Strategy of asking and answering questions 26:00: Text matters 27:00: Integrating stretch text 31:00: Collaborative strategic reading 39:00: Project PACT *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E9: Knowledge building can’t wait, with HyeJin Hwang

Dr. HyeJin Hwang is an assistant professor and literacy researcher whose research interests revolve around reading comprehension and content learning in K–12 settings, particularly for multilingual students. In this week’s episode of the podcast, HyeJin Hwang talks with Susan Lambert about background knowledge (what it is, how it’s built, and more), the importance of broad knowledge, the connections between knowledge and vocabulary, and unit planning rather than lesson planning. English wasn’t Dr. Hwang’s own first language, and her research on supporting multi-language learners is informed by her own experiences learning English and later teaching English as a second language. Whether you’re just starting to establish a solid foundation on knowledge building or you’re looking to explore the topic from new angles, this episode is the one to listen to. Show Notes: Effects of integrated literacy and content-area instruction on vocabulary and comprehension in the elementary yearsWhat research says about leveraging the literacy block for learningMaking the most of read-alouds to support primary-grade students’ inference-makingA longitudinal investigation of directional relations between domain knowledge and reading in the elementary yearsThe multidimensional knowledge in text comprehension framework,” S8E1, with Reid Smith and Pamela SnowS8E2, with Molly Ness Quotes: “Knowledge building cannot wait… Start from the beginning of schooling, from early grades. Multilingual students and monolingual students, they both need support developing knowledge and literacy skills.” —HyeJin Hwang “In knowledge building, we usually like to go for cultivating in-depth knowledge. That means interconnected ideas need to be told throughout multiple lessons, multiple classes, rather than planning individual separate lessons.” —HyeJin Hwang “When readers have good broad knowledge, prior knowledge, then it is more likely the readers can recall text information ideas, and they can make better inferences about missing ideas in text.” —HyeJin Hwang Episode Content Timestamps* 2:00: Introduction: Who is Dr. HyeJin Hwang? 6:00: Comprehension models 8:00: What is background knowledge? 10:00: Activating and integrating background knowledge 15:00: Mitigating background knowledge issues 21:00: Strategy instruction 22:00: What should knowledge building instruction look like for students? 27:00: Advice for elementary school teachers to change their instruction 32:00: Broad knowledge and why it matters 38:00: Content knowledge and multilingual learners 44:00: Final thoughts and advice *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E8: The plea to preserve deep reading, with Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D.

A name known throughout the literacy world, Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D., directs UCLA’s Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. She’s published over 170 scientific articles and four books focusing on the science of the reading brain. In her conversation with Susan in this episode, she discusses the reading brain in a digital context and delves into some of the tensions of the present moment in literacy instruction: the Science of Reading beyond just phonics, the plea to preserve deep reading, and literacy and screens. She also talks about the topics she’s most focused on and the ones she feels are most pressing in general when it comes to research on the brain and literacy. And she ends with an impassioned message to teachers, expressing her deep respect and gratitude. Show notes: Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading BrainTales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary AgendaReader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World Maryanne Wolf on The Ezra Klein Quotes: “What I would say to any teacher of balanced literacy: Let us bring our best selves and expand our knowledge. We both have things we can learn from each other. ” —Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D. “Pass on why you learned to be a teacher. Pass it on to your students. Let’s make that next generation of teachers truly excited about what we can do to release the potential of every child.” —Maryanne Wolf, Ed.D. Episode Content Timestamps* 2:00: Introduction: Who is Maryanne Wolf? 7:00: Cognitive neuroscience and how it relates to early childhood literacy 14:00: Elements kids aged 0-5 need to develop before build the reading circuits in the brain 21:00: Maryanne’s first book, Proust and the Squid 27:00: Maryanne’s third book, Reader Come Home 31:00: The reading brain in the digital age: What screens do to the reading brain 43:00: Maryanne Wolf and the Science of Reading movement 48:00: Discussing presentation with the Teachers College 55:00: Most important topics in the evolving world of reading research 58:00: Maryanne’s message to teachers of deep gratitude and respect *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E7: Vocabulary is unconstrained, with Tanya S. Wright

As a writer of several books for teachers and parents, former kindergarten teacher, and current associate professor of language and literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, Tanya S. Wright, Ph.D., has maintained focus on a singular question: How can we most effectively work with students in the early education setting? In answering that question, Wright has researched and written on two interesting areas: vocabulary development, and best practices for literacy development in young children. Listeners will come away from this conversation with some great tips and strategies for developing vocabulary, working effectively with younger students, and integrating writing and vocabulary. Show notes: “A Teacher's Guide to Vocabulary Development Across the Day: The Classroom Essentials SeriesLiteracy Learning for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers: Key Practices for EducatorsFollow Tanya S. Wright on XQuotes: "We need kids to be able to sound out the words, but we also need them to know what they mean. Otherwise, the text won't make sense. So we really need to be working on both of these at the same time." —Tanya S. Wright "Really value what kids bring to the classroom, even if it's not perfect yet, or if it's not exactly what adults would say." —Tanya S. Wright "It's really important that we're thinking about purposeful, planned, and intentional vocabulary supports to make sure that everybody is included in the learning and can participate in the classroom." —Tanya S. Wright "Realistically, kids love to learn big words. They make use of them. They don't really differentiate it. So that's an adult imposition, right? Which ones are the big ones or which ones are the hard ones? If we use them with kids, they will use them too. And enjoy it." —Tanya S. Wright Episode content timestamps*: 2:00: Introduction: Who is Tanya Wright? 4:00: Journey to studying vocabulary: What is the importance? 6:00: What does it mean to know a word? 11:00: How do knowledge and vocabulary connect and why can't they be divorced? 17:00: Tips for being planned and purposeful with vocabulary instruction 22:00: Integrating vocabulary across content areas 27:00: What would you say to someone who says a word is "too hard" for a kid? 33:00: How has your thinking changed about the approach to vocabulary from when you started your research? 37:00: Final advice for educators *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to the nearest minute.


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S8 E6: Like teacher, like student: Showing up as your full self, with Dr. Jasmine Rogers

Returning guest and recent doctoral degree recipient Dr. Jasmine Rogers rejoins the podcast to discuss findings from her research on Black language and teacher perceptions of Black language. Dr. Rogers shares strategies for how educators can better serve students by allowing them to be more themselves in the classroom. She also shares specific teacher approaches she's observed that listeners can apply in their own classrooms. Lastly Dr. Rogers inspires listeners with emotional stories—including her own—about educators learning and growing, and posits that starting with introspection can often have the greatest impact on the classroom. Show notes: Jasmine’s first appearance on Science of Reading: The PodcastThe Importance of Phonemic Awareness Instruction for African American StudentsDifference or Deficit in Speakers of African American English?Phonemic Inventories and Cultural and Linguistic Information Across LanguagesQuotes: "You address people as human beings because they're human and that's the right thing to do." —Dr. Jasmine Rogers "The history of our country, the history of who we are as individuals in our families, absolutely impacts who we are as teachers and how we show up in the classroom." —Dr. Jasmine Rogers "A lot of change is just being open to feedback, being curious, and ensuring that whatever you are doing, you are not causing harm to students." —Dr. Jasmine Rogers "If I was able to make a change, you 110 percent can make a change. And a lot of that is just being open to feedback, being curious, and ensuring that whatever you are doing, you are not causing harm to students." —Dr. Jasmine Rogers Episode Content Timestamps* 2:00: Recap of the last episode with Dr. Jasmine Rogers 4:00: How teachers respond when students use Black language in their lessons and how that impacts student behavior 11:00: Observation on teacher moves in the classroom, pre and post professional development 23:00: Tips for educators wanting to be more affirming in the classroom 26:00: Resources for learning the phonological features of different languages & the importance of relationship building and knowing your students 31:00: How we teach irregularly spelled words & syllable stresses 35:00: Emotional stories from educators & final encouragement from Dr. Jasmine Rogers *Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute


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S8 E5: No perfect set of words: Building vocabulary, with Margaret McKeown

This episode’s guest is Margaret McKeown, Ph.D., a retired professor from the University of Pittsburgh, decades-long researcher, and former elementary school teacher. In it, Margaret and Susan address why vocabulary is so important, particularly for knowledge building; talk about the various elements of effective vocabulary instruction; discuss the key role of informal instruction in vocabulary building; and share best practices for assessing vocabulary. Listeners will come away from this episode with a deeper understanding of the how and why of vocabulary instruction, as well as tips for bolstering vocabulary instruction in their own communities. Show notes: Margaret on XSeason 8 Episode 3Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary InstructionCreating Robust VocabularyVocabulary Assessment to Support InstructionEtymonline.comQuotes: “Good instruction needs to be interactive. We're using words. Vocabulary pervades the day.” —Margaret McKeown “Relax, because you're never going to be able to teach kids all the words that they really need to know, so just drop that.” —Margaret McKeown “There is no perfect set of words, so don't worry about which words you're using, just sort of tune your mind to the kinds of words that turn up in texts a lot, ones that go across texts, not so much ones that are just, domain specific, but what words am I going to read in a novel, a social studies text, a newspaper article? Those are the kinds of words.” —Margaret McKeown “If you do one thing, set up an attitude about words, this idea of reveling in words, and then just drop them in.” —Margaret McKeown


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S8 E4: Brace for impact: Unifying classrooms through mission-based learning, with John Hattie

On this wide ranging episode, Susan finally gets the chance to speak with famed education thinker and author John Hattie, Ph.D. Hattie has authored dozens and dozens of books. He’s best known for his book, Visible Learning, which now has a sequel. In this episode, he discusses his career and shares with Susan some of the biggest takeaways from his work. He also explains what meta-analysis is and discusses some of the biggest takeaways from meta-analysis in the education field. They both also delve into the importance of successful implementation. And, finally, Hattie shares his thoughts on AI and the future of education. This episode offers many practical tips for educators to realign with their mission and dig into why they do what they do and how to best make an impact. Show notes: Visible Learning: The Sequel Visible Learning and the Science of How We LearnMaking Room for Impact The Future of AI in Education: 13 Things We Can Do to Minimize the DamageQuotes: “Your job is not to get through the curriculum, your job is not to get kids engaged in authentic, real-world, exciting tasks. Your job is to have an impact across those many notions.” —John Hattie, Ph.D. “We're very good at finding problems and fixing them but we're not as good—we're not having the courage—to study expertise and scale it up. And that's my mission. Scale up the expertise we have.” —John Hattie, Ph.D. “I'm an evidence-based person. Sometimes I don't like the results, but that doesn't mean you get to deny it. Some people want to deny it. Some people want to get angry with it. And sometimes evidence does get in the way of a good opinion.” —John Hattie, Ph.D.


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S8 E3: Knowledge and vocabulary: Two sides of the same coin, with Gina Cervetti

In this episode, Susan Lambert talks to Gina Cervetti, Ph.D., about literacy development, knowledge building, vocabulary expansion—and the deep connections between all three. Gina explains why she sees knowledge and vocabulary as two sides of the same coin. She also attempts to expand the listener's understanding of what knowledge really is; it’s not just subject-area knowledge, it’s also cultural knowledge. In this process, she introduces the idea of conceptual coherence, the benefits of this approach to knowledge building, and avenues for implementing it in the classroom. Lastly, Gina offers strategies for how teachers can effectively build students’ vocabulary without relying on a vocabulary list which she notes is not backed by the research. Show notes: Gina N. CervettiSeeds of Science/Roots of ReadingResearch-Based Principles for Improving the Reading Achievement of America’s ChildrenQuotes: “Above all other things in education, literacy is a gateway to so many of the things that are essential for human flourishing and human choice.” —Dr. Gina Cervetti “I like to think about vocabulary, not as individual words, right, but as a set of labels for ideas that we want kids to be able to read about and talk about and write about.” —Dr. Gina Cervetti “It's really hard to teach individual words in ways where that learning is durable…Because it's not connected to something.” —Dr. Gina Cervetti “When you can see yourself or connect to the experiences you bring to a text it’s great for your comprehension.” —Dr. Gina Cervetti “Knowledge is so complex that it actually offers a number of different benefits. And different kinds of knowledge actually benefit literacy development in different ways.” —Dr. Gina Cervetti


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S8 E2: The joy of reading aloud with Molly Ness

Many educators understand the value of reading aloud to students, but may not have yet unlocked the full power of these tools as an intentional, consistent, and joyful instructional approach. In this episode, we welcome Molly Ness, author or the recent book, Read Alouds for All Learners: A Comprehensive Plan for Every Subject, Every Day, Grades PreK—8. Molly—a former classroom teacher herself, who also spent 16 years as a teacher educator—gives us an overview of the research on read-alouds, detailing the myriad benefits (linguistic, socioemotional, motivational, and physiological) they provide students. Molly also lays out strategies for effective read-alouds, instructions on how to properly plan and implement them, and specific examples of the pre-work process for texts like Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. Show notes: “Read Alouds for All Learners: A Comprehensive Plan for Every Subject, Every Day, Grades PreK–8” What are Teachers Reading and Why?: An analysis of elementary read aloud titles and the rationales underlying teachers’*Terms and conditions: Discount valid on only. Enter promo code AmplifyPodcast20 at checkout to receive a 20% discount on the paperback version of Read Alouds for All Learners. Offer expires December 15, 2023. Not valid for bookstores, distributors, or resellers. Continental U.S. only. Cannot be combined with other offers. For customers submitting a purchase order, payment must be received by December 15, 2023, to qualify for this offer. Quotes: "A read-aloud is an interactive language experience...where a teacher reads something, elicits a conversation from students. Those conversational turns are so essential in [a] read-aloud. It's a shared literacy experience around a text." —Molly Ness "What I don't think teachers understand, and I say this having been one of those teachers, is the intentionality that needs to happen in planning the read-aloud." —Molly Ness "When we add things like think-alouds and being explicit in our vocabulary, we are building [students'] metacognition and [their] abiliy to understand text." —Molly Ness "We all have those gaps in knowledge and life experiences, regardless of where we come from and regardless of our zip code and regardless of our personal or family situation." —Molly Ness


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S8 E1: Knowledge and comprehension: Never one without the other with Reid Smith and Pamela Snow

In the premiere episode of Season 8 of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan Lambert is joined by guests Reid Smith and Pamela Snow to lay the groundwork for a season entirely centered on knowledge and knowledge-building. Reid and Pamela—of the SOLAR Lab at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia—recently co-authored (along with many others) a review of the literature on background knowledge and literacy. In this discussion, they share what they learned, including some surprising takeaways. This episode examines the complexity of building background knowledge, the important role it plays in literacy, and the reasons we’ve decided to spend a whole season exploring it! Show notes: "The Role of Background Knowledge in Reading Comprehension: A critical review""Elementary Teachers' Perspectives on Teaching Reading Comprehension"The Snow Report The SOLAR LabQuotes: “We decided we'd embark on a knowledge-rich curriculum where we would make deliberate decisions about what it is that we would like our students to know about the world in which we live and thinking carefully about the coherence and sequencing of that knowledge.” —Reid Smith “This idea of having a coherent curriculum that systematically builds knowledge and skills over time is something that we think is really important for our kids.” —Reid Smith “There's a group of students who, even when they know they have the background knowledge that's required to make inferences in a text, they find that really difficult, that they have difficulty identifying the pieces of knowledge that they actually have that are going to enable them to make inferences with a particular text.” —Reid Smith “Explicit teaching is an important way of building accurate background knowledge, building schema about a topic that, of course, is an important social equity lever for us to pull because not all students have equal opportunities.” —Pamela Snow “Background knowledge has a particularly strong effect for those students who don't have other compensatory mechanisms to be able to pick up the ball when they don't have that background knowledge.” —Reid Smith “The long-term memory makes no distinction between information that's correct or incorrect…so, of course, the incorrect knowledge would impact on our understanding." —Reid Smith “I think we respect teacher autonomy when we give them the knowledge that they need about how the English writing system works, right across the Reading Rope, and how the English language works, right across the Reading Rope.” —Pamela Snow


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Back to School '23, Interlude Episode 3: Growing up with dyslexia with Kareem Weaver, Margaret Malaika Weaver, and Elijah Valencia

In this episode, in honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, we highlight Kareem Weaver's daughter Margaret "Margo" and nephew Elijah—both of whom learned they had dyslexia later in their young lives. After many struggles in school, Margo was diagnosed with dyslexia in high school. Meanwhile, Elijah was diagnosed with dyslexia only while he was incarcerated. Margo and Elijah discuss the impact of their diagnoses. Meanwhile, Kareem reflects on their stories and shares lessons learned for families and caregivers. Margo and Elijah also share their advice for educators and other young people about types of dyslexia. Show notes: Kareem Weaver’s first interview with SusanKareem Weaver’s most recent podcast appearance: The Right to Read: live from Plain TalkS7E7 with Dr. Tim OdegardS7E9 with Dr. Sally ShaywitzThe Right to Read Website: FULCRUMHow dyslexia diagnosis changed a Bay Area high school softball player’s lifeQuotes: "It made me realize I wasn't the problem; something was wrong with me. I just had a little bump in the road that was making it just a little bit harder for me." —Margo Weaver "It shouldn't take having to go to jail to get what you need to learn how to read. That's the bottom of it." —Kareem Weaver "Just try to take a deep breath in and ask questions." —Elijah Valencia "Even when they were trying to help me ... it's like they were expecting me to be learning at everybody else's pace." —Elijah Valencia "Real talk as a parent: We got to own up to stuff." —Kareem Weaver "When a kid can't read and life gets a hold of you, it's a life cycle. Next thing you know, you find yourself in situatins that you never would have imagined." —Kareem Weaver "Most parents are overwhelmed and they need an ally in the building." —Kareem Weaver "I just wish somebody kind of sat with me and told me that I wasn't stupid and that I was okay." —Margo Weaver


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Back to School '23, Interlude episode 2 (Part 2): Embracing the complexity of learning to read with Dr. Reid Lyon

This is Part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Reid Lyon, 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, and what he hopes for the future, and how both of those things led to the creation of his "Ten Maxims." Show notes: Embracing the complexity of learning to read (Part 1)Ten Maxims: What We've Learned So Far About How Children Learn to ReadEye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of researchBeginning to ReadPhonological Processes in LiteracySold a StoryQuotes: “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 “When you’re working on something that’s so critical to a life—to a child’s life—belief systems don’t cut it. Evidence cuts it.” —Dr. Reid Lyon


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Back to School '23, Interlude episode 2 (Part 1): Embracing the complexity of learning to read with Dr. Reid Lyon

Dr. Reid Lyon is 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 his reading research. But in May 2023, Dr. Lyon released his "Ten Maxims: What We've Learned So Far About How Children Learn to Read." And of course Susan jumped at the chance to invite him onto the podcast. In a wide-reaching interview, Dr. Lyon traces his life story from the Vietnam War to the National Institute of Health. He also offers an expansive overview of what we know about teaching reading, how children learn—including a discussion of whole language vs. phonics—and his response to educators wondering what reading actually is and what methodology of teaching students to read is most effective. Be on the lookout for Part 2 of our interview with Dr. Reid Lyon, being released next week. Show notes: Ten Maxims: What We've Learned So Far About How Children Learn to ReadEye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of researchBeginning to ReadPhonological Processes in LiteracySold a StoryQuotes: “Phonics—that is, looking at letters, letter patterns, learning how to bring sound to associate to those letters—is absolutely essential, non-negotiable. It has to be learned. But it in no way is sufficient to be able to comprehend, which is the goal of reading.” —Dr. Reid Lyon “Reading is a complex behavior subserved by multiple systems in the brain that integrate and inform each other.” —Dr. Reid Lyon “It’s a symphony of neural activity that undergirds this very complex behavior of just learning how to read. So when people boil reading down into phonics or whole language, it’s just a false characterization.” —Dr. Reid Lyon “People somehow conflated this natural ability of oral language to develop—just expose kids, just shower them with language—to reading. And reading is by no means natural. It has to be taught. It does not reside in the brain systems.” —Dr. Reid Lyon “We’re hampered by the teacher-knowledge issue. That’s not a teacher’s fault. That’s a college of education system that is bereft of responsibility. It operates on philosophical foundations. It operates on belief systems. It’s very politicized. It looks at reading as a right, which it is. But it doesn’t look at the instruction of reading as methodology—strategies, direct and comprehensive programs that can help most kids learn to read.” —Dr. Reid Lyon