Interviews organized by Interviewee/Discipline

Rollover interviewee names for interview title – See “Interview Notes” for more on conducting, editing and navigating interviews.
Learning Sciences & Ed Research
Language & Orthography
Policy & Teaching

Learning Sciences & Ed Research

Grover (Russ) Whitehurst
Ex-Director of the Institute of Education Sciences & Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education
Jack P. Shonkoff
Chair, The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child; Co-Editor: From Neurons to Neighborhoods
Louisa Moats
Reading Scientist, Sopris West; Author: Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling
Siegfried Engelmann (Phone Interview)
Professor of Instructional Research, University of Oregon; Creator of Direct Instruction
Siegfried Engelmann (Video Interview)
Professor of Instructional Research, University of Oregon; Creator of Direct Instruction
G. Reid Lyon
Past Chief of the Child Development & Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH)
Dr. Timothy Shanahan
Chair National Early Literacy Panel, President (2006) International Reading Association, Member of National Reading Panel; Director, Center for Literacy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Michael Merzenich
Chair of Otolaryngology, Integrative Neurosciences, UCSF; Member National Academy of Sciences; Co-Founder of Scientific Learning Corporation & Posit Science Corporation
Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams
Senior Scientist, Soliloquy Learning; Author: Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print
Maryanne Wolf
Director, Center for Reading & Language Research; Professor of Child Development, Tufts University
Keith Stanovich
Chair, Applied Cognitive Science, University of Toronto; Author: Reading Matters: How Reading Engagement Influences Cognition
Paula Tallal
Board of Governor's Professor of Neuroscience, Rutgers University; Co-Founder of Scientific Learning Corporation
Sally Shaywitz
Neuroscientist, Department of Pediatrics, Yale; Author: Overcoming Dyslexia
Charles A. Perfetti
Professor of Psychology & Linguistics; Senior Scientist and Associate Director, Learning Research & Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
Edward Kame'enui
Ex-Commissioner for Special Education Research, U.S. Department of Education; Director, Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement (IDEA), University of Oregon
Christof Koch
Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, Caltech - Author: The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
Dr. Zvia Breznitz
Professor, Neuropsychology of Reading & Dyslexia, University of Haifa, Israel
Mark T. Greenberg
Director, Prevention Research Center, Penn State Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies; CASEL Leadership Team
Donald L. Nathanson
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College; Founding Executive Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute; Author: Shame and Pride & Knowing Feeling
Keith Rayner
Distinguished Professor, University of Massachusetts; Author: Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing
Mel Levine
Co-Chair and Co-Founder, All Kinds of Minds; Author: A Mind at a Time, The Myth of Laziness & Ready or Not Here Life Comes
Anne Cunningham
Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, University of California- Berkeley; Historian of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading
Pat Lindamood and Nanci Bell
Principal Scientists & Co-Founders of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes
Richard Olson
Past President, Society for the Scientific Study of Reading; Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado
Steve Reder
Professor & Chair, Department of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University
Robert Kail
Professor of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, Indiana
Susan H. Landry
Director of the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning & Education (CIRCLE); Chief, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, University of Texas at Houston
Nancy J. Cohen
Director of Research, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Author: Language Impairment and Psychopathology in Infants, Children, and Adolescents
Ruth Ann Atchley
Assistant Professor, Brain & Behavior, Cognitive Psychology & Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Kansas
Kathryn Au
Professor of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Language & Orthography

Richard Venezky
Past Unidel Professor of Educational Studies & Professor of Computer, Information Sciences & Linguistics, University of Delaware; Author: The American Way of Spelling: The Structure and Origins of American English Orthography
John Searle
Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind & Language, University of California-Berkeley; Author: Mind, A Brief Introduction
Dr. David Abram
Cultural Ecologist and Philosopher; Author: The Spell of the Sensuous
Marketa Caravolas
Director, Bangor Dyslexia Unit, Bangor University, Wales England Author: International Report on Literacy Research, Language-specific influences of phonology and orthography on emergent literacy
Todd Risley
Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Alaska; Co-Author: Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children
Thomas Cable
Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin; Co-Author: A History of the English Language
Dr. Johanna Drucker
Chair of Media Studies, University of Virginia; Author: The Alphabetic Labyrinth
Terrence Deacon
Cognitive Anthropologist, University of California-Berkeley; Author: The Symbolic Species:The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain
Guy Deutscher
Professor, Department of Languages and Cultures of Ancient Mesopotamia, University of Leiden in Holland; Author: Unfolding Language - an evolutionary tour of mankind's greatest invention
John H. Fisher
Medievalist; Retired Professor Emeritus of English, University of Tennessee; Leading authority on the development of the written English language; Author: The Emergence of Standard English
Malcolm Richardson
Chair, Dept. of English, Louisiana State University; Research: The Textual Awakening of the English Middle Classes, 1380-1520
Dr. Leonard Shlain
Physician; Best-Selling Author: The Alphabet vs. The Goddess
David Olson
Professor Emeritus, Applied Cognitive Science, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto; Author: The World on Paper: The Conceptual and Cognitive Implications of Writing and Reading
Doug Engelbart
2000 National Medal of Technology, Computer & Internet Pioneer, Inventor of the 'Mouse'
Ray Kurzweil
1999 National Medal of Technology, Inventor, OCR & Speech Recognition
Selmer Bringsjord
Director, Rensselaer AI & Reasoning (RAIR) Laboratory - Dept. of Cognitive Science (Chair), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Robert Logan
Professor of Physics, University of Toronto; Author: The Alphabet Effect
Frank Moore Cross, Jr.
Professor Emeritus of Hebrew & Other Oriental Languages, Harvard University
Bruce Thornton
Professor of Greek History; Author: Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization
Naomi Baron
Linguist; Director, TESOL, American University; Author: From Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It's heading
Walter Isaacson
CEO, Aspen Institute; Author: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
John Gable
Past Executive Director, Theodore Roosevelt Association
Steve Bett
Linguist; Editor, Simplified Spelling Journal
Peter Krass
Author: Carnegie
R. Kent Rasmussen
Mark Twain scholar; Author: Mark Twain A to Z, The Quotable Mark Twain
Edward Rondthaler
Past-Chairman, American Literacy Council; Author: Alphabet Thesaurus - A Treasury of Letter Design

Policy & Teaching

James J. Heckman
Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences 2000; Professor, University of Chicago; Lead Author: The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children
Eric Hanushek
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University; Chairman, Executive Committee for the Texas Schools Project; Member, Koret Task Force on K–12 Education
Alex Granzin
School District Psychologist, Past President, Oregon School Psychologists Association
Peter E. Leone
Director, National Center on Education, Disability & Juvenile Justice
Arthur J. Rolnick
Senior Vice President & Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; Co- Author: The Economics of Early Childhood Development
Chris Doherty
Former Director, Reading First Program, U.S. Department of Education
Robert Sweet
Co-Founder, National Right to Read Foundation; Retired Professional Staff, U.S. House of Representatives
Barbara Kapinus
Senior Reading Policy Specialist/Analyst, National Education Association
E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
Distinguished Visiting Professor, Hoover Institution; Co-Founder, Core Knowledge Foundation; Professor Emeritus of Education and Humanities at the University of Virginia; Author: Cultural Literacy, The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them, The Knowledge Deficit.
George Farkas
Professor of Sociology, Demography & Education, Penn State
Richard Allington
Reading Researcher; President, International Reading Assoc.; Author: Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How Ideology Trumped Evidence
John Strucker
Research Associate, National Center for the Study of Adult Learning & Literacy, Harvard University
Sandra Feldman
Past President, American Federation of Teachers
Brenda L. Welburn
Chief Executive Officer, National Association of State Boards of Education; Author: The American Tapestry: Educating a Nation
Norton Hadler
Professor of Medicine & Microbiology/Immunology, Attending Rheumatologist, University of North Carolina Hospitals; Author: The Last Well Person
Sam Redding
Executive Director, Academic Development Institute; Lead Author: The Effects of Comprehensive Parent Engagement on Student Learning Outcomes
Susan Neuman
Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Martin Haberman
Distinguished Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Creator, National Teacher Corp.
David Bloome
Professor of Literacy, Language & Culture, Ohio State University; Past President, National Council of Teachers of English
Madhu Viswanathan
Director, Marketplace Literacy Project, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Patrick W. O'Leary
Employee Relations Manager, UPS Airlines
Patrick Groff
Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University; National Right to Read Foundation Board Member & Senior Advisor; Author: Private Sector Alternatives for Preventing Reading Failure
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California; Author: The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research
Earl B. Oremus
Headmaster, Marburn Academy
Lesley M. Morrow
Past President, International Reading Association


Nancy Hennessy
President (2003-2005), International Dyslexia Association
James Wendorf
Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities
Robert Wedgeworth
President, ProLiteracy
Rick Lavoie
Learning Disabilities Specialist, Creator: How Difficult Can This Be?: The F.A.T. City Workshop & Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities
Mark Ginsberg
Executive Director, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Sharon Darling
President, National Center for Family Literacy
Sue Stepleton
President, National Center for Parents as Teachers
Carol H. Rasco
President, Reading is Fundamental
Nancy Tidwell
Founder and President, National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities
Jimmy Santiago Baca
Award winning poet, author and literacy advocate; Author: The Importance of a Piece of Paper
Mark Weist
Executive Director, Center for School Mental Health Assistance
Sarah Greene
Executive Director, National Head Start Association
Gwedolyn Cartledge
Professor of Special Education, Ohio State University; Author: Teaching Urban Learners
Judy Wurtzel
Former Executive Director, Learning First Alliance; Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute
Kimberly Thompson
Director, Kids Risk Project; Associate Professor of Risk Analysis & Decision Science, Department of Health Policy & Management, Harvard School of Public Health
Claiborne Barksdale
CEO, Barksdale Reading Institute
Robin Willner
Director, Corporate Community Relations, Reinventing Education, IBM
Brock and Fernette Eide
Physician-parents with a national referral practice for children with learning difficulties. Authors of "The Mislabeled Child"
Krista Kafer
Senior Education Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation
Jones Kyazze
Past Director, UNESCO Literacy
Bruce Perry
Senior Fellow, Child Trauma Academy
Daniel Wagner
Director, International Literacy Institute
Sylvia O. Richardson
Past President, International Dyslexia Association; Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Sciences & Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida
Thomas Viall
Past Executive Director, International Dyslexia Association
David W. Kirkpatrick
Senior Education Fellow, U.S. Freedom Foundation
Susan Sandler
President, Justice Matters
Susan Carrell
Adult Learning Center Coordinator, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
Monty Neill
Executive Director, The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (Fair Test)
Nayo Watkins
Founder & Director, Mekye Center
*Interviews in grey have been taped but not yet transcribed and edited.

Send us an email ( and tell us which interview(s) you would like to read next

Interviews By Subject/Theme

Rollover interviewee names for details about interviewee – See “Interview Notes” for background on conducting, editing, and navigating interviews.

Note about interviews: Participation in the preceding Children of the Code interview does not constitute or imply an endorsement of the Children of the Code project or documentary by the interviewee. Conversely, including an interview does not constitute or imply an endorsement of the views, organizations, books or products of the interviewee, other than as explicitly stated, by the Children of the Code Project and documentary.

In addition to the interviews listed above, new interviews are in the works. They include children and adults who are struggling to learn to read, the parents of struggling readers, some of America’s finest teachers, literacy institution leaders, brain scientists, linguists, psychologists, sociologists, phonics and meaning-centric reading specialists, reading teachers, code technologists, education leaders, government leaders, language historians, writing historians, archeologists, anthropologists, and others. Join our notification list for future transcript releases