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About Louisa Moats, Ed.D.

Louisa Moats, Ed.D., is the lead author of LANGUAGE! Live, a blended program for adolescent students reading below grade level. She is also the lead author of LETRS professional development for literacy educators. Dr. Moats has authored many books, journal articles, policy papers, and materials for professional development in the areas of reading, writing, and language. She received her M.A. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt and her Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  • Staying Grounded in Reading Realities: A Better Approach for Struggling Readers

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Mar 29, 2017
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    At the end of October, I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties. IDA meetings, over the past three decades, are where I’ve obtained my real education. This meeting was as informative as ever. We heard from neuroscientists, psychologists, directors of interdisciplinary research centers, researchers in language acquisition, experienced clinicians, education advocates, teacher educators, public school literacy leaders, and families affected by learning difficulties. Through diverse perspectives, one theme stood out for me: We will serve students and families better if we are informed by the facts. Romantic ideas, though appealing, will not serve the needs of students or teachers. Let’s examine a few beliefs that we’re better off without.

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  • Motivating Struggling Adolescent Readers: Try Relevance & Success

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Jan 25, 2017
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    Motivation, according to a recent textbook on adolescent literacy*, is “a feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes a student want to complete a task or improve his or her skills.” Teachers of adolescent poor readers, however, often find that their students are willing to do anything BUT read and write. Getting students to believe that they can make meaningful progress—when all prior experience suggests they will not—and to work at something that has never been rewarding is a major challenge.

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  • Don't Miss the Point: Content-Focused Reading Instruction Is Crucial

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Feb 24, 2016
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    While many language skills and comprehension strategies are embedded in daily lessons, teachers know that the overall purpose of each lesson sequence is to understand content related to a theme. The reason for reading a text is clear: The text is worthwhile. It is complex and rich. The topic is inherently interesting—or if it isn’t, yet, it will be once the students know something about it. The reader will be rewarded with understanding, insight, ideas, and new information.

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  • How Teacher Talk Affects Student Vocabulary Growth

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Jan 06, 2016
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    Rather than focusing on text reading this month, let’s turn our attention to one of the critical components of language necessary for comprehension: vocabulary. Educators often point to the importance of expanding students’ vocabularies, but how is verbal learning acquired? A new line of research has confirmed, not surprisingly, that the way the teacher talks and how the teacher uses language directly affect student vocabulary growth.

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  • Staying Grounded in Reading Realities

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Dec 02, 2015
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    A Better Approach for Struggling Readers At the end of October, I attended and spoke at the annual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) meeting in Dallas. IDA remains the best interdisciplinary conference for all professionals, advocates, and families concerned with reading, writing, and language difficulties. IDA meetings, over the past three decades, are where I’ve obtained my real education.

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  • Defending the "D" Word...Dyslexia

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Oct 21, 2015
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    Henry Ward Beecher once said, a word is a “peg to hang ideas on.” A single word can conjure a host of meanings and associations. “Dyslexia” is such a word. In the last couple of years, the well-known and respected researchers Julian Elliott and Elena Grigorenko have been arguing that it is time to do away with the “D word.” In The Dyslexia Debate (Cambridge University Press, 2014), they object to the word because many misunderstandings, false claims, and myths are associated with it.

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  • PD for Teachers of Reading: What DOES Make a Difference?

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Sep 30, 2015
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    Very few of us were ever taught what we needed to know about reading or language when we completed our degree programs or were licensed to teach. As teachers, the professional development we received often seemed irrelevant. Even after graduate school, what I had been taught left me helpless in the face of students who struggled to read. The knowledge I eventually applied to various instructional programs, I acquired haphazardly from my doctoral courses, from conferences, and from other teachers … too late to help me with my first students.

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  • Motivating Struggling Adolescent Readers: Try Relevance and Success

    Posted By Louisa Moats, Ed.D. | Aug 19, 2015
    Moats_Blog1a

    Motivation, according to a recent textbook on adolescent literacy*, is “a feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes a student want to complete a task or improve his or her skills.” Teachers of adolescent poor readers, however, often find that their students are willing to do anything BUT read and write. Getting students to believe that they can make meaningful progress—when all prior experience suggests they will not—and to work at something that has never been rewarding is a major challenge.

    Full story