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Judi Dodson

The Arc of Vocabulary - Oral Language Links to Reading Comprehension

Judi Dodson

The Arc of Vocabulary - Oral Language Links to Reading Comprehension

Join AIM faculty member, Becky Smith as she interviews Judi Dodson about why it is so important for classroom teachers to understand how oral language development links to comprehension. Dodson explains how Integrating oral language activities throughout a classroom day is the best way to bolster language for all students, not just those with learning disabilities like dyslexia. Creating a language-rich classroom is critically important for children with limited language development from impoverished backgrounds as well as for children for whom English is a second language, Dodson says.


Judi Dodson, M.A. has over 30 years of combined experience as an educator of children and teaching teachers. She has worked as a classroom teacher, special education teacher, diagnostic educational specialist, literacy consultant and teacher trainer. Judi has worked as a consultant to the Colorado Department of Education, developing teacher curriculum during Reading First, and has worked as a consultant and teacher trainer in conjunction with other state departments of education, local education agencies and independent schools. She is a national LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) trainer, presentations nationally at conferences on literacy-related issues and is the president of Bridges to Literacy.

One of the most important things to know about Judi is that her work is driven by a sense of the importance of understanding the whole child, and teaching to and from the heart. She believes that finding a balance between social – emotional learning and excellence in academic instruction will support academic achievement while building motivation and a lifelong love of learning. Judi is the author of three books50 Nifty Activities for Reading Instruction in the Five Components of Reading; 50 Nifty Speaking and Listening Activities for Oral and Reading Comprehension and The Literacy Intervention Toolkit. Judi has served on the board of the International Dyslexia Association in Colorado and is on the board of the Horizons program in Colorado, also serving as a literacy consultant for Horizons. Judi’s work with Horizons (a summer program for children coming from high-risk schools) for over a decade has helped her develop a deep commitment to the importance of high-quality summer programming as a significant factor in overcoming the summer slide and the achievement gap.

Judi is the president of Peruvian Hearts, a non-profit organization founded by her daughter who was adopted from Peru. The organization is dedicated to supporting girls in Peru to become leaders through education, mentorship and empowerment, and break the cycle of generational poverty. She divides her time between consulting with schools locally and across the country, training teachers, writing, and working for girls’ empowerment and education in Peru.

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