Academic Advisors

Dr. Joanna P. Williams

Dr. Joanna P. Williams has been a longtime advisor to ReadWorks. She is a professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and is internationally renowned for her research on linguistic, cognitive and perceptual bases of reading development. She was a member of the National Reading Panel, a body commissioned by Congress to identify the most effective ways to teach children to read, and the RAND Reading Study Group. She is a past editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology and the founding editor of Scientific Studies of Reading. Dr. Williams also serves on the advisory panel of Reading Rockets. She has also received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Oscar S. Causey Award for Outstanding Contributions to Reading Research from the National Reading Conference. 

Dr. Elfrieda "Freddy" H. Hiebert

Dr. Elfrieda “Freddy” H. Hiebert is President and CEO of, a nonprofit that provides open-access resources to support higher reading levels in students.  Dr. Hiebert received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in the field of early reading acquisition for 45 years, first as a teacher’s aide and teacher of primary-level students in California and, subsequently, as a teacher educator and researcher at the universities of Kentucky, Colorado-Boulder, Michigan and California-Berkeley. Her research addresses ways of supporting students who depend on schools to become literate. In particular, her interests lie in how fluency, vocabulary, and knowledge can be fostered through appropriate texts. Dr. Hiebert’s research has been published in numerous scholarly journals and she has authored or edited nine books. Through documents such as Becoming a Nation of Readers (Center for the Study of Reading, 1985) and Every Child a Reader (Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement, 1999), she has contributed to making research accessible to educators. Dr. Hiebert’s model of accessible texts for beginning and struggling readers—TExT—has been used to develop several reading programs that are widely used in schools. Dr. Hiebert is the 2008 recipient of the William S. Gray Citation of Merit (awarded by the International Reading Association), a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and the 2013 recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Research to Practice (Interpretive) award.

Dr. Margie Gillis

Dr. Margie Gillis is the President and Founder of Literacy How and a Research Affiliate at Haskins Laboratories, which has formal affiliations with the University of Connecticut and Yale University. Margie's work has focused on how best to teach teachers to implement research-based practices in the classroom.

Dr. Gillis majored in sociology and elementary education at Connecticut College, and received her Ed.D. in Special Education from the University of Louisville, where she also taught as an adjunct.

Dr. Gillis joined the Early Reading Success Initiative project at Haskins Laboratories as a reading fellow in 2000 and became Project Director. Soon after, she and a colleague were awarded a Teacher Quality Grant from the Institute of Education Sciences for Mastering Reading Instruction, a professional development project that studied first grade reading. Margie then led the well-trained mentor team to continue their work as Haskins Literacy Initiative. In 2009, she founded Literacy How to partner with schools and districts throughout Connecticut, ensuring that teachers are empowered with the knowledge to teach all children to read.

Dr. Judith Hochman

Dr. Judith Hochman is the former Head of the Windward School in White Plains, New York and founder of the Windward Teacher Training Institute. She was the Superintendent of the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District in Hastings, New York.

Dr. Hochman has presented workshops and courses for educational organizations, colleges and universities, and both public and independent schools. She teaches at Baruch College, City University of New York and the Windward Teacher Training Institute.

Dr. Hochman has written many articles, as well as a chapter in the text Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills. She is the author of Basic Writing Skills: A Manual for Teachers and Teaching Basic Writing Skills:  Strategies for Effective Expository Writing Instruction