Senior Producer and Correspondent
Emily Hanford has been working in public media for more than two decades as a reporter, producer, editor, news director and program host. Her work has won numerous honors including a duPont-Columbia University Award and a Casey Medal. In 2017, she won the Excellence in Media Reporting on Education Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. Her groundbreaking podcast episode Hard Words, on why children aren’t being taught to read, was a winner of the inaugural Public Service award from EWA in 2019. Emily is a member of the EWA Journalist Advisory Board and a longtime mentor for EWA’s “new to the beat” program. She is a frequent speaker and moderator. Emily is based in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a graduate of Amherst College.
'This is my kid; this is our story': Messages from listeners
Emails and voice messages poured in from people who listened to Sold a Story.
Want to know more about the science of reading?
Here’s a reading list put together by Emily Hanford, host and lead producer of our podcast Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong.
New research shows controversial Reading Recovery program eventually had a negative impact on children
Initial gains from first-grade intervention didn’t last and kids performed worse in third and fourth grade.
Influential authors Fountas and Pinnell stand behind disproven reading theory
The education professors double down on a flawed approach that encourages pictures and context to read words. Heinemann — their publisher — faces harsh criticism.
Influential literacy expert Lucy Calkins is changing her views
In a major shift, the controversial figure in the fight over how to teach reading now says that beginning readers should focus on sounding out words, according to a document obtained by APM Reports.
Many kids struggle with reading – and children of color are far less likely to get the help they need
A false assumption about what it takes to be a skilled reader has created deep inequalities among U.S. children, putting many on a difficult path in life.
Is learning to read a constitutional right?
A federal court recently ruled that underfunded schools in Detroit violated students' right to a basic education. Advocates hope the case is the beginning of a trend.
Experts say widely used reading curriculum is failing kids
A first of its kind review finds Lucy Calkins' materials don't align with the science of reading.
How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers
For decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked. And many teachers and parents don't know there's anything wrong with it.
What to do if your child's school isn't teaching reading right?
After our recent examination of why American kids aren't being taught to read well, we received a ton of questions, mostly from parents. So we went to the experts to get answers.
Why aren't kids being taught to read?
Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don't know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.
She was a first-generation college student looking for a different life
For Katy Sorto, college seemed like the way to a different life. But she had no idea how hard it would be.
First-Generation College Students a Decade Later
At 19, Mario Martinez felt fortunate to have escaped his rough neighborhood and enrolled in a community college. But the odds that he would earn his degree and achieve the life he wanted were still against him.
Are Colleges Helping Americans Move Up?
Colleges have long offered a pathway to success for just about anyone. But new research shows that with the country growing ever more economically divided, colleges are not doing enough to help students from poor families achieve the American Dream.
'I never want to be in a neighborhood where I'm shot at again'
A first-generation college graduate reflects on moving up America's class ladder.
Are America's colleges promoting social mobility?
Economists dig into the data to understand which schools are doing the most to help revive the American Dream.
Overwhelmed by student debt, many low-income students drop out
Almost a third of Americans who take out loans to pay for college don't get a degree.
High school football makes a comeback in New Orleans
Charter schools cut football to win minds. Now to win hearts, they're bringing it back.
Nearly 1 in 5 female college students are single moms
Struggling to juggle school, work and child care, most of them won't make it to graduation.
History of civil rights movement gets short shrift in Mississippi classrooms
Despite efforts to require lessons on civil rights, outdated textbooks indicate little has changed.
Rural students are the least likely to go to college
They're being ignored as the nation tries to ramp up degree completion.
States' laws to support dyslexic children mostly lack funding, accountability, training mandates
A recent APM Reports documentary showed how schools aren't adequately complying with a decades-old federal law but new state laws are failing to help struggling readers, too.
In Ohio, parents demand change for dyslexic kids
The school district needed a new approach. The teachers needed training.
Further reading for Hard to Read
Resources and extended reading materials for the documentary Hard to Read.
How American schools fail kids with dyslexia
There are proven ways to help people with dyslexia learn to read, and a federal law that's supposed to ensure schools provide kids with help. But across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.