Nora Chahbazi, the founder of EBLI: An evidenced-based reading program, talks about her program and upcoming webinar. Interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Nora Chahbazi, the founder of EBLI: An evidenced-based reading program, talks about her program and upcoming webinar. Interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

In the past few years, I have tried to talk to folks from various perspectives on reading, especially beginning reading. I’ve interviewed many literacy leaders, including Tim Rasinski, LINK Narelle Lynch LINK, Rachael Gabriel LINK, George Hruby LINK, Marnie Ginsberg  LINK and Yvonna Graham LINK, just to name a few. I recently talked to Bruce Howett LINK and Jan Wasowicz LINK about their ideas around ending the reading wars. Also, in what was a career moment for me last week, I was able to interview P.D. Pearson LINK, whose idea of the Radical Middle LINK has served as the core foundation for my centrist position LINK. That was a two-part interview. I’ve delayed publishing the second part of that interview until next week because an old friend and colleague asked me to give her a chance to talk about a webinar she is holding next week. I thought that her request fit right into the Pearson segment because, in that segment, Pearson pointed out that there is more than one way to teach phonics. I think that Nora has found one of those ways. So, before closing out the Pearson thread next week, I thought I would share Nora’s project with you and tell you about her upcoming webinar.

I first met Nora 5 years ago. She invited Tim Rasinski and me to visit her site. Nora is the parent of a dyslexic child. The process of helping her daughter learn to read caused her to do a deep dive into the research. That, in turn, led to the creation of EBLI (Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction). EBLI teaches a form of decoding based on the work of Diane McGuinness. McGuinness advocates a speech-to-print rather than a print-to-speech way of teaching decoding. In this interview, Nora tells the whole story about the creation of EBLI. EBLI has grown a great deal since I first talked to Nora five years ago. It now serves thousands of teachers and students. It has many resources for parents and teachers. Links to that are provided later in the blog. EBLI is sponsoring a webinar next week.  

Here is Nora’s biography taken from an earlier version of the EBLI website:

Nora is a believer in the Science of Reading. She and I don’t agree on everything. But since I first visited her, she has always been willing to talk and share ideas. I often allude to the fact that of all the SOR sites I’ve looked at, hers is one of the very few that can demonstrate that their methods improve BOTH decoding and comprehension. She measures her results with tests of the full reading process rather than tests that measure mainly decoding. In this interview, Nora discusses ongoing efforts to document research around EBLI’s impact.

Nora gets decoding taught very quickly and very efficiently. To do that, she takes a road less traveled. She uses linguistic phonics instead of focusing on more traditional approaches, e.g., OG. There is a link about linguistic phonics later in this blog. Nora also talks about EBLI’s upcoming webinar. It will use a panel discussion format. The panel will consist of 3 teachers who share their evolution from other methods to EBLI. They will talk about their transition, successes, and challenges along the way. I’ll be attending for sure; I hope you will too. LINK:

Here is Nora’s interview:

NOTE: In the interview, Nora said the webinar is on the 25th. It is on the 26th, and a link is provided below.

Here is a link to EBLI’s overall website. The website is worth exploring. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the wide range of resources she provides for educators, parents, and students. EBLI website 

This is the link to the upcoming webinar:

Here are other links that go along with the topics covered in the interview:

Dr. Sam’s thoughts about this interview & a peek at future topics. As I mentioned, I have been talking to or writing about ideas from all across the reading spectrum for the past five years. I am a centrist. I am making the case that we should listen to ideas and findings from all sides of the reading issue. The way Nora carries out and promotes her program at EBLI represents one way of proceeding with Science of Reading that holds hope for eventually finding common sense and common ground. She demonstrates that there are ways to teach phonics effectively that don’t fit the mold some are trying to force on us all. Nora is not trying to force her views on anyone. Everyone would benefit from learning more about the “flagship of her fleet,” linguistic phonics.

Next week, I will post the other half of the Pearson interview. I’ll reflect on the best ways to end the reading wars. People like Nora give me hope that someday, all of us will follow P.D. Pearson’s advice to stop taking sides and start taking positions. Nora has taken the position that linguistic phonics is one path students can follow to help them quickly overcome difficulties with decoding. Please consider that. People like Nora give me hope that the day will come when we stop taking sides and start using the best research-based practices from all positions to guide us. Dare to dream!

Until next time- this is Dr. Sam signing off.

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the center taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2023 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely this author’s views and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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ANOTHER UPCOMING EVENT

Join us on November 9 at 4 pm EST for a free webinar! Register today for Transformative Teaching Strategies, moderated by Dr. Sam Bommarito with panelists Tim Rasinski, Kathy Roe, and Penny Slater.  


In this special session, Dr. Sam Bommarito will bring together an exciting panel of literacy experts to discuss strategies for improving student reading comprehension, fluency, accuracy, and reading stamina. Bestselling author and fluency scholar Tim Rasinski will share some important research on fluency. Penny Slater and Kathy Roe will show how they have used Tim’s research to develop a Reading Fluency Project in the UK that has led to struggling readers achieving more than 1.5 years of growth in comprehension/fluency in just eight weeks of small-group instruction. 

Register: pioneervalleybooks.com/webinars\

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