Crafting Minds seeks to promote the best practices in literacy and English language arts instruction. Along these lines, members from our group provide consultations, evaluations, and ongoing professional development workshops designed to support school districts and enhance practitioners' knowledge about the fields of neuroscience, reading instruction, dyslexia, achievement motivation, early literacy skills, and use of technology in literacy development. Our interdisciplinary team of professionals consists of Developmental Psychologists, Educational Researchers, Reading Specialists, and Special Educators. 




Melissa Orkin is a Developmental Psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities, and achievement motivation. Dr. Orkin trained in the assessment and remediation of reading and learning disabilities with Dr. Maryanne Wolf, at the Tufts’ University Center for Reading and Language Research where she received her doctorate and served as a Program Director. She has worked as a reading teacher in the classroom, and in clinical settings. Dr. Orkin instructs on learning disabilities at Tufts University and has also lectured on reading disabilities at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She contributes to publications on a variety of educational topics including literacy development and executive function skills, and regularly provides professional development workshops and consults with public and private schools on best literacy practices.



Leandra Elion is a reading specialist and special education teacher, with training and expertise in multisensory methods for students with reading disabilities. She has taught literacy to students of all ages, from preschoolers, through the elementary grades and up to the high school level. Leandra has also taught teacher interns at both Brandeis and Tufts University.  She has been a Literacy Coordinator for a public school district and has worked for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in their Special Education Planning and Policy Department. Among her interests is using technology to support struggling readers and she has presented on this topic at literacy and special education conferences. Currently, at Tufts, Leandra is a Lecturer in Education and Special Education. She also is the Vice-President Elect of the Massachusetts Reading Association, working on international and state-wide literacy improvement projects.  



Dr. Gottwald is a linguist specializing in the interaction between the acquisition of spoken and written languages. Stephanie has directed investigations into evidence-based solutions for struggling readers, including the development and longitudinal, NICHD-funded, efficacy testing of the RAVE-O program, an evidence-based fluency and reading comprehension curriculum. Stephanie has provided professional development in the RAVE-O curriculum for thousands of teachers in a multitude of national and international educational settings. Stephanie also speaks frequently about her work in treading development, assessment, and intervention. Stephanie is a Co-Founder of the Curious Learning, which seeks to develop a global, open-source solution to support child-driven literacy learning. She holds an M.A. from Boston College and a Ph.D. from Tufts University in Linguistics and Literacy.



Rebecca Lord, M.Ed. is an elementary math coach in Waltham Public Schools and a former dual special education/middle school math teacher. She has 10 years of experience in specialized math instruction, primarily teaching substantially-separate small-group math classes to students with dyscalculia, dyslexia, language-based, and math learning disabilities. During this time she also served as a middle school math general education teacher, provided tier 2 math support, and designed and delivered tier 3 math interventions. Over the past several years she has provided professional development on dyscalculia, math learning disabilities, and effective math instruction for teachers and districts throughout MA.

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