About Us
Ruth Harris Lecture in Dyslexia Studies

Always an anticipated event on the VCU School of Education calendar, the Ruth Harris Lecture in Dyslexia Studies brings prominent researchers and scholars to campus to discuss their work on — and often first-hand experience with — learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

First held in 2011, the Harris Lecture is made possible thanks to a gift from Ruth and Louis Harris that founded the Department of Special Education’s Ruth Harris Professorship in Dyslexia Studies. The Harris’ fund seeks to enhance the work in the field of language learning and reading disabilities, with a particular focus on dyslexia.

Previous presenters have included famed paleontologist Jack Horner; Anne Ford, the great-granddaughter of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford; and Candace Cortiella, founder and director of The Advocacy Institute.

This year’s event

The 2015 Harris Lecture featured Dr. Kenneth Pugh — the president, director of research and a senior scientist at Haskins Laboratories, one of the leading communities of researchers studying spoken and written language.

In his lecture, “The Literate Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging,” Pugh presented new research from his lab on the neural basis of learning to read across multiple writing systems (both alphabetic and non-alphabetic). He will also focus on atypical language and literacy development, and present ongoing studies showing how children with reading disabilities fail to develop the necessary brain circuitry to support fluent word comprehension.


To catch up on some of the previous Harris Lecture presentations, watch the embedded playlist at the top of the page or, for individual videos, select the corresponding link from the list:

Previous lectures