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Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph.D., is a cognitive and developmental psychologist who has devoted her career to research and applied work in the area of cognition and education. Dr. Adams's scholarly contributions include the book Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print (MIT Press, 1994). Among honors, she has received the American Educational Research Association's Sylvia Scribner Award and The International Dyslexia Association's Samuel Torrey Orton Award.
Dr. Adams chaired the planning committee for the National Academy of Sciences (1998) report Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children and has served since 1992 on the planning or steering committees for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading. She also developed a vocabulary assessment for the 2014 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) and was on the development team for the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy.
Dr. Adams has authored a number of empirically validated classroom resources, including Odyssey: A Curriculum for Thinking (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1986), which was originally developed for barrio students in Venezuela; Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 1998) on language and literacy basics for emergent readers and students with special needs; Open Court's 1995 edition of Collection for Young Scholars, a program for reading, writing, and literacy development for elementary school students; and Scholastic's System 44 (2009) and iRead (2013), technology-based programs for building literacy foundations. She has also served on the advisory board for several of the Public Broadcasting System's educational programs including Sesame Street and Between the Lions, for which she was Senior Literacy Advisor.
Dr. Adams spent most of her career with the think tank Bolt Beranek & Newman (BBN Technologies-"Where Wizards Stay up Late") in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 2000 to 2007, she was Chief Scientist at Soliloquy Learning, which she cofounded with the goal of harnessing automatic speech recognition for helping students learn to read and read to learn. She is currently a visiting scholar in the Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences Department at Brown University. She has two children: John, who is working toward a Ph.D. in social psychology, and Jocie, who is striving to be a musician. Her husband, Milton, is a rocket scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Charles Stark Draper Labs.