Wartrace, TN

(931) 922-2800

Teaching the Ways the Brain Learns

Teaching the Ways the Brain Learns

Teaching the Ways the Brain LearnsTeaching the Ways the Brain Learns

Principal Consultant


Joanne Coggins, PhD

Joanne Coggins earned her Ph.D. in Literacy Studies at Middle Tennessee State University and her M. Ed. in Secondary Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  At the University of South Carolina's Honors College in Columbia, she earned her B.A. in English with a Spanish minor.  She has two decades of experience teaching in TItle 1 schools; and subject matter expertise and teaching certifications in Spanish, ELA, ESL, and special education. While her aim is to improve literacy across the spectrum, necessarily, her focus is on early grades (K-5) reading improvement and identification of at-risk learners. 

Adding to the peer-reviewed corpus of the research studies collectively known as the "Science of Reading," Dr. Coggins' recent and ongoing research studies have shown that Readable English is a particularly effective reading intervention for middle and high school students with significant reading difficulties.  The program's novel approach to scaffolding structured literacy with comprehension strategies has exciting implications for the remediation of post-elementary students with reading disabilities, particularly students with dyslexia.  

Extensive training in, and use of, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, Inc. reading fluency and reading comprehension interventions characterize Dr. Coggins’ elementary experience.  Research studies at MIT, Yale, and Harvard have found that using these interventions can activate inactive areas of the brain in children with reading disabilities/dyslexia.  Using these intensive interventions, students who had not significantly benefited from traditional teaching techniques showed dramatic improvement in reading abilities. 

A passionate believer that all students can succeed and become valuable community members, Dr. Coggins works with school districts, universities, trade schools, and educational companies around the world to create programs that provide functional literacy, promote internships, and create viable pathways to training and the work force. Dr. Coggins continues to teach primary and secondary students, as well as adult learners to read and write. She finds that using trauma informed teaching techniques to engage students of all ages is critical to successfully accessing their learning. 

Subject Matter Expert


Laura Clark Briggs, PhD


Laura Clark Briggs is a psychometrician and educator with more than 20 years’ experience in instructional and administrative posts at the middle and high school level.  Her experience includes work in traditional school settings as well as in non-traditional, alternative, and hardware-secure correctional settings.  She is a subject matter expert in Spanish, ELA, and EL/ESL.  A scholar-practitioner with internationally recognized expertise in literacy, Dr. Briggs works with ministries of education in the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) and Levant regions to advise school supervisors on effective second-language instructional practices. 

Dr. Briggs received her B.A. in Foreign Languages from Austin Peay State University, her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University, and her Ph.D. in Literacy Measurement and Analysis from Middle Tennessee State University.  Her passion is working with at-risk students who are learning a second language, and her research focus examines how childhood trauma affects cognition and second-language reading comprehension.