A brief biography & partial list of books, peer-reviewed articles and programs authored by Dr. Marion Blank
Dr. Blank has spent over forty years studying how people learn to read and is recognized by her peers as one of the world’s top experts in literacy. Formerly the Director of the Light on Literacy program at Columbia University, she has lectured extensively around the world, authored scores of articles and books on language, and developed numerous large scale programs and assessment tools designed to effectively and economically address significant education problems. Described by Kirkus Reviews as “an invaluable resource,” Dr. Blank’s book The Reading Remedy: The Six Essential Skills to Turn Your Person into a Reader (published by Wiley) explains her system in depth. Dr. Blank is also a recipient of the Upton Sinclair Award which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to education.
Some of the books and programs authored by Dr. Blank
Dr. Marion Blank – Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Blank is a developmental psychologist with a specialization in language (both spoken and written) and learning. She worked for many years at the Department of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University where she created and directed the Light on Literacy Program. She is a recipient of the Upton Sinclair Award in Education which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to education. She has worked extensively overseas and has served as a consultant to government bureaus in England, Holland, Israel and Australia. In addition, she serves as a consultant to a wide range of school districts in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Dr. Blank has spent over forty years studying how children learn to read and is recognized by her peers as one of the top experts in literacy. She has lectured extensively around the world, authored over sixty articles and six books on language, and developed the award-winning and highly successful “Sentence Master” computer program that teaches reading. She has used her reading system to help thousands of children – both strong and struggling readers – learn how to read. Described by Kirkus Reviews as “an invaluable resource,” her book The Reading Remedy: The Six Essential Skills to Turn Your Child into a Reader explains Dr. Blank’s reading system in depth.
In 1994 and 1995, she was selected as the New Jersey nominee for the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. In 1990, she developed a software reading program, Sentence Master, which received the Special Education Software Award of 1990 from the Software Publishers Association and a Certificate of Achievement in the Johns Hopkins University National Search. In 1991, she co-authored a book, A Parent’s Guide to Educational Software (Microsoft Press) that reviewed over 200 software programs parents may use at home to foster their children’s education. Her books Directing School Discourse (1994) and Directing Early Discourse (1995) provide unique methods for fostering language skills in children who are experiencing school difficulties. She is also the principal author of the Preschool Language Assessment Instrument (PLAI), a test published in both in English and Spanish that is designed to assess the verbal communication skills of children in the preschool years.
For 10 years (from 1973 to 1983), she was a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers Medical School. In that capacity, she served as the director of a research unit in reading disabilities. From 1960 to 1973, she was on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Her work there included serving as the Director of the teaching program of the Interdisciplinary Training Program, participating in a research unit on human behavioral development (with a focus on poverty and handicapped populations) and service on the Women’s Rights Committee.
Dr. Blank has had a long-standing interest in designing large scale programs that can effectively and economically address significant social (health and education) problems. To help her pursue this goal, she completed a Masters Degree in Public Health in 1988.
B.A. City College of New York, Psychology (Valedictorian)
MS in Ed. City College of New York, School Psychology
MPH Columbia University, Public Health
Ph.D. Cambridge University, Medical Psychology
Professional Organizations and Societies
American Psychological Association (Fellow)
Association for Children with Learning Disabilities
1964-70 Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1967-70 Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1970-73 Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1973-83 Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers Medical School
1984-2016 Director, Light on Literacy Program, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University
1955 Ward Medal in Psychology City College of New York
1957-59 Pinsent-Darwin Fellowship, Cambridge University
1965-70 Career Development Award United States Public Health Service
1967-73 Career Development Award United States Public Health Service
1979 Award of Commendation New Jersey Speech & Hearing Association
1979 Elwyn Morey Memorial Lecturer Monash University Australia
1990 Award for Best Special Education Software Software Publishers of America
1994 New Jersey nominee Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award American Speech-Language Hearing Association
1995 New Jersey nominee Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award American Speech-Language Hearing Association
1996 National Tour Lecturer Australian Speech/Language Association
2010 Upton Sinclair Award in Education
Professional Organizations and Societies
American Psychological Association (Fellow)
Association for Children with Learning Disabilities
Other Professional Activities
2008 – present Editorial Advisory Board Autism File
2006-present Professional Board, New Jersey Branch Association for Children with
1980-83 Member Maternal & Child Health Research Committee
1975-83 Member Grant Foundation
1975 Consultant, British Government on Child Policy
1983 Consultant: Western Australian Government on Child Policy
Child Development and Care
Organizations and Awards:
She is the 1994 and 1995 New Jersey nominee for the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Career Award of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. She has been the recipient of a U.S. Public Health Service Career Development Award, an Award of Commendation from the New Jersey Speech and Hearing Association and the Elwyn Morey Memorial Lectureship in Australia. In the summer of 1996, she was the National Tour Lecturer for the Australian Speech/Language Association. In addition, she is a
member and fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a member of the Association of Children with Learning Disabilities and the Council for Exceptional Children. She has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals concerned with the issues of language and learning (e.g., Child Development, Applied Psycho- linguistics, Child Development and Care). She has served on the boards of several committees including the William T. Grant Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Listed in the following:
Who’s Who in America (since 1988)
Who’s Who of American Women (13th and 14th editions)
World’s Who’s Who of Women (since 1979)
Who’s Who in the East (since 1989-90)
Who’s Who Worldwide (1993-94)
Who’s Who North America-Women in American Business (1990)
Who’s Who in New Jersey (1992)
Who’s Who in American Education (1989-90)
Who’s Who in Science and Engineering (since 1st edition)
Who’s Who Among Human Service Professionals (1986)
Two Thousand Notable Americans (1985-1989)
Dictionary of International Biography (1985)
Directory of International Consultants in Psychology (1989-90)
Licensed as a psychologist in
New York and New Jersey.
Dr. Blank has authored, or co-authored, a wide range of programs, books, peer-reviewed articles, review chapters and reviews of books. Among her publications are the following:
Tests, Programs and Software
Blank, M. Rose, S.A. & Berlin, L. Preschool Learning Assessment Instrument:
The Language of Learning in Practice. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1978.
Blank, M. Rose, S.A. & Berlin, L. Prueba Para El Diagnostico del Pre-Escolar New York: Grune & Stratton, 1983.
Blank, M. Sentence Master (software) Winooski, VT. Laureate Learning, 1990 & 1995
Blank, M.., Rose, S.A. & Berlin, L. Preschool Learning Assessment Instrument 2: Austin, TX, 2003.
Blank, M.., Phonics Plus Five Darjon Learning, Tenafly, NJ 2006.
Blank, M & Berlin, L. Steps to Stories. www.stepstostories.com 2008
Blank, M & Berlin, L. Story Smarts. www.storysmarts.com 2008
Blank, M.., Letter Land by Hand. 2010.
Blank, M.., Memory Master. 2014.
Blank, M.., ASD Basic Math. 2015.
Blank, M.., ASD Unlocking Language. 2015.
Original Peer Reviewed Articles
Blank, M. Some Maternal Influences on Infants’ Rates of Sensorimotor Development. Journal American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1964, 3: 668-687.
Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. Cross Modal Transfer in Nursery School Children. Journal Comparative Physiological Psychology. 1964, 58: 277-282.
Blank, M. A Focal Periods Hypothesis in Sensorimotor Development. Child Development, 1964,35: 817-829.
Blank, M. The Mother’s Role in Infant Development: A Review. Journal American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1964,3: 89-105.
Bridger, W.H., Birns, B. & Blank, M. A Comparison of Behavioral Ratings and Heart Rate Measurements in Human Neonates. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1965, 27: 123-134
Blank, M. Use of the Deaf in Language Studies: A Reply to Furth. Psychological Bulletin, 1965, 63: 442-444.
Birns, B., Blank, M. Bridger, W.H. & Escalona, S. Behavioral Inhibition in Neonates Produced by Auditory Stimuli. Child Development, 1965, 36: 639-645.
Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. Conceptual Cross Modal Transfer in Deaf and Hearing Children. Child Development, 1966, 37: 29-38
Blank, M. The Effects of Training and Verbalization on Reversal and Extra-Dimensional Learning. Journal Experimental Child Psychology, 1966, 4: 50-57.
Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. Deficiencies in Verbal Labeling in Retarded Readers. American Journal Orthopsychiatry, 1966, 36: 840-847
Birns, B., Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. The Effectiveness of Various Soothing Techniques on Human Neonates. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1966, 2: 316-322
Blank, M. The Effect of Stimulus Characteristics on Dimensional Shifting in Kindergarten Children. Journal Comparative Physiological Psychology, 1967, 64: 522-525.
Blank, M. & Altman, D.L. Effect of Stimulus Modality and Task Complexity on Discrimination and Reversal Learning in Preschool Children. Journal Experimental Child Psychology, 1968, 6: 598-606.
Blank, M., Cognitive Processes in Auditory Discrimination in Normal and Retarded Readers. Child Development, 1968, 39: 1091-1101.
Fritz, B. & Blank, M. Rapid Reversal Learning in Nursery School Children: The Role of the Irrelevant Cue. Journal Comparative Physiological Psychology, 1968, 65: 375-378.
Blank, M. & Solomon, F. How Shall the Disadvantaged Child Be Taught? Child Development, 1968, 40: 47-61.
Blank, M., Weider, S., & Bridger, W.H. Verbal Deficiencies in Abstract Thinking in Early Reading Retardation. American Journal Orthopsychiatry, 1968, 38: 823-834.
Blank, M. & Klig, S. Dimensional Learning Across Sensory Modalities in Nursery School Children. Journal Experimental Child Psychology, 1970, 9: 166-173.
Blank, M. & Frank, S.M. Story Recall in Kindergarten Children: Effect of Method of Presentation on Psycholinguistic Performance. Child Development, 1971, 42: 299-312.
Blank, M. & Barten, S.S. Soviet Research on Speech and Language: An American Perspective. Early Child Development and Care, 1971, 1: 3-14
Blank, M., Higgins, T.J. & Bridger, W.H. Stimulus Complexity and Intramodal Reaction Time in Retarded Readers. Journal Educational Psychology, 1971, 62: 117-122.
Rose, S.A., Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. Inter- and Intra-Modal Retention of Visual and Tactual Information in Young Children. Developmental Psychology, 1972. 6, 482-486.
Blank, M., Koltov, M. & Wood, M. Individual Teaching for Disadvantaged Kindergarten Children: A Comparison of Two Methods. Journal Special Education, 1972, 6: 207-219.
Rose, S.A. & Blank, M. The Potency of Context in Children’s Cognition: A Illustration Through Conservation. Child Development, 1974, 45: 499-502.
Blank, M. The Cognitive Functions of Language in the Preschool Years. Developmental Psychology, 1974, 10: 229-245.
Blank, M., Berenzweig, S. & Bridger, W.H. The Effects of Stimulus Complexity and Sensory Modality on Reaction Time in Normal and Retarded Readers. Child Development, 1974, 46: 133-140.
Blank, M. & Rose, S.A. Some Effects of Testing Methodology on Children’s Crossmodal Performance. Developmental Psychology, 1975, 11: 120.
Blank, M. Eliciting Verbalization from Young Children in Experimental Tasks. Child Development, 1975, 46: 254-257.
Rose, S.A., Blank, M. & Spalter, I. Situational Specificity of Behavior in Young Children. Child Development, 1975, 46: 464-469.
Blank, M. & Solomon, F.E. The Childlike Question: Its Value in Teaching. Journal Learning Disabilities, 1976, 9: 625-632.
Blank, M. & Franklin, E. Dialogue with Preschoolers: A Cognitively Based System of Assessment. Journal Applied Psycholinguistics, 1980, 1: 127-150.
Berlin, L.J., Blank, M., & Rose, S.A. The Language of Instruction: The Hidden Complexities. Language Disorders and Learning Disabilities, 1981, 1:47-58
Blank, M. & Bruskin, C. Sentences and Non-content Words: Missing Ingredients in Reading Instruction. Annals of Dyslexia, 1982, 32: 103-121.
McKirdy, L.S. & Blank, M. Dialogue in Deaf and Hearing Preschoolers. Journal Speech and Hearing Research. 1982, 25, 487-499.
Bruskin, C. & Blank, M. The Effects of Word Class on Children’s Reading and Spelling. Brain and Language, 1983, 21: 219-232.
Blank, M. & White, S.V. Questions: The Powerful but Misused Form of Classroom Exchange. In E. R. Silliman (Ed.) Topics in Language Disorders, 1986, 6: 1-12.
Blank, M. & White, S.J. A Model for Effective Classroom Discourse: Predicated Topics with reduced Verbal Demands. Australian Journal of Special Education, 1992, 16: 32-39.
Blank, M. Activity Sample of a Tutorial Dialogue. In Deprivation and Disadvantage? Open University Press. Walton Hall, Bletchley, England, 1973.
Blank, M., Gessner, M., & Esposito, A. Language Without Communication: A Case Study. Journal Child Language, 1979, 6: 329-352.
Blank, M. & Milewski, J. Applying Psycholinguistic Concepts to the Treatment of an Autistic Child. Applied Psycholinguistics, 1981, 2: 65-84
Blank, M. & Major, P. Social Behavior: New Perspectives into the ‘Other’ World of Cognition. Churchill Forum, 1988-89, XI, 1,3-4.
Blank, M., McKirdy, L.S. & Payne, P.C. Forming a BOND with “Difficult to Reach, Difficult to Teach Children. Advance for Speech Language Pathologists, March 21, 1994, p. 9.
Blank, M. Taking the Right Road. Spotlight on Topics in Developmental Disabilities, 1998, 1, 4-7.
Culatta, B. Blank, M. & Black, S. Talking Things Through. Topics in Language Disorders, 2010, 30: 1-19.
Chapters and Books
Blank, M. & Bridger, W.H. Perceptual Abilities and Conceptual Deficiencies in Retarded Readers. In J. Zubin (Ed.) Psychopathology of Mental Development. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1967
Blank, M. Experimental Approaches to Concept Development in Young Children. In E.A. Lunzer (Ed.) Development in Learning. London:Staples Press, 1968.
Blank, M. How Children Learn. Science and Technology, 1968, 85: 62-70.
Blank, M. Some Philosophical Influences Underlying Preschool Intervention for Disadvantaged Children. In F. Williams (Ed.) Language and Poverty: Perspectives on a Theme. Chicago: Markham, 1970, 62-80. (Reprinted as: Implicit Assumptions Underlying Preschool Intervention Programs. J. Social Issues, 1970, 26, 15-33.
Blank, M. A Methodology for Fostering Abstract Thinking in Deprived Children. In Monographs Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Series #9, 1970.
Blank, M. The Treatment of Personality Variables in a Preschool Cognitive Program. In J. Stanley (Ed.) Preschool Programs for the Disadvantaged. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1972,111-161.
Blank, M. The Wrong Response: Is It to Be Ignored, Prevented, or Treated? In R.K. Parker (Ed.) Preschool in Action. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1972, 36-55.
Blank, M. Teaching Learning to Poorly Functioning Children. Proceedings of Third Congress of the International Assoc. for the Study of Mental Deficiency. Netherlands: The Hague, September 1973.
Blank, M. Teaching Learning in the Preschool: A Dialogue Approach Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill 1973
Blank, M. The Handicapped Learner: Recommendations for Research. In Learning Disabilities: Issues and Recommendations for Research. National Institute of Education Report, Washington, D.C. 1974.
Blank, M. & Reisman, O. The Course of Teaching. In D. W. Allen & J C. Hecht (Eds.) Controversies in Education. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1974.
Blank, M. Mastering the Intangible through Language. In D. Aaronon & R. Rieber (Eds.) Developmental Pyscholinguistics and Communication Disorders. Annals New York Academy Sciences. New York, 1975, 263: 44-58.
Blank, M. & Allen, D. Understanding Why: Its Significance in Early Intelligence. In M. Lewis (Ed.) Origins of Intelligence. New York: Plenum, 1976.
Blank, M. Developing a System of Instruction for the Young Disadvantaged Child. In C. Frankenstein (Ed.) Teaching as a Social Challenge. Jerusalem, School of Education, Hebrew University, 1976, 101-120.
Blank, M. Language, the Child and the Teacher: A Proposed Assessment Model. In P.A. Robinson & H.L Hom, Jr. (Eds.) Psychological Processes in Early Education. New York: Academic Press, 1977.
Blank, M., Rose, S.A. & Berlin, L. The Language of Learning: The Preschool Years. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1978.
Blank, M. A Communication Model for Assessing and Treating Language Disorders. In R.M. Knights & D.J. Bakker (Eds.) Treatment of Hyperactive and Learning Disordered Children. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1980, 307-319.
Blank, M., Rose, S.A. & Berlin, L. Reasoning and Problem Solving in Young Children. In M. Friedman (Ed.) Intelligence and Learning. New York: Plenum Publishing, 1981.
Blank, M. & Klig, S. The Child and the School Experience. In C.B. Kopp & J.B. Krakow (Eds.) The Child: Development in a Social Context. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1982, 456-513.
Blank, M. Intelligence Testing. In C.B. Kopp & J.B. Krakow (Eds.) The Child: Development in a Social Context. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1982, 708-714.
Blank, M. Language and School Failure: Some Speculations about the Relationship between Oral and Written Language. In L. Feagans & D.C. Farran (Eds.) The Language of Children Reared in Poverty. New York: Academic Press, 1982, 75-91.
Blank, M. Moving Beyond the Difference-Deficit Debate. In L. Feagans & D.C. Farran (Eds.) The Language of Children Reared in Poverty. New York: Academic Press, 1982.
Blank, M., Berlin, L.J., & Rose, S.A. Classroom Dialogue:Abilities and Disabilities of Learning Disabled Children. In J.D. McKinney & L. Feagans (Eds.) Current Topics in Learning Disabilties. Vol 1. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1983.
Blank, M. & Bruskin, C. The Reading of Content and Noncontent Words by Dyslexics. In S.J. White & V. Teller (Eds.) Discourses in Reading and Linguistics. Annals of N.Y. Academy of Sciences, 1984, 433, 59-69.
Blank, M. A Word is a Word: Or Is It? In D. Gray & J. F. Kavanagh (Eds.) Biobehavioral Measures of Dyslexia. Parkton, MD: York Press, 1985, 261-277.
Blank, M. Classroom Discourse: The Neglected Topic of the Topic. In M.M. Clark (Ed.) Helping Communication in Early Education. Educational Review, 1985, 11: 13-20.
Blank, M. Classroom Text: The Next Stage of Language Intervention. In L.L. Lloyd & R. L. Schiefelbusch. (Eds.) Language Perspectives II. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed 1988, 367-392.
Blank, M. & Berlin, L.J. A Parents Guide to Educational Software Redmond, WA. Microsoft, 1991.
Blank, M. & White, S. Activating the Zone of Proximal Development in School: Obstacles and Solutions, in P. Lloyd & C. Fernyhough (Eds.) Lev Vygotsky: Critical Assessments; Part 14: Applying ZPD to Education and Learning. Routledge: London, 1998.
Blank, M., Marquis, A. & Klimovitch, M Directing School Discourse Tucson, AZ. Communication Skill Builders. 1994.
Blank, M., Marquis, A. & Klimovitch, M Directing Early Discourse Tucson, AZ. Communication Skill Builders. 1995.
Blank, M. Classroom discourse: A key to literacy in (Eds. K. Butler & E. Silliman) Speaking, Reading, and Writing in Children with Language Learning Disabilities: New Paradigms in Research and Practice, Mahwah, NJ Erlbaum, 2002.
Blank, M. The Reading Remedy: Six Essential Skills That Will Turn Your Child into a Reader, San Francisco, Jossey Bass, 2006.
Blank, M. & Cull, MB. It’s Time We Had a Talk about Talk. Autism File, 2009, 30, 118-127.
Blank, M. & Cull, MB. Language and Children with Autism: The two worlds underlying verbal communication. in (Eds. S. Behrens & J. Parker) Language in the Real World: An Introduction to Linguistics, New York, Routledge, 2010
Blank, M. & Goh, Suzanne & Deland, Susan. Spectacular Bond: Reaching the Child with Autism. MSB Press, 2013
Reviews and Editorial
Blank, M. Moving Swiftly Through Language. Contemporary Psychology, 1971, 16: 807-808.
Blank, M. Pres-School and/or Education. Early Childhood Education, 1975, 94-103
Blank, M. The Three A’s of Exceptionality: Acknowledgement, Acceptance, and Aid. Contemporary Psychology, 1976, 21: 553-554.
Blank, M. Imprinting the Tabula Rasa. Contemporary Psychology, 1978, 23: 593-594.
Blank, M. Review of ”Toward an Understanding of Dyslexia: Psychological Factors in Specific Reading Disability.” In A.L. Benton & D. Pearl (Eds.) Dyslexia: An Appraisal of Current Knowledge. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Blank, M. Willing a Dream into Existence. Contemporary Psychology, 1980, 25: 42-43.
Blank, M. Review of Learning through Interaction. Educational Review, 1982, 34: 77
Blank, M. & Milewski, J. Compensatory Education in R. Harre & R. Lamb (Eds.)
The Encyclopedia Dictionary of Psychology. London: Basil Blackwell, 1983: 106-108.
Blank, M. & Milewski, J. Educational Attainment and Social Class in R. Harre &
R. Lamb (Eds.) The Encyclopedia Dictionary of Psychology. London: Basil Blackwell, 1983: 173.
Blank, M. A Knotty Bond: Language Disabilities and Psychiatric Disorders (review of book by D..P. Cantwell & L. Baker, Psychiatric and Developmental Disorders in Children with Communication Disorders) Contemporary Psychology, 1994, 39, 1114.
Language Via Literacy. The Autism Perspective. By Arlene Maidman. Volume 2, Issue 4, Fall 2006.
Teaching non-verbal children with autistic disorder to read and write: a pilot study. International Journal of developmental disabilities, Vol. 59 No. 2, July, 2013, 95–107. Suzanne Goh, Agnes Whitaker, Judith Feldman, Mary Beth Cull, Ken Hoyte, Molly Algermissen, Maureen McSwiggan-Hardin, Davida Kugelmass and Bradley S. Peterson. Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute.