Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

Informed Literacy Leadership Matters

August 29, 2023 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Thanks to EdWeek for continuing to lift up the voices of educators and highlight important discussions happening in the field around effective literacy instruction (“What People Are Getting Wrong About the Science of Reading,” July 7, 2023). It was inspiring to read the opinion essay from two reading specialists about their success in improving literacy instruction in their school. It was great to read about how they’ve developed students’ foundational literacy skills, which support independent reading, and also fostered the development of background knowledge to aid comprehension of more complex books.

As a former school leader who prioritized helping teachers develop and improve their instructional practices, I found Brooke Wilkins and Lauren McNamara’s approach to synthesizing the research on effective reading instruction informative. I believe it has been key to their success. By defining what the science of reading means in a way that is accessible and leverages the best research and pedagogical practices, the authors have ensured everyone in their school has a common language and can focus on a unified approach to literacy instruction—one that emphasizes phonics as well as language comprehension.

Across the country and in schools, there are debates over how to teach reading. But the intentional leadership exemplified by Wilkins and McNamara helps ensure discussions remain civil, fact-based, and focused on what’s best for kids. The upshot is their school has been able to shift instruction in positive ways and develop a vision grounded in research and effective practices.

That’s an approach we can all learn from, and I am excited to share this essay with schools I support with professional development. Any school can benefit from the lessons these talented educators so thoughtfully offer.

Daniel Velasco
Implementation Leader for Wit & Wisdom and Geodes
Great Minds
Chicago, Ill.

A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2023 edition of Education Week as Informed Literacy Leadership Matters


School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy The Key Parts of a 'Science of Reading' Transformation, According to One State Chief
Under Carey Wright's leadership, Mississippi pulled off a reading "miracle." She has a similar transformation in mind for Maryland.
6 min read
Dr. Carey Wright, the interim state superintendent for Maryland, discusses improving literacy instruction and achievement with Stephen Sawchuk, an assistant managing editor for Education Week, during the 2024 Leadership Symposium in Arlington, Va. on Friday, May 3, 2024.
Carey Wright, the state superintendent for Maryland, discusses improving literacy instruction and achievement during Education Week's Leadership Symposium in Arlington, Va., on May 3, 2024.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Reading & Literacy Teachers Are Still Teaching Older Students Basic Reading Skills, Survey Finds
Who across the K-12 spectrum engages frequently in activities that promote foundational reading skills? The answer may come as a surprise.
4 min read
Group of kids reading while sitting on the floor in the library
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on The Science of Reading in Practice
This Spotlight will help you analyze new curricula designed to build knowledge, review the benefits of reading aloud to students, and more.
Reading & Literacy Opinion Readers Can Struggle at Any Age. Here's How Teachers Can Help
Struggling readers may be able to read the words but fail to make the necessary connections between ideas and their meaning.
8 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."