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When we know better we do better.
When we know better we do better.
Vol. 6, No.13 
September 2018

Our Work Together is Far from Over

Message from Dr. Margie Gillis
As Literacy How kicks off our tenth year of empowering teaching excellence, we remain rooted in the evidence-based knowledge-to-practice approach that has informed our work since our beginnings at Haskins Laboratories in 2000.

In our home state, Literacy How has contributed to key legislative and policy strides, such as the Connecticut Foundations of Reading Test for preservice teachers and the Foundations of Reading Survey for certified teachers. Connecticut also has been a leader in crafting legislation supporting the identification and instruction of students with SLD/Dyslexia and requiring their instructors to have appropriate knowledge and practice. We have been gratified to assist Decoding Dyslexia-CT with these ongoing efforts.
Our work as providers of evidence-based professional development and embedded coaching is far from done, however.
Eighteen years after the Report of the National Reading Panel, more than 60% of fourth grade students are reading below grade level (NAEP). An entire generation has moved through the educational system since the release of these explicit recommendations for teaching reading. Reporter Emily Hanford addresses the issue in this audio documentary by American Public Radio on the Educate podcast, Hard Words. Why aren’t kids being taught to read? 
The reasons?  Many teachers still don't know this science, since it wasn't taught during their pre-service education. Other educators remain resistant to evidence-based practice, in spite of the science. In our work, we often encounter educators who recognize the science and the value behind explicit phonemic awareness and phonics instruction (word recognition), yet reject evidence-based approaches for teaching comprehension.  
And so, our work continues to evolve as we face ongoing challenges and embrace new opportunities.  For example, we are working across a large urban school district, not only with general education teachers, but also with some special education and ELL teachers, who are often siloed. We believe that this overarching effort will benefit teachers and students alike.
In 2017-18, we delivered our new Structured Literacy Series four times in Connecticut and beyond, as well as throughout two large school districts. One of those districts has brought us back for embedded coaching in every school. The other district requested the series for more teachers. Word is spreading about this explicit approach that benefits all students and is essential for those with SLD/Dyslexia. Stay tuned for the dates for our Spring 2019 series!
Also coming in 2019Reading Comprehension, Knowledge to Practicethe fourth title in our Professional Learning Series, available on  
We wish you many insights and successes in the school year ahead, wherever you are in your personal learning and teaching journey.  
When we know better, we do better!
Our Mission is to EMPOWER TEACHERS to ensure that every child learns to read by third grade.
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