The Science of Reading conversation is influential. 

It has drawn widespread attention to topics that are critically important—reading acquisition and instruction. Nonetheless, if we are to sustain the momentum of this conversation and achieve the movement’s goal, we must broaden our lens. 


We must use what we know but also accept that there is a lot yet to learn. We must continue to refine our understandings about how humans learn to read while growing a stronger research base about how that information transfers to evidence-based instructional practices. 

We must also expand our view beyond reading. 

While skilled reading is consequential, it is one piece of what it means to be literate today. We must heighten the importance of all literacies—reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. Only then can we attain the ultimate goal of literacy, which is to “free the mind and open doors, offering a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future” (Ferguson, 2019). 

The ultimate goal of literacy is to ‘free the mind and open doors, offering a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future.’

—Ferguson, 2019

Finally, we must keep those that matter at the center of the conversation and our efforts. 

Students matter. Educators matter. 

We must strive to support the differentiated and diverse needs of all students, recognizing that no one model, practice, or program can meet the needs of every individual. 

And who better to do that work than educators who are valued and supported with high-quality curriculum and effective professional development? 

By keeping these understandings in mind and working together as one community of educators, researchers, families, and providers, we can close achievement gaps and ensure every individual is a skilled and motivated reader, writer, and communicator.

—Jennifer L. Nigh, Ph.D.,
Curriculum and Instruction— Literacy, Kent State University  

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