As educators, we’re generally successful in teaching students how to read. Where we often struggle is in supporting students’ ongoing reading growth, which declines drastically in the middle and upper grades and which, in turn, prevents students from achieving their full potential.

So, how can we address this challenge—and why is this “second phase” of literacy acquisition so critical to students’ success? Watch this session for the answers, along with practical strategies for strengthening reading practice in your classroom and across your district. You’ll explore:

  • Why reading growth slows after grade 4—and what you can do to reverse this
  • How students can teach themselves essential elements of literacy, provided they have the right support
  • Ways to help students build vocabulary and background knowledge
  • How quality reading practice strengthens social-emotional learning


Gene Kerns

Gene Kerns , EdD, is Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance and a nationally acclaimed speaker on assessment, learning progressions, and educational standards. He is co-author of the book Literacy Reframed: How a Focus on Decoding, Vocabulary, and Background Knowledge Improves Reading Comprehension (2020).