Webinar Series

Top 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Literacy Instruction

Released: August 9, 2023

How can you help students improve their ability to understand complex text and their writing skills? Probably not in the ways you’ve been led to believe work best. The standard approach to reading comprehension has students practice skills and strategies like “making inferences” about texts on a random variety of topics. And writing is generally relegated to a separate block, with students writing about topics unrelated to the core curriculum. But evidence indicates what really boosts students’ literacy is to connect reading and writing. Plus, comprehension and writing instruction should be grounded in rich content. And all aspects of literacy need to connect—not just reading and writing, but also listening and speaking.

In this webinar, participants will learn:

  • Why it’s important to read aloud to the whole class from a series of complex texts, staying on the same topic for at least two to three weeks—and how to find resources for those “text sets”
  • How to ask questions that put content in the foreground rather than skills and strategies
  • Why it’s crucial to organize classroom libraries by topic as well as reading level
  • Why spending a lot of time on meaty social studies and science topics is the best way to boost reading comprehension
  • How students’ comprehension improves when they write about what they’re learning and get explicit instruction in constructing sentences, paragraphs, and essays


Natalie Wexler
Natalie Wexler
Education Writer and Author

Natalie Wexler is an education writer and the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System—And How to Fix It (Avery 2019). She is also the co-author, with Judith C. Hochman, of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Jossey-Bass, 2017), and a senior contributor to the education channel on Forbes.com. Her newsletter, Minding the Gap, on Substack, is available for free. Click here to view past posts and subscribe.

Her articles and essays about education and other topics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the MIT Technology Review, The American Scholar, and other publications. She has spoken about education before a variety of groups and appeared on a number of TV and radio shows, including Morning Joe and NPR’s On Point and 1A.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Sussex (UK), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a reporter, a Supreme Court law clerk, a lawyer, and a legal historian. The author of three novels, she lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and has two adult children.

Learn more about Natalie Wexler


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