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Activate Your Literacy Leadership

Knowing what matters most is important. Knowing why it matters and how to make it happen can make or break a student, classroom, or school.

My wife and I recently visited friends we haven’t seen since the pandemic started. Over the past couple of years, their family has doubled in size--they recently welcomed two beautiful babies into their family. Twins.

Needless to say, our time together was filled with lots of laughs, stories, and baby talk. At one point we were talking about all the cool baby gear on the market. I remember shaking my head and wondering how my buddy was managing everything. He looked at me and said something to the effect of, “One of our main priorities has been investing in things that help everyone sleep.”

The implication was that most of the baby gear and gadgets on the market look cute, cool, or helpful. However, without sleep everything tends to unravel. And this made me think of the countless decisions educators are tasked with making.

There are many things--many good things--on our radars right now. This much is obvious. But if teaching kids how to read...and creating the conditions where they want to read...isn’t considered one of the main things we’re missing the mark. Literacy leaders understand that successful readers have the capacity to be more successful in nearly every other academic endeavor (Gustafson, 2021; Irvin, 2010). We must co-create the conditions that ensure reading transcends language arts.

To that end, the work we do to create a community of readers isn’t something that should be relegated to the select-few leaders in your school who have “reading” or “literacy” in their titles and job descriptions. Literacy leadership is something readers need from all of us. Because it will take all of us to ensure all of them leave school with the reading skills, dispositions, and experiences they deserve.

My new book, The 6 Literacy Levers (available December 2021) will help you and your school invest in six things that matter most to readers. Specifically, six levers that will help you and your colleagues create a community of readers. The book goes well beyond sharing what matters. It delves into why they matter and how to make them happen. Regardless of the position you’re serving in right now.

The book contains a vast collection of actionable tools and examples readers can put to use. You’ll find ideas you can implement immediately in your classroom and/or school leadership position. You’ll also find activities to push conversations and work forward as a team; including a series of school-wide implementation challenges at the end of each chapter.

Whether you read this book with the goal of enhancing your own leadership or to strengthen your school’s reading community...the goal is to help you create the conditions where readers feel more seen, supported, and successful in literacy and throughout the rest of their lives.


Gustafson, Brad (2021). The 6 literacy levers: Creating a community of readers. ConnectEDD Publishing.

Irvin, J. L. (2010). Taking the lead on adolescent literacy: Action steps for school-wide success. Corwin Press.




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