Addressing K-12 literacy education, literacy instruction, and literacy curriculum inequities can seem overwhelming or even impossible for teachers and administrators—but there’s hope.

How to apply the 4 pillars of opportunity in literacy instruction

Addressing the inequities in K-12 education can seem overwhelming or even impossible for teachers and administrators—but there’s hope

Consider this: 95 percent of students have the capacity to learn to read, according to the National Institutes of Health, yet only about 34 percent of fourth and eighth grade students read proficiently, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Is this disparity an achievement gap or an opportunity gap?

How we answer this question frames our thinking about solutions. If we look at the disparity as an opportunity gap, we are saying that all students have the same ability to achieve, but not all students have had the same opportunity to achieve.

Myriad opportunity gaps exist in the modern educational system—along with a pandemic that’s only widened these gaps—and are particularly prevalent among students of different races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.

“The pandemic has stolen time from our children who have lost something sacred and irreplaceable this year. We will carry its impact for years to come,” U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona stated at a recent press conference. “For too many students, your zip code and your skin color remain the best predictor of the opportunities you’ll have in your lifetime.”

The four pillars

Equity is a process. It’s not about checking off a box and crossing that task off your to-do list. Equity provides every student access to education focused on meaningful learning–one that teaches the deeper learning skills and empowers students to learn independently throughout their lives.

Equity can be downright daunting, and particularly when it comes to literacy education. The good news is that equity can be achieved through a series of identifiable, deliberate steps.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at