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Why Literacy Matters – Unlocking the Potential of America’s Students

The Foundation of Education

Literacy is the cornerstone of education. It is the key that unlocks the potential of American students and gives them the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly complex world. Without a strong foundation in reading and writing, students face significant barriers to learning and reaching their potential. As an education journalist and advocate, I have seen firsthand the transformative power of literacy and its impact on students’ lives.

The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System

In my book, “The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System-and How to Fix It,” I delve into the root cause of our education system‘s shortcomings. One of the central arguments I make is that the focus on skills-based instruction, at the expense of building a broad base of knowledge, has resulted in a troubling literacy crisis. Many students are graduating from high school without the necessary reading and writing skills to succeed in college and the workforce.

Despite the growing recognition of the importance of literacy, we still have a long way to go to close the widespread achievement gap. This gap disproportionately affects students from low-income backgrounds, perpetuating a cycle of inequality. To close this gap, we must prioritize literacy instruction and ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have access to high quality reading and writing instruction.

The Role of Effective Instruction

One of the most effective instructional methods I have come across is the writing revolution developed by Dr. Judith Hochman. In “The Writing Revolution: Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades,” which I co-authored, we outline a step-by-step guide to using this method. By teaching students to write in a structured and systematic way, we can improve their thinking and comprehension skills across all subjects.

The writing revolution is not limited to English classes; it is a cross-curricular approach that helps students gain a deeper understanding of content and empowers them to express themselves effectively. By incorporating writing into all subjects, we can help students become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators.

Literacy as a Gateway

Literacy is not just the ability to decipher words on a page; it is a doorway to new opportunities. The ability to read and write opens doors to higher education, meaningful careers and active citizenship. It allows people to access and critically analyze information, communicate effectively, and participate fully in our democratic society.

Unfortunately, the importance of literacy is often overlooked or underestimated. As an education journalist, I have dedicated my career to covering this important issue and advocating for systemic change that prioritizes literacy. By investing in evidence-based reading and writing programs, providing professional development for educators, and addressing the structural inequalities that perpetuate the achievement gap, we can create a more equitable and effective education system.

The Path Forward

The path to improving literacy outcomes for all students requires collaboration and a collective commitment to change. It requires that we challenge traditional educational practices and adopt teaching methods that have been proven to be effective. It requires us to invest in the professional development of educators and provide them with the tools and support they need to deliver quality literacy instruction.

In addition, we must address the systemic inequalities that impede access to quality education for marginalized communities. This includes equitable funding, reducing class sizes, and ensuring that schools serving vulnerable students have access to the resources and support they need.


Literacy matters because it is the foundation on which education is built. It is the key to unlocking the potential of American students and breaking the cycle of inequality. By prioritizing literacy instruction, implementing effective teaching methods, and addressing systemic inequities, we can empower all students to thrive in school and beyond.

Literacy is not a luxury, it is a fundamental right and a critical skill for success in today’s knowledge-based economy. As we strive to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the future, we must make literacy a core component of education. In doing so, we can create a society in which everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

To learn more about the importance of literacy and explore strategies to enhance your own writing skills, you can check out this EssayPay review which provides valuable insights and resources.


  1. Wexler, N. (2019). The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System-and How to Fix It. Avery.
  2. Wexler, N., & Lewis, J. (2017). The Writing Revolution: Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades. Jossey-Bass.

This article was written by Natalie Wexler, a DC-based education journalist and author.

American Education Writer

Natalie Wexler is a DC-based education journalist focusing on literacy and the so-called achievement gap. She is the author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System-and How to Fix It (Avery 2019), and the co-author of The Writing Revolution: Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades (Jossey-Bass 2017), a step-by-step guide to using the instructional method developed by Dr. Judith Hochman. She is also a contributor on education to and the author of three novels.