Roadmap to Reading Creates a Game-Changing Pathway to Children’s Deep Reading Brains

New Atlanta Speech School Program Applies Science to Help Teachers Connect with Students

This year’s back-to-school season is unlike any before. While some school districts are delaying the start of the school year, they all must choose between in-person, online, or a hybrid model that combines the two. Parents and educators are concerned that extended school closures and the rapid transition to online learning this spring hampered many students’ learning progress. This is consistent with NWEA’s findings, which suggest children are likely to only retain about 70% of last year’s gains in reading due to the hiatus. Losses are expected to be more pronounced in the early grades when students are acquiring basic skills.

To ensure that K – 3 educators have the tools and information they need to meet, reach, and teach every child, the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School has released Roadmap to Reading, a dynamic, relationship-based online program designed to help teachers construct each child’s deep reading brain during the upcoming school year.

“This is a vital, game-changing program every teacher should know about, have, and use,” said Comer Yates, executive director of the Atlanta Speech School. “We need this not just to close the gap widened by COVID-19, but also to match teaching to the science and revolutionize every child’s experience with reading.”

The free program presents the actionable science of reading through assessment tools, virtual teaching support, recommended practices, and expert guidance. The toolkit is anchored in relationships with children—what’s needed to form connections between teachers and students even during remote learning. New content will be added every two weeks, helping to guide educators as they navigate unknowns in the year ahead.

“When teachers have what they need and are able to see the results from putting the science into practice, it changes everything,” said Ryan Lee-James, director of the Rollins Center. “They’re able to make real progress with each child—to know what they need and even communicate with their families along the way.”

The virtual assessment guide is designed to enable educators to use the National Reading Panel’s “Big 5” components of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—to inform virtual instructional practices, identify areas in which students are proficient and where they may need more help, track student progress, and individualize teaching to meet each student’s needs.

Roadmap to Reading provides demonstration videos, tips, and resources to help teachers build a culture of trust, safety and learning. The program connects research with practice, preparing teachers to adapt small group instruction approaches that have proven effective in classroom settings for virtual application. Teachers also learn how to deliver an engaging and informative virtual read aloud to build literacy, empathy, critical thinking, and diverse perspectives.

Classrooms will look and feel very different this year—whether they’re online, in person, or somewhere in between—but one thing remains constant: educators change children’s lives and futures when they help them learn to read. The Atlanta Speech School wants to help them do that.

Sign up for Roadmap to Reading.

Contact Comer Yates at 404-245-0327 or Ryan Lee-James at 304-906-1837 with questions about Roadmap to Reading.