While literacy is the foundation of every child’s success story, both in the classroom and later in life, one in four children in the US grows up never learning how to read. 

Learning to read is one of the most valuable skills developed in early childhood education, and the academic and life-long consequences of not learning how to read can be dire. It is vital to equip our teachers with the tools and knowledge they need to help all children learn how to read. 

Here is our compilation of the top 5 literacy education trends for teachers to watch out for and use to continue to increase literacy in 2023.


The Science of Reading Movement Will Continue
to Bring Equity in Literacy for All

Literacy is a fundamental human right. All students should be provided the same learning opportunities, regardless of their socio-economic status. 

Instructional equity is the key to creating educational equity. One of the greatest obstacles to equitable literacy education is the need for consistent professional development across school districts. Incorporating Structured Literacy and the Science of Reading in primary instruction is key in achieving equitable literacy instruction across all schools. To become proficient in reading, students need systematic instruction in phonics and other foundational reading skills like comprehension to become fluent decoders.

As of July 28, 2022, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or implemented new policies related to evidence-based reading instruction since 2013. With many states adopting the Science of Reading, school districts everywhere are working toward implementing these new policies and classroom practices. By providing educators with empowering professional development, teachers are gaining a deeper knowledge of literacy that increases fidelity and consistency in the classroom and creates equity in literacy for all.


Families Will Become More Engaged in Their
Children’s Literacy Development 

To succeed in combating pandemic-induced learning loss, parents and educators must partner together. In 2023, we will see parents increasingly playing a crucial part in their children’s literacy journey, augmenting the work of their children’s teachers. 

According to a 2021 report, 85% of parents showed interest in playing an active role in their child’s education. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, parents gained insight into the challenges of being a teacher and how they can work to assist their children’s educators.

Parents are learning the value of exposing their children to written and verbal language at an early age. This can be done through bedtime stories or reading aloud, where parents can expose their children to new vocabulary. It is also a good way for parents to build upon their children’s fluency skills.


Professional Development Opportunities Will Expand

Teacher retention is a significant challenge in the U.S. As of September 2022, there were 36,500 teacher vacancies in the United States. Only 62% of teachers teach longer than five years, creating a constant need for new teachers and more effective retention strategies. As a result, professional development opportunities will need to grow to provide teachers with the tools and techniques they need to succeed.

Over the past several years, more states have passed laws or implemented new policies requiring schools to use evidence-based methods for teaching young students how to read. As this number continues to grow, so do the professional development opportunities for educators everywhere. It is projected that $18 billion dollars a year will be spent on professional development for U.S. teachers. That’s a big jump from the $5.71 billion that was estimated in 2020.

Teachers are being guided toward more effective, focused, and sustained professional development opportunities that are capable of promoting widespread and lasting changes. By providing K-3 and other reading teachers with effective literacy professional development from the start, district and school leaders are supporting their efforts to make sure each student has the tools and knowledge they need to excel in reading and writing year after year – and helping teachers to see the value in maintaining their role in education.


Adoption of New Educational Technologies to
Support Learning Wil Grow

Educational technology is taking the reins in schools across the globe. Since the pandemic’s start, the adoption of technology inside and outside classrooms has grown, from those that facilitated virtual learning to those that supported students at home or in more personal ways. 

As we leave the pandemic behind, technology usage hasn’t waned. Teachers continuing to harness the power of technology in the classroom successfully are enhancing their literacy instruction with increased efficiency. By providing students with digital literacy activities, teachers can review activities for one group of students while allowing another group to work on different activities.


Schools Will Move Quickly to Leverage Federal Funds

Many students fell behind in reading during the pandemic as the world shifted from in-person instruction to virtual learning. As a result, federal funding for schools was dispersed in 2020 and 2021 as a part of the ESSER COVID-19 relief funds packages. Twenty percent of these funds must be used to combat COVID-19 learning loss through evidence-based intervention, including reading intervention. 

In 2023, schools must allocate these funds before they run out in September 2024. If your state, district, or school still needs to use the ESSER  funds, download the latest IMSE guide to ESSER funding to learn how you can pursue the opportunity to invest in evidence-based, research-proven solutions to help combat learning loss. 

In summary, 2023 is going to be another exciting year for literacy educators and their students. While the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the educational system, it also opened the door to new strategies and tools to help advance literacy through both professional development and tools for students.

We have more knowledge now about the vulnerabilities in our schools. We can use this knowledge to provide better instructional approaches for future challenges. Literacy education is one area that will continue to receive a spotlight for professional development, new classroom strategies, and new educational tools and technologies.

Please connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest to get tips and tricks from your peers and us. Read the IMSE Journal to hear success stories from other schools and districts, and be sure to check out our digital resources for refreshers and tips.