Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, today announced the release of Reading Above the Fray which is a practical guide for teachers looking to implement instructional practices that draw upon decades of evidence and reflect the science of reading in foundational literacy instruction.

Reading Above the Fray is now available at:

“We are in an all-hands-on-deck moment to support children as the pandemic has only exacerbated the disparities in reading we were already concerned about,” shared researcher and teacher, Julia B. Lindsey, Ph.D. “I wrote Reading Above the Fray to put information and tools into the hands of teachers with very immediate needs to support their students’ reading journeys. Teachers will be able to immediately implement reliable, concise decoding routines in their classroom that create space for both the joyful and practical elements of learning to read.”

Reading proficiency in the early grades has long been a national concern. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, results from The Nation’s Report Card showed growing achievement gaps in reading skills between higher- and lower-performing students. School disruptions and lost learning opportunities during the pandemic have further raised the alarm for all students, and particularly those in the earliest grades who are establishing key foundational skills. According to research released this month from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, reading scores declined by five points from 2020 to 2022, which is the largest score drop in reading since 1990. To support children’s reading development, Reading Above the Fray provides evidence-based routines that help young children decode words efficiently so they can effectively advance to other essential skills, including fluency and comprehension, and enjoy what they are reading.

Dr. Lindsey, who began her career as a kindergarten teacher in the South Bronx, New York, has helped translate the most effective reading research into accessible practices for teachers, curriculum directors, and non-profit organizations. Grounded in a commitment to equity and using her expertise in early literacy development instruction, Dr. Lindsey demonstrates how focusing on foundational skills and prioritizing readers’ engagement from the very start of school will produce positive outcomes in the classroom – and at home.

Reading Above the Fray is organized around three critical ideas:

  • Foundational skills are necessary for decoding, and decoding is necessary for fluency and comprehension.
  • Foundational skills must be taught systematically and with a clear purpose in mind.
  • Teaching foundational skills need not be daunting; Teachers can implement the provided “instructional swaps” for their current teaching practices to deliver more efficient and effective reading instruction.

To help support educators in implementing these three critical ideas, Reading Above the Fray unpacks the need-to-know essentials of how kids learn to read and includes concise decoding routines and strategies for multisyllabic-word recognition.

“We have known for a long time that proven practices for teaching reading can change the trajectory of a child’s life.  Recent research confirms the alarming rates of students who have missed these key early reading skills. This is also an equity issue as we know that there are disproportionately higher rates of students of color who are not reading on grade-level,” said Rose Else-Mitchell, President, Scholastic Education Solutions. “In Reading Above the Fray, Dr. Lindsey presents radically clear routines for decoding and phonics that can work with any curricula to empower every teacher in a pre-k, kindergarten, first, or second grade literacy classroom. Putting this research to work can equip all children, no matter their background to have the opportunity to learn to read and thrive in school.”

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Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors, Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller - Historical, Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Writing humorous cozy mysteries and romantic comedy, Jocie can find humor in most everything, even when she shouldn't. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family.