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For any questions not answered on this page or one of our other FAQ pages (For Teachers, For Parents, and For Mentors), please simply contact us at

What is structured literacy?

Structured literacy is  explicit, research-based instruction in beginning reading. Recommendations from the Institute of Educational Sciences and current research support this approach for all students, but especially students who struggle to decode. 

Does every child need structured literacy?

All students would benefit from learning the relationships between sounds and the printed word. However, structured literacy is most beneficial -- often necessary-- for students who struggle to decode.

  • Double Mission: We do not just teach students to decode and read. We equip D.C. teachers with the skills so that our impact multiplies in the public school system.

  • Code-based Focus: We are focused in our mission to equip teachers with the skills to treat code-based difficulties. We do not explicitly work on reading comprehension because our goal is to attack the often unaddressed root problem of decoding. To achieve this focus, we explicitly teach structured literacy techniques, including explicit work in phoenmic awareness weaknesses. Teachers bring previous comprehension training to their work to support students' continued growth. 

  • Research-based, intensive: This is not a tutoring program. It is a research-based, intensive program for both students and the teachers who are training. 

  • One-on-one mentoring: Every single teacher has a designated mentor supporting their development through intensive study of the student. About 50% of sessions involve two licensed teachers and just one child. 

  • Free or low-cost: Unfortunately, there is no other free program in the D.C. area that offers this type of intervention to students. 

  • Incentives for teachers: We compensate both our mentors and teachers. Usually, professional development of this quality would cost the teacher or school-district. 

How does the DC Reading Clinic approach differ from what is currently available?

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