Closing the Literacy Gap

Accelerating the Progress of Underperforming Students

Thomas G. Gunning
Foreword by Raven Jones Stanbrough

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
July 12, 2022
ISBN 9781462549757
Price: $85.00
284 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
June 16, 2022
ISBN 9781462549740
Price: $35.00
284 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
May 13, 2022
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $35.00
284 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
284 Pages

Packed with practical tools, this book provides K–6 educators with a research-based framework for accelerating the reading and writing growth of underperforming students. Strategies and resources are included for building foundational skills, comprehension, and vocabulary; engaging students with independent reading and periodicals; developing writing; and implementing tutoring and other extra supports. The book gives special attention to helping those most affected by the literacy gap—Black and Latinx students, students living in poverty, and students with reading disabilities. It describes dozens of high-quality intervention programs, assessments, activities, and materials, many of which can be accessed for free at the companion website. Reproducible forms and handouts can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

“Literacy is an issue of equity. Students who are less proficient in reading and writing are likely to be disadvantaged for life in many important areas. This book presents an eminently readable and practical approach to closing the literacy gap, from an author who knows his stuff. Gunning has spent his career working with underperforming schools and struggling readers. He offers actionable approaches and resources that can make a true difference in the literacy lives of all students—especially those about whom we worry most.”

—Timothy Rasinski, PhD, Professor of Literacy Education, and Rebecca Tolle and Burton W. Gorman Chair in Educational Leadership, Kent State University

“This book is a great tool that should be a go-to for teachers, curriculum coaches, and administrators. Gunning provides a roadmap for creating an equitable reading program that meets students where they are and gives them the best opportunity to grow in their reading. I definitely will be returning to, highlighting, and sticky-noting this book!”

—Kari Richards, MEd, fifth-grade teacher, Carmel Elementary School, Clarksville, Tennessee

“This book is chock-full of valuable resources for classroom teachers, reading specialists, and teacher educators who want to train and motivate prospective literacy interventionists. Gunning presents a variety of free and commercial options for teaching phonics, comprehension, writing, and fluency. Whether novice or experienced, digitally savvy or technologically challenged, teachers will uncover 'just-right' strategies, texts, and technology resources to address the needs of particular students. Reading this book is like having the author right there in the room with you to share his deliberate, strategic, and contextualized approach to accelerating students' learning.”

—Karen C. Waters, EdD, College of Education, Sacred Heart University

Table of Contents

1. Catching Up sample

2. Building Foundational Skills to Accelerate Progress

3. Instruction in Foundational Skills and Understandings

4. Boosting Students’ Basic Reading Levels

5. Using Extensive Independent Reading to Accelerate Literacy

6. Using the Magic of Periodicals to Accelerate Progress

7. Providing Extra Time

8. Using Tutoring to Accelerate Progress

9. Using Comprehension Strategies and Graphic Organizers to Accelerate and Deepen Learning

10. Accelerating Vocabulary Growth

11. Using Writing to Close the Gap

12. Helping Those Most Affected by the Literacy Gap

13. Taking Steps to Accelerate Literacy Progress and Close the Gap


Children’s Literature


About the Author

Thomas G. Gunning, EdD, is Professor Emeritus of Reading at Southern Connecticut State University, where he served as Director of the Reading Clinic. Dr. Gunning has taught at all levels and has been a reading specialist and consultant in inner-city schools in Philadelphia and Hartford. He is the author of more than a dozen books on literacy and several intervention programs for struggling readers. Dr. Gunning has conducted research in foundational skills, decoding strategies, readability, and comprehension. He has a special interest in working with underperforming readers, especially those who have significant difficulty learning foundational skills.


Classroom teachers, literacy specialists and coaches, and staff developers in grades K–6; teacher educators and students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.