Welcome to the Engaging Learners Academy Course in Closing the Reading Gap!

This two hour course introduces the current research on effective instructional methods to develop student reading proficiency. The instructor, Dr. Katie McKnight, will describe the research on text complexity and choosing the right books for students’ reading levels, as well as how background knowledge can be taught to increase reading success.

The Reading Gap and How We Can Close It provides educators with the research and knowledge to implement reading curricula that work. At a time when many of our students are not proficient readers, this course offers some practical solutions for meeting those standards in ways that are meaningful and lasting.

  • Learn how to implement effective instructional strategies for developing reading proficiency
  • Identify the dimensions of text complexity and how it can help with book assignments
  • Become familiar with the importance of background knowledge and how it relates to successful readers
  • Explore resources for classroom reading


Upon completion of the course each student will receive a certificate documenting 2 hours of professional development.

Example Curriculum

  The Reading Gap and How We Can Close It
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Dr. Katherine McKnight Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine McKnight is a dynamic presenter, dedicated teacher, and award-winning author. Dr. McKnight began her career in education over 30 years ago as a middle school and high school English and social studies teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. In addition to speaking at professional development conferences, she is a regular consultant in schools and classrooms in the United States and Internationally.

Dr. McKnight’s 15-year distinguished university career culminated in her assignment to Distinguished Professor of Research at National Louis University. She is the founder of Engaging Learners, an educational company built around her successful Literacy and Learning Center model. Her work in educational leadership, literacy and student skill development has resulted in unprecedented academic achievement in many struggling schools.

Dr. McKnight has received several awards for her publications and teaching at the university level. She has authored 20 books that support educational strategies to engage all learners. Her titles include the best-selling The Teacher’s Big Book of Graphic Organizers, winner of the 2013 Teachers’ Choice Award and Literacy & Learning Centers for the Big Kids, grades 4-12. Most recently, she founded Morning Meeting webinars during the COVID 19 pandemic as a weekly forum to bring together educators to engage in professional learning. To learn more about Dr. McKnight, visit her websites:  KatherineMcKnight.com and EngagingLearners.com



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The Reading Gap and How We Can Close It