The HILL’s team of experts frequently publishes materials to help education administrators and educators effectively teach children to read and write at grade level. HILL staff and consultants have expertise across a variety of grade levels and some have worked in the field for 35 plus years. HILL literacy experts have published widely across the span of their careers in the areas of dyslexia, written and spoken language, classroom strategies and best practice in literacy. Please check back regularly as we update this page often.


Academic Publications

Leading Literacy Change

Jones, Sandra, Burns, Darci, and Pirri, Catherine. Leading Literacy Change – Strategies and Tools for Administrators, Teachers, and Coaches. Longmont, CO: Cambium Learning Sopris West, 2010.

The odds of improving student literacy increase dramatically when engaged and informed leaders drive and support the high-fidelity implementation of research-based literacy programs. Key to changing student outcomes are building and sustaining teacher capacity using assessment of the current state of schools literacy; strategic action planning; and data-based implementation of core, supplemental, and intervention programs that are accompanied by effective leadership activities.

Leading Literacy Change


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Getting Students Closer to Text: What Are the Elements of A Close Reading Lesson?

Cohen-Goldberg, Shira M., and Leslie Laud. (2014). Getting Students Closer to Text: What Are the Elements of A Close Reading Lesson? Primer: A Calendar of Exemplary Literacy Practices. Massachusetts Reading Association. V 43, No 1, p41.

Sustaining Literacy Improvement During Turbulent Times

Dr. Sandra Jones, the Executive Director of the HILL, edited the fall 2005 issue of the IDA journal, “Perspectives.” The issue is devoted to the topic of sustaining change in schools. Dr. Jones brought together some of the nation’s thought leaders on school-wide literacy change, Barbara Foorman, Carol Tolman, Sharon Walpole and Edward Moskovitch. Two of the articles authored by Dr. Jones are provided here.

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Jones, S.D. (2005). Theme Editor’s Summary Building and Sustaining Teacher Capacity in Literacy.Perspectives. The International Dyslexia Association V 31, No. 4, pp 1-4.

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Jones, S.D. (2005). A School-wide Model for Literacy Change. Perspectives. The International Dyslexia Association V 31, No. 4, pp 8-11.

The Importance of Automaticity and Fluency For Efficient Reading Comprehension

In The Importance of Automaticity and Fluency For Efficient Reading Comprehension, Pamela E. Hook and Sandra D. Jones analyze the reading process as organized along two separate but highly interrelated areas – word identification and comprehension. Their article maintains that even the slightest glitch in word comprehension and fluency can create a cognitive overhead that significantly reduces reading comprehension. The article then outlines the link between phonemic awareness, phonics and orthographic reading. So strong automaticity, built in large part through spelling practice, is required for adequate reading comprehension.

Hook, P.E. and Jones, S.D. (2002). The Importance of Automaticity and Fluency for Efficient Reading Comprehension. Perspectives. The International Dyslexia Association. V 28, No 1 pp 9-14.

Efficacy of Fast ForWord Training on Facilitating Acquisition of Reading Skills by Children with Reading Difficulty – A Longitudinal Study?

In this study Pamela E. Hook, Paul Macaruso and Sandra Jones explored the effects of Fast ForWord (FFW) training on reading and spoken language skills in children with difficulties in phonemic awareness and word identification. Gains were examined both immediately after treatment and over a period of two years. Children who received FFW training were compared to children who received Orton Gillingham (OG) training. The FFW group was also compared to a matched longitudinal control group (LC); all participants received similar multisensory structured language instruction over two academic years. Detailed findings are outlined in this excerpt from Annals of Dyslexia.

Hook, P.E., Macaruso, P., and Jones, S.D. (2001) Efficacy of Fast ForWord Training on Facilitating Acquisition of Reading Skills by Children with Reading Difficulty – A Longitudinal Study. Annals of Dyslexia. Vol. 51, pp 75 – 96.

Effective Teaching Strategies that Accommodate Diverse Learners

Effective Teaching Strategies that Accommodate Diverse Learners, Fourth Edition, the teaching, instruction, and curricula required to meet the needs of diverse learners, who by virtue of their experiential, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, challenge traditional curriculum and instructional programs.The majority of the text is dedicated to effective strategies and recommendations for teaching reading, comprehension, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies to ensure that diverse learners succeed in the classroom.

This edition features new updates that enhance the value of this book and its meaning to you as an educator in today’s classroom environment. The authors have been careful to include: the most current research inroads and the implications for diverse learners; new results from assessment of student achievement and progress; the most current trends and changing demographics; and updated policy and practice and how these affect implementation of curriculum and instruction for diverse learners in today’s schools.

Darci Burns, Hill Director, was a contributor to Chapter 1 Introduction.

Coyne, Michael D., Carnine, Douglas W., and Kame’enui, Edward J.  Effective Teaching Strategies that Accommodate Diverse Learners. 4th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2011.

Effective Teaching Strategies That Accommodate Diverse Learners


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Children's Books

Monstrous, by MarcyKate Connolly

Upper Middle Grade Fantasy, HarperCollins Children’s Books (February 2015)

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.

Monstrous is a Spring 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection. Click here to read sample on HarperCollins’ website.

Ravenous, by MarcyKate Connolly

Upper Middle Grade Fantasy, HarperCollins Children’s Books (Forthcoming February 9, 2016)

A witch has come to the city of Bryre. She travels in a hut that has chicken feet, and is ravenous for children. And once she gets what she desires, she never lets it go.

But when the witch captures Hans, Greta’s little brother, Greta refuses to let her have him. The two strike up a bargain. Greta will retrieve something the witch desires in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

To get the prize Greta must travel to Belladoma—a city where she was once held captive—which brings back terrible memories. With the help of a new friend, Dalen, a magical half-boy and half-horse, Greta embarks on the journey and tries to overcome both foes and her own weaknesses.

For fans of Monstrous and new readers alike comes the story of an epic quest and a heroine who will stop at nothing to save the one she loves most.

Look out for PRECIOUS, a prequel novella to both Monstrous and Ravenous, in the hardcover & ebook editions!

How Can I Help My Community?

We don’t take the challenge of teaching kids to read lightly: according the 2013 NAEP results, 66% of 4th graders fail to read at grade level each year and we know that we can help them. How? Working with leadership-oriented principals and superintendents, and supported by the highest-quality literacy professionals in the nation, HILL for Literacy helps schools transform into efficient, systemic platforms for literacy excellence. Contact us to find out how we can help your school or district today, or click below to learn more about how you can support our programs in your community!

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