About Us

We help schools reach their literacy potentials

We have worked to raise students' literacy skills for years, as educators, researchers, and instructional leaders.


Our story

Gates to Learning
Joshua Lawrence and Jacy Ippolito started collaborating ten years ago when they were both working as literacy coaches and researchers in the Boston area. They were approached by the Massachusetts Department of Education to develop a set of materials to support adolescent literacy across the Commonwealth. These materials became the basis for a series of professional development workshops that they offered, which grew into ongoing collaborations with schools across the state, including Brookline, Acton, and Newburyport public schools, among many others. This work has now formed the basis for Reading Ways, a new endeavor —led by Josh Lawrence. Reading Ways works with schools nationwide to grow a network of expert coaches and literacy instructional leaders. Contact Reading Ways at contact@readingways.org for more information.

Our mission

To ensure high-quality literacy instruction in all content areas.

We believe that all students should leave secondary school able to use reading and writing to participate effectively in society in a variety of roles, be it as a private individual, citizen, or employees.


Local and State Leadership

In 2009, Josh Lawrence and Jacy Ippolito are both teaching at Harvard University. Lawrence teaches Developing Adolescent Literacy, and Ippolito teaches Literacy Coaching. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked Lawrence and Ippolito to create PD materials and learning experiences to support literacy in middle and high schools statewide.  Lawrence publishes a chapter on classroom discussion in the Handbook of Reading Research and a paper on academic vocabulary in the journal Educational Leadership. Ippolito publishes a sole-authored article in Elementary School Journal.


Extending our impact

Ippolito and Lawrence form Adlit PD, and requests for their expertise spread. They work with 15 districts in three states (California, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts). Ippolito and Lawrence edit the book Adolescent Literacy in the Era of the Common Core. Ippolito and colleagues also edit a themed issue of the Harvard Educational Review on adolescent literacy, and Lawrence publishes articles in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

2013 & 2014

Deepening our learning

Adlit PD continues large, multi-year projects in Massachusetts and California, resulting in publications in the Journal of Staff Development and the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Lawrence begins to develop online resources and gives presentations on digital learning and literacy at the Google campus (New York City) and the White House (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs).

2014 & 2015

Going digital

Adlit PD rebrands as Reading Ways LLC and launches a new web presence with online courses for school-based literacy leaders and teachers. Ippolito and Rita Bean publish Cultivating Coaching Mindsets: An Action Guide for Literacy Leaders, which is the primary text used in the Reading Ways Literacy Leadership course. Reading Ways also publishes Facets of Disciplinary Literacy and Critical Thinking: Theory to Practice and develops the hybrid model of strategy use.

2016 & 2017

Building Capacity and Communities

John Fahey joins the leadership team at Reading Ways, bringing business and social-innovation expertise. Reading Ways develops marketing, design, and social media talent. The University of Oslo and Reading Ways collaborate on the “Teachers as Designers” research project, which explores critical thinking and disciplinary learning in international contexts. Ippolito and colleagues publish Disciplinary Literacy Inquiry and Instruction and An Uncommon Theory of School Change: Leadership for Reinventing Schools. Lawrence joins the editorial review board of Reading Research Quarterly.
2018 and beyond



Josh Lawrence

Josh Lawrence is an expert on applied educational research and adolescent literacy. Josh completed a three-year postdoc at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During his time there, he led a randomized trial of the Word Generation program with Dr. Catherine Snow. One lesson from that work was that how schools choose to implement instructional change is just as important as the quality of the program or strategy a school chooses to adopt. He was subsequently hired and tenured at the University of California, Irvine where he published extensively on how middle schools adopt cross-content-area reading programs, and how these initiatives can improve vocabulary and reading scores. He is currently a Professor at the University of Oslo. You can find out more about his research work at http://readingresearch.info/.

Jacy Ippolito

Jacy completed his doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on literacy coaching and school reform. He is a national leader in coaching and professional learning. He has published over a dozen articles on coaching and school leadership, written or edited five books on adolescent literacy or instructional leadership, and currently co-directs the Educational Leadership program at Salem State University, where he also serves as department chair. Jacy advises Reading Ways on matters related to coaching and professional learning.

Fahey, K., Breidenstein, A., Ippolito, J. & Hensley, F.  An UnCommon Theory of School Change: Leadership for Reinventing Schools. (Teachers College Press, 2019).

Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L. & Charner-Laird, M. Disciplinary Literacy: Inquiry and Instruction. (Learning Sciences, 2019).

Bean, R. M. & Ippolito, J. Cultivating coaching mindsets: An action guide for literacy leaders. (Learning Sciences International, 2016).



Department Chair, Salem State University, School of Education, Salem, MA, Secondary and Higher Education Department

Lead writer for Standard 6, International Literacy Association Standards Revision Committee, charged with revising U.S./International Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017), serving from 2015-2018

Board Member for the Specialized Literacy Professionals SIG (Special Interest Group), an affiliate of the International Literacy Association (2017-2019)

John Fahey

John Fahey is our Director of Business Development and has an extensive background in sales and marketing from the technology industry. John has also held a variety of positions in non-profit organizations and holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Starr-King School for Ministry from the University of California, Berkeley. John is currently a student at the Claremont Graduate University and is an active member of the Claremont Institute for Process Studies.