Change can be challenging.

Especially when you are shifting long-held beliefs and practices. Sometimes regret gets in our way. Sometimes overwhelm. Sometimes fear.

And while it is good to acknowledge and make space to process these feelings, camping out with any one of them can keep us from moving forward. To make the changes we want to make without getting caught up in complicated inner narratives, it can be helpful to make a few simple promises to yourself.

That’s what we did when we embarked on the journey of studying the reading science and writing Shifting the Balance: Bringing the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom. 

In this video, we read aloud The Six Commitments and engage in conversation–and a bit of banter–about navigating the tricky interior space of change. We wrote The Six Commitments, pledging to take care of ourselves and each other, as one of our first collaborative acts in our writing partnership.

These commitments were part of the intentional work that went into the not-so-simple decision to step into the liminal (and often contentious) middle space between those who strongly identify as “Balanced Literacy” and those who strongly identify as “The Science of Reading.” Undoubtedly, this has ranked as some of the hardest work–emotionally and intellectually–that either of us have ever done!

You will find The Six Commitments on page 7, in the introduction of Shifting the Balance. But you can also download a free copy in two different formats at

      • A one-pager with all the commitments in list form, ready to be printed and posted.
      • If you want a really fun option, Kim Harkreader made some truly beautiful bookmarks of the six commitments, one for each commitment. They are color-me ready! These would be fun to share with colleagues and a great addition to professional learning anytime a change to current practice is the focus. Just print, share, and let the creativity begin. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to attach a bit of chocolate!

Take me to the downloads!

We’d love to hear which commitment most resonates with you. You can tag us at @TheSixShifts on Twitter or Facebook to let us know.

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