It has been almost a year since Shifting the Balance: Bringing the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom hit real and virtual bookshelves. We’ve been so moved by the robust response to this little book, to say the least. 

Quite honestly, what started as (and remains) the scariest project of our professional lives has also turned out to be the most humbling, most rewarding, and even the most fun.

Among the many responses to the book, we were especially touched and inspired by the message we received from Katie Cunningham, just weeks after the book came out. Katie is also a writer, consultant, professor, and former upper elementary classroom teacher with a long history of passionate service to the literacy community. Katie wrote,

“This book will change the lives of countless children. It is exactly what the world needs right now. It is also what I need right now both personally and professionally.” 

Professionally, Katie appreciated how Shifting the Balance made reading research digestible. It became a touchstone text for her undergraduate and graduate students to get a science-aligned start to their careers. Personally, Katie was navigating the ways her two sons were experiencing literacy learning in schools, particularly her younger son who was diagnosed with dyslexia right when Shifting the Balance came into the world.   


Katie Cunningham


Katie’s research into how to support teachers, her students, and her sons, coupled with her commitment to joy in the classroom (She actually wrote a book about that!), have given her expansive knowledge of and keen insight into the nexus between “balanced literacy” and “the science of reading” in 3-5 classrooms. She is passionate about the ways bringing more brain-friendly practices into upper elementary classrooms can support all students in grades 3-5, not just students with dyslexia, like her son.

So here’s the exciting news!  Drum roll, please. . . .

We’re thrilled to let you know that the brilliant, kind, and dedicated Katie Cunningham is joining us to write a 3-5 version of Shifting the Balance. We are over-the-moon excited, to say the least! Just as was true with the K-2 version, we have the good fortune to pursue this project under the guidance of the Stenhouse Publishing family, and more specifically, to work with the inspired editor, Terry Thompson.  

The 3-5 book will follow the same structure as the K-2 book, with each chapter built around misunderstandings and followed by high-leverage routines for making the shift. The six shifts in the 3-5 book, however, will be more specific for upper-grade students. And while the new book is really zoomed in on 3-5 practices, it will also serve as a sequel to the first, building on the foundational science we’ve already shared with you–science that we believe anyone who teaches reading, whatever the grade, needs to know and understand deeply. 

Of course there are lots of factors that determine ultimate publication dates. We can’t make any promises at this point, but are well on our way and SO VERY excited about the collaboration. It just seemed time to let you know that this new book is in process.

If you want to learn more about Katie, you can read about her on her website. You can also follow her reviews of children’s literature on the blog she writes for School Library Journal with four colleagues, “The Classroom Bookshelf.”

So, for all of you who have written to us asking, “Is there going to be a Shifting the Balance for grades 3-5?” We are excited to finally tell you, “Yes, there is!”  If you’re interested in receiving updates specific to this project, you can join the StB 3-5 Updates list here.


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