On September 26, 2012, the Governor signed An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency into law. The legislation, filed in January 2011 by former Representative Martha Walz (D-Boston) and former State Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), addresses an important educational benchmark, third grade reading proficiency, which strongly correlates with children’s future success in school and beyond. The legislation established an Early Literacy Expert Panel, comprised of nine members, that is charged with providing recommendations to state education agencies on the alignment, coordination, implementation and improvement of all existing efforts that bear on children’s literacy outcomes, guided by the goal of improving third grade reading outcomes in the Commonwealth.

To address this charge, the Panel is meeting regularly between 2013 and 2016. The Panel is co-chaired by Secretary of Education James Peyser and Nonie Lesaux, Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a national expert on reading development. Its members, appointed by the Secretary in September 2013, represent deep professional expertise in a range of domains related to children’s reading proficiency, including education, medicine, public policy, as well as community and family promotion.

This Panel represents a significant opportunity to cut across the boundaries of policy, research, and practice and to work collaboratively to discuss and develop new policies and policy-based initiatives in a number of domains that influence children’s early literacy development, including: 1) strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of curricula for children in early education and care programs through third grade, 2) effective instructional literacy practices, 3) pre-service training and professional development for early educators, 4) screening and assessment to monitor and report on children’s progress, 5) strategies for establishing family partnerships to improve the quality, frequency and efficacy of home-school interactions, and 6) the broader domain of effective implementation of policy and policy-based initiatives, guided by what is known from improvement science focused on risk and prevention among children and families.


Panel Members and Staff

Early Literacy Panel Members

  • James A. Peyser, Co-chair, Secretary of Education, Massachusetts Executive Office of Education
  • Nonie Lesaux, Co-chair, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Lisa Antonelli, Kindergarten 1 Teacher, Franklin D. Roosevelt School, Boston
  • Maryellen Brunelle, Superintendent, Auburn Public Schools
  • Joan Kagan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Square One, Springfield
  • Kelly Kulsrud, Director of Reading Proficiency, Strategies for Children
  • Mariela M. Páez, Associate Professor of Education, Boston College
  • Jessica R. Roth, Pediatrician, Children’s Hospital Boston and the Martha Eliot Health Center
  • Wayne Ysaguirre, President and CEO, Nurtury, Boston

Executive Office of Education Staff

  • Katherine Lipper, General Counsel