The WNY Literacy Initiative is a collaborative effort comprised of teachers, parent groups, community organizations, local universities, education non-profits, and literacy experts. There are now 22  organizations that have partnered together to support this important initiative, including Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo NAACP, the Buffalo Police Athletic League, the Buffalo Urban League, the Community Action Organization of WNY, Dyslexia Allies of WNY, Dyslexia Services of WNY, The Education Trust – New York, Literacy Buffalo Niagara, Monkey See, Monkey Do…Children’s Bookstore, the New York State Network For Youth Success & the Afterschool Network of Western New York, Neuhaus Education Center, The Niagara Frontier Reading Council, Project Flight, The Reading League, Read to Succeed Buffalo, Say Yes Buffalo, Teach My Kid to Read, Villa Maria College, We the Parents of WNY, WNY Education Alliance, and WNY Literacy Collaborative.



The mission of the WNY Literacy Initiative is to improve literacy rates in Western New York, especially in underserved communities, through a multi-year, three-pronged effort involving:

  1. Community Outreach – We are working with partner organizations and sponsors to build science-aligned literacy hubs in local schools, public libraries, and community centers, conduct book readings in schools with celebrities under our “Reading with the Stars” Program, and hold community workshops to provide support for parents of struggling readers and children with dyslexia.
  2. Professional Development – With the support of our partners, we are funding professional development opportunities for local educators and facilitating partnerships between local schools and educational organizations to provide evidence-based reading instruction through teacher training and the implementation of high-quality, content-rich curriculum.
  3. Advocacy – Through partner organizations, we are working to raise awareness of the science of reading with decision-makers in Western New York and New York State more broadly in an effort to provide more resources to support science-aligned reading instruction for students and training for teachers.



To support the mission, the partners of the WNY Literacy Initiative hosted the first WNY Science of Reading Conference, inviting the top literacy leaders from around the country to Buffalo on November 5, 2022. You can find the agenda and list of speakers here.


Some of our speakers have made their presentations shareable:

- Kareem Weaver"Literacy As a Civil Right"

- Dr. Maria Murray: "The Other Knowledge Gap: Calling Attention to Educator & Stakeholder Knowledge as the Key to Transforming Reading Outcomes"

- Natalie Wexler: "The Knowledge Gap - What it is and How to Narrow it"

- Dr. Pamela Kastner"Phonemic Awareness & Proficiency: Sound Instruction Foundational for Skilled Reading"


Video Recordings of the WNY Science of Reading Conference, 11/5/22

We are proud to present video recordings of the presentations from Kareem Weaver, Dr. Tracy White Weeden, Dr. Maria Murray, Natalie Wexler, Dr. Pam Kastner, the K-12 Panel, the Higher Education Panel and Closing Remarks from Karen Vaites and Dr. Tracy White Weeden. You can find the entire collection here.