The Atlanta Speech School’s learning platform aims to eliminate the literacy equity barrier in education

Cox Campus, the online learning community of the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School, is disrupting the persistent status quo of the illiteracy crisis in America by eliminating school systems’ professional development “paywall,” and providing free evidence-based courses, community and resources that every teacher needs.

In 2021, Cox Campus surpassed 200,000 members and provided $15 million of the highest-quality professional development coursework to educators across early education and kindergarten through third grade. Cox Campus has done this with a singular focus on equity and an intent to bring literacy to every child and subsequently, access to economic and social opportunities a literate life affords. The Cox Campus platform, which is free to school districts across the country, is projected to double the number of teachers it will reach in the 2022-2023 academic school year, resulting in an estimated $30 million in free IACET-accredited courses and resources for educators.

Cox Campus courses are free, which allows school systems’ funds to remain in their school communities. “We are uncompromising in our commitment to provide educators with science-driven coursework and resources that our nation’s higher education institutions failed to share with them in the first place,” said Comer Yates, Executive Director of the Atlanta Speech School. “Across the country, systems are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to access the Science of Reading that we are providing for free. By joining the Cox Campus, districts and schools can reallocate that spending toward compensating their underpaid and over-worked educators.”

The vast majority of teachers have been denied access to the evidence-based methods for teaching literacy that work most effectively. As recently reported in Education Week, only five percent of educators received reading instruction from pre-service training while 14 percent cited school-provided curriculum[1].

“The responsibility for our illiteracy crisis falls on our entire educational system. In many instances, we are allowing school and district leaders to ignore the existing body of evidence that has become known as the Science of Reading,” said Dr. Ryan Lee-James, Director of the Rollins Center. “As a comprehensive response to this persistent systemic failure, the Cox Campus makes coursework, content and community free. We are committed to literacy and justice for all and are proud of the number of teachers we reached last year and have high aspirations to continue our efforts until we have reached every educator in the country.”

The Cox Campus is the only reading initiative in the country that addresses the continuum of deep reading brain construction from the third trimester of pregnancy through literacy. The coursework available on the website is grounded in equity and founded on structured literacy practices.

Recent data shows that only 35 percent of our children are proficient readers by the beginning of fourth grade; for Black children, that percentage drops to 17 percent[2]. The crisis and its implications have been captured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for decades. Since 1969 the Nation’s Report Card, as NAEP is known, has invariably revealed that Black, Brown, low-income and multilingual children are disproportionally impacted.

“Studies show that a child who cannot read by the end of third grade becomes an adult who cannot access a life of their own choosing and a citizen with no voice in our democracy,” said Lee-James.

The Cox Foundation, the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation and more than a dozen philanthropic organizations across the country are among those that have invested in the Rollins Center since it was founded in 2004. Because of this abiding philanthropic support, every course has and will remain free.

The Cox Campus, in collaboration with science of reading researchers including Dr. Louisa Moats, Dr. Deb Glaser, Dr. Julie Washington, Dr. Margie Gillis, Dr. Laura Justice, Dr. Laura Rhinehart and Dr. Maryanne Wolfe, offers free best-in-class coursework and professional development resources that families and educators cannot find anywhere else.

“Proficiency is not the destination. It is the starting point,” said Lee-James. “We want every child to develop the deep reading brain needed to discern and decide – so they have the agency to change our world. Through Cox Campus, equity is both the outcome and the means by which this can be achieved.”

To learn more about Cox Campus and the comprehensive, free literacy resources available, visit

Founded in 2014 following a generous grant from the James M. Cox Foundation, Cox Campus aims to provide free and open access to equity-based Science of Reading coursework, content and professional learning. Through continued support from national and local philanthropic partners, including the Rollins Family, the James M. Cox Foundation and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation/The Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, that are committed to access and equity, Cox Campus provides literacy resources to more than 200,000 members across all 50 states and in more than 80 countries globally. In 2021, more than 99,000 courses and videos were completed, which is equivalent to approximately $15M in accredited professional development courses.

[1]  (Loewus, Liana, “Data: How Reading is Really Being Taught” Education Week, December 03, 2019)

[2]The Nation’s Report Card National Center for Educational Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (2019) 

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