Nancy Young, Ed.D.
Reading | Writing | Learning


Nancy Young, Ed.D.
Reading | Writing | Learning


Dr. Nancy Young IS the creator of the ladder of reading & writing infographic.

The Infographic:

The Ladder of Reading & Writing

The Ladder of Reading & Writing© is an infographic Nancy created in 2012 to visually represent the ease at which children learn to read and write and the instructional implications of that wide range.

Evolving over the years as Nancy strove to ensure her wording and features represented the essential messages as clearly as possible, the 2023 update is the most current. Nancy’s The Ladder of Reading & Writing is now recognized widely in the field as a “translational framework”. It encapsulates extensive research and is designed to build an understanding of the wide range of learning needs, from those for whom climbing the Ladder is challenging to those who read early and easily.

It provided the lens for the new book Climbing THE LADDER OF READING & WRITING: Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners” (2024), co-edited by Nancy Young and Jan Hasbrouck. The publisher’s preview of this book (Chapter 2) provides an overview of The Ladder of Reading & Writing. Learn more about the book (and where to purchase) HERE.    


The Ladder of Reading and Writing

Would you like to use The Ladder of Reading & Writing infographic in a presentation or another context?

Please click HERE for usage/permission guidelines and forms.

The Ladder of Reading & Writing may not be changed or modified.

NOTE: The infographic was updated in 2023 (April). If you are referencing older versions of Nancy’s infographic – please discontinue. If you previously obtained permission from Nancy to use an older version in an ongoing capacity, please contact Nancy to confirm that you have continued permission and have switched to the 2023 update.

(Please read usage/permission guidelines before downloading the Ladder)

The Ladder of Reading & Writing References (Summary)

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usage/permission guidelines


The Ladder of Reading & Writing Terminology Defined

View The File

What People Are Saying About The  Infographic

Your infographic creates a type of instantaneous psychological relief for teachers. Most of us teacher folk are committed to ALL our students. Nature and its marvelous diversity of abilities can make teachers feel like instruction for all will make us lose our minds. Your infographic rapidly helps teachers feel that all the joys AND frustrations of our daily, teaching lives can be captured on one page; can be comprehended. Between the ever-changing schedules, continuous interruptions and life events of our students, our families and ourselves– at least we have a literacy map to anchor our purpose. What a psychological relief!

Lorraine Yamin

Learning Specialist, New York City, NY

Your infographic is by far the most engaging and time effective way to illustrate differences in reading acquisition, along with reference to the school and home /within child influence. So clear, so simple, so helpful.

Kimberley Versteden

Learning Intervention Specialist, Melbourne, Australia


Dean Stanton

Artist / Illustrator

Dean Stanton’s art of smiling children climbing a ladder first appeared in the 2017 version of Nancy’s infographic. Dean was clearly the perfect person to illustrate the cover of the new book, Climbing THE LADDER OF READING & WRITING: Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners. Dean’s art also features throughout the book itself! Over the last 10 years Dean’s funky art has appeared in many of Nancy’s presentations, and his illustrations depicted the fun skill-based actions in Nancy’s previous book on movement and learning (currently being revised). Dean’s generous spirit is well known in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and his talent is recognized internationally.


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