Our Story

We are a collective of progressive educators on a mission: sharing and scaling the program we’ve built for (and with!) our students over the last decade, to inspire relevant reading experiences, heartfelt conversations, and instructional breakthroughs in classrooms across the nation.

We wrote Reading with Relevance because we couldn’t find the tool we needed to effectively teach our students. Most of the young people in our classrooms not only came to us two to four years below their grade level, but also with very real social and emotional struggles that sometimes felt more important than school. We came to believe that meeting students’ social and emotional needs was the key to unlocking their academic potential.

Reading with Relevance leverages student interest in highly engaging social and emotional learning activities to develop crucial academic skills: reading fluency, comprehension, and critical thinking. We turn barriers to learning into the very tools that accelerate literacy.

Our Mission

Our Founders

Lacy Asbill and Elana Metz are the Co-Founders of Moving Forward Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on students’ emotional well being as a critical strategy for improving their academic achievement. They founded the organization fifteen years ago in Oakland, CA; inspired by a vision of an organization run by young people, for young people, they believed in the power of a new generation to create fresh solutions to persistent social problems. Since its founding, the organization has served more than ten thousand of the most underserved youth in their community, and trained over five hundred young adults to serve as a new generation of educational leaders. The two are now deeply passionate about sharing the tools and best practices they’ve developed with educators across the nation, scaling the positive impacts of their Reading with Relevance curriculum.