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Literacy Is Still Not Enough

Literacy Is Still Not Enough
Modern Fluencies for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Foreword by George Saltsman

February 2021 | 248 pages | Corwin
Modern fluencies provide a platform for authentic teaching, learning, and assessment 
While reading, writing, and arithmetic remain important, they are no longer enough. For learners to thrive, they must move beyond traditional literacies to modern fluencies—the unconscious mental processes that are learned, adapted, and applied in the context of real-world problems and challenges.

In this book, the authors unpack the fluencies (solution, information, creativity, communication, collaboration, and global citizenship) to reflect the relentless social, cultural, and economic shifts of modern times. Practical resources are presented alongside:

  • Authentic Unit Plan Exemplars for each fluency
  • Assessment rubric examples
  • Discussion questions

Learners today must master an entirely different set of essential skills and knowledge needed to succeed than previous generations. This book provides a practical framework for integrating new fluencies into traditional curriculum.

Preface: Evolution of the Fluencies
About the Authors
PART I: Setting the Scene for the Modern Fluencies
Chapter 1: Highly Educated Useless People

Chapter 2: Education in the Age of Disruption
Disruptive Innovation

The iPhone as a Disruptor

Disruption Is Everywhere

What Is Exponential?


Where Do We Begin?

Chapter 3: From Literacy to Fluency: The Starting Point
Literacy Is Still Not Enough

Conscious Application of Essential Skills

Unconscious Application of Essential Skills

Modern Learning Fluencies

The Path Forward

Chapter 4: Modern Learning Pedagogy and the Learning Progression
Learning Theorists and the Modern Fluencies

The Progression of Thought and Learning

The Role of Technology in the Modern Fluencies

Using Mental Processes

Heutagogy and the Fluencies

Modern Learning Skills

Context and Meaning: The Velcro of Learning

Chapter 5: Modern and Future-Ready Learning Environments
Types of Modern Learning Environments

It’s All About Mindsets, Not Materials or Miracles

Know Thy Learner: Cultural Competency

The Learning Space: Fabricating a Place of Imagination and Endless Potential

Essential Attributes of Modern Learning Environments

Screen Time

Cultivating Optimal Learning Environments

PART II: An Introduction to the Modern Fluencies
Chapter 6: Teaching and Learning Using the Modern Fluencies
What Are the 6 Modern Fluencies?

Why There Are Nine Steps to Each Fluency

Chapter 7: Solution Fluency: Real-World Problem Solving
Step 1: Define

Step 2: Determine

Step 3: Discover

Step 4: Dream

Step 5: Design

Step 6: Deliver

Step 7: Diagnose

Step 8: Debrief

Step 9: Decide

Chapter 8: Collaboration Fluency: Global Connections
Step 1: Explain

Step 2: Establish

Step 3: Explore

Step 4: Envision

Step 5: Engineer

Step 6: Execute

Step 7: Examine

Step 8: Evaluate

Step 9: Extend

Chapter 9: Information Fluency: InfoWhelm and HyperInformation
Step 1: Ask

Step 2: Audience

Step 3: Access

Step 4: Authenticate

Step 5: Assemble

Step 6: Apply

Step 7: Assess

Step 8: Analyze

Step 9: Action

Chapter 10: Communication Fluency: Text and Multimedia
Step 1: Pose

Step 2: Pinpoint

Step 3: Prepare

Step 4: Picture

Step 5: Plan

Step 6: Produce

Step 7: Probe

Step 8: Ponder

Step 9: Pledge

Chapter 11: Creativity Fluency: Innovation and Imagination
IQ versus CQ

Step 1: Illustrate

Step 2: Identify

Step 3: Inquire

Step 4: Imagine

Step 5: Initiate

Step 6: Implement

Step 7: Inspect

Step 8: Investigate

Step 9: Inspire

Chapter 12: Global Citizenship: Citizenship in the Digital Age
Cultivating Good Citizens Online and Offline

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Global Citizenship Passport

Chapter 13: Authentic Assessment: Techniques and Strategies
Summative and Formative Assessments

Authentic Assessment


Types of Rubrics

Creating Assessments and Rubrics Aligned to the Modern Fluencies

The Overview of the Unit: Full of Hot Air

The Importance of Peer and Self-Assessment

Feedback and Feedforward


Tools for Formative Assessment and Rubrics

PART III: Moving Forward
Chapter 14: The Future of Education Is Now: Are You Ready?
An Overview of the Fluencies

When and How to Use the Fluencies

Today’s Learners Are Different

Chapter 15: Fluency Resources
Fluency Digital Libraries

Fluency Lesson Sparks

Fluency Lesson Planning Template


A teacher’s job is no longer to dispense knowledge. Instead, it is to facilitate learning for students whose future world is changing exponentially. Literacy Is Still Not Enough is the right book at the right time to help us redouble our efforts to shift a multigenerational culture of learning that has been preparing students for a world that is in the rearview mirror.

Jeff Remington,
National STEM Teacher Ambassador Palmyra, PA

Literacy is not enough! In spite of frequent critiques, schools are better at teaching simple reading and math skills than we have ever been. It is not enough! Literacy Is Still Not Enough shows how new fluencies drive success at all levels and shows the way to teach children the habits of mind that will define the new success. Well done on this rich reboot of a classic

Fran Murphy
Retired Dean of Education St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY

Finally, a book that not only tells ‘why’ we need to teach the long-talked about 21st century learning skills, but much more critically ‘how.’ A masterful handbook for school leaders and school teachers. Essential reading!

Andy Rankin,
Principal, Avalon Public School, Avalon Beach, New South Wales, Australia

This timely how-to guide is designed to help students, teachers, and schools effectively manage the many challenges of a world experiencing the profound disruption and ongoing reconfiguration of COVID-19 times. Learning the essential fluencies leads to the development of practical teaching and learning constructs based on modern learning skills that will enable successful and productive global citizenship for the modern, ever changing world.
The six fluencies are derived from an extensive review of global essential skills lists. This is an eminently practical resource that must be used to inform teacher training programs, which currently seem to lag behind the education young people need to successfully navigate life in the twenty-first century

Mike Frost,
Director, Education and Training Consultant, Mike Frost & Associates, Hobart, Tasmania

I have implemented the 9Ds of Solution Fluency in three different school settings with great success. My students have thrived and flourished using the carefully crafted learning progressions for inspiring real-world learning experiences.
The initial publication of Literacy Is Not Enough had a profound impact on me as an educational leader, my colleagues, and my students. I am elated that Mohan, Jukes, and Schaaf updated this instructional gem.
The content and resources are innovative and appropriately presented for educators teaching in an unpredictable and ever-changing world—a visionary resource for the future of learning.

Dany Coelho,
Principal, Waitara Public School, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia

Literacy Is Still Not Enough is a provocative read that not only opens many new discussions, and addresses topics left unanswered from the past, but also provided me with strategies to move to new levels of engagement and competencies. This book is a must-read for all in education.

Lisa Holmes
Professor of Education, Spokane Community College, Spokane, WA

Literacy Is Still Not Enough is an important and timely book that makes a compelling case for embracing an ever-evolving understanding of what it means to be literate in today’s highly visual and hyper-connected world. But beyond being a framework for establishing new foundations of literacy that meet the world where it is today, the book champions the use of authentic learning projects which are able to demonstrate relevance and context to today’s learners. This book is recommended reading for educators who not only want to better prepare their students for today’s landscape of communication, creativity, employment and global awareness, but to do so through projects that matter.

Nikos Theodosakis
Speaker, Educator, and Author, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada

This book is for any educational stakeholder who no longer believes ‘the way we’ve always done it’ is a good enough basis for an educational decision. Mohan, Jukes, and Schaaf have developed a pedagogical solution by reimagining the six modern fluencies. Their 9Ds process for real-world problem solving ensures that students are competent in the essential skills they will need after graduation.
As an educator in an ever-changing world, this book reinforced the need for problem-focused learning. The 9Ds process for real-world problem-solving provides a road map for student success. My head was spinning with new ideas to make learning in my classroom more relevant by focusing on the six modern fluencies. My copy will be placed in an easy-to-grab location to use as a guide when designing any and all new units.
Mohan, Jukes, and Schaaf provide a deep look into the challenges that are making it hard for students to be successful when they leave the classroom. Fortunately, they provide clear and concise steps to allow students to learn independently through the 9Ds process ensuring the development of the modern fluencies. This book is a must-read for any educator who wants to disrupt the field of education and support students in thriving beyond life in the classroom.
The book is a helpful guide for designing units that emphasize developing higher-order independent thinking skills through explicit, organized steps, unit examples, and practical assessment strategies. The only reason I wanted to put the book down was to create fluency units that promote active, engaged, higher-level thinking in today’s and tomorrow’s learners.

Becky Zayas
Academy Teacher, Forsyth County Day School Lewisville, NC

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