The United States is facing an educational crisis. U.S. students are doing poorly in literacy, math, and science compared with their peers in other industrialized countries. In addition, globalization is changing the demands of the workplace. American workers are now facing competition from skilled workers in many low-cost countries. Further, technology is in the process of automating all tasks reducible to rules. To stay ahead and sustain our standard of living, we must prepare our students for the 21st century with new skills — they must be capable, creative, innovative problem-solvers — along with the traditional core skills. The foundation for all learning is basic literacy. This means more than the simple decoding of words; it also requires the ability to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words and, eventually, to infer meaning from patterns of information.