The performance of South African learners in reading comprehension is extremely poor. The Progress in International Literacy and Reading Study (2016) highlighted that by the end of grade 4, 78% of learners cannot read for meaning. In this context, what can administrations, school leaders and managers do to promote improvements in literacy? This policy brief presents findings from a two-year mixed methods project that aimed to identify leadership and management practices that may be linked to higher literacy outcomes in township and rural schools. The Leadership for Literacy study highlights the need to refocus the role of school leaders and managers on enhancing the knowledge and pedagogical skills of teachers through effective human resource management and support.