Practical tips for your state, district, classroom, or in partnership with your child's school.


The Basics of the Science of Reading

There are so many pieces to the Science of Reading that it can be difficult to know where to start. This article provides a few highlights about what the Science of Reading IS and what it IS NOT, to get even the most novice person started on their journey in understanding how children learn to read.

What it IS

A collection of research, over time, from multiple fields of study that shows how children best learn to read, and how children don't learn to read.

Teaching based on the 5 big ideas:

Phonemic Awareness - The ability to identify and play with individual sounds in spoken words

Phonics - Reading instruction on understanding how letters and groups of letters link to sounds to form letter-sound relationships and spelling patterns

Fluency - The ability to read words, phrases, sentences, and stories correctly, with enough speed, and expression

Vocabulary - Knowing what words mean and how to say and use them correctly

Comprehension - The ability to understand what you are reading

Ever evolving. There is new research and evidence all the time. As populations, communities, and approaches evolve, so should practice.

What it IS NOT

A program, an intervention, or a product that you can buy. The Science of Reading could be considered a philosophy or an approach to teaching that is based on decades of research and evidence but is NOT a specific program.

Phonics-based programs that drill phonics skills. Phonics is an integral part of teaching based on science, but it is just one of the five components that should be taught for all children to be able to read.

Complete and no more study needs to be done. As with any science, it is never complete. We can always know more. More study happens all the time and researchers, teachers, and parents can work together to bring the best research into classrooms.

Science of Reading Resources

Do you want to learn more about the Science of Reading?

Check out The Reading League's book: Science of Reading: Defining Guide. You can download it for free.

You'll find a conversation about the Science of Reading at the end of our Reading The Room webinar.

If you are looking for a guide on how to teach reading, check out Reading Rockets Reading 101: A Guide to Teaching Reading and Writing

And, you can always visit the NCIL Website for Science of Reading resources. Our mission is to increase access to, and use of, evidence-based approaches to screen, identify, and teach students with literacy-related disabilities, including dyslexia.

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