Science of Reading Research & Resources

What is the Science of Reading?

In short, the Science of Reading is much more than just phonics. Phonics is only one component among many that must be taught to individuals learning to read. Phonics simply describes the relationship between the sounds of a language and how they are visually represented by symbols or letters. One of the important components of reading an alphabetically based writing system, such as English, is learning this code and how to use it.

However, the Science of Reading includes much more than learning this code, and it does not and has never suggested that phonics should be the sole method used to teach reading—phonics instruction in isolation is insufficient. The Science of Reading also includes the genetic and neurological bases of reading, the components of reading; phonological processing, sound-letter correspondences, decoding, synthesizing, word recognition, spelling, comprehension, writing systems and their influence on reading issues, how to teach reading, how to teach reading to struggling readers, and everything else related to reading.”

~Excerpt from NYT Article by David P. Hurford, Ph.D.

EdWeek Special Report

In this ongoing series, “Getting Reading Right,” Education Week will interrogate the cognitive science behind how kids acquire foundational reading skills, with a focus on the earliest elementary readers, in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Through reporting, explainers, opinion pieces, surveys, and multimedia features, we’ll explore what teachers know about reading and where they learned it, as well as the challenges they face in bringing the research to fruition in K-2 classrooms.

Lost in Translation? Challenges in Connecting Reading Science and Educational Practice


Can the science of reading contribute to improving educational practices, allowing more children to become skilled readers? Much has been learned about the behavioral and brain bases of reading, how children learn to read, and factors that contribute to low literacy. The potential to use research findings to improve literacy outcomes is substantial but remains largely unrealized. The lack of improvement in literacy levels, especially among children who face other challenges such as poverty, has led to new pressure to incorporate the “science of reading” in curricula, instructional practices, and teacher education. In the interest of promoting these efforts, we discuss three issues that could undermine them: the need for additional translational research linking reading science to classroom activities; the oversimplified way the science is sometimes represented in the educational context; the fact that theories of reading have become more complex and less intuitive as the field has progressed. Addressing these concerns may allow reading science to be used more effectively and achieve greater acceptance among educators.

Reading 101: A Guide to Teaching Reading and Writing

Reading 101 is a self-paced professional development course for K-3 teachers, developed by Reading Rockets. The program provides teachers with an in-depth knowledge of reading and writing so they are prepared to guide their students into becoming skilled and enthusiastic readers and writers.

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