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.
The Science of Reading: Evidence for a New Era of Reading Instruction
“The past 40 years has yielded tremendous, interdisciplinary insights into the process of learning to read, gathered from developmental psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, developmental linguistics, and educational intervention research. Indeed, this is the most studied aspect of human learning.”
Investigative Report by Emily Hanford of APM Reports
“For decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked. And many teachers and parents don’t know there’s anything wrong with it.”
Student Center Activities & Resources by the Florida Center for Reading Research
“From 2004 to 2008, a team of teachers at FCRR collected ideas and created Student Center Activities for use in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms. Accompanying these Student Center Activities is a Teacher Resource Guide that offers important insights on differentiated instruction and how to use the Student Center materials.
All educators are welcome to make print copies of the Student Center Activities as long as modifications are not made, the materials will only be used for non-profit educational purposes, and the copyright remains the same.”
Foundational Skills Practice Strategies for First & Second Grade
By: Achieve the Core
“These activities will be most effective with a structured foundational skills program that includes a scope and sequence. Two standards-aligned programs, available for free, are Core Knowledge Language Arts and EL Education. In addition, please ensure that these activities align with your state’s standards.”
Phonics vs. Balanced Literacy: A Classroom Comparison
“Want to know if a K-2 classroom is using explicit, systematic phonics or balanced literacy? This visual illustrates some of the main instructional differences between the two approaches to early reading.”
Guidance for Educators Using a Balanced Literacy Program
By: Student Achievement Partners
Review this document to see how you might disrupt practices to demonstrably boost your students’ achievement and allow more of you students to become strong and eager readers. Each characteristic described in the left column presents an opportunity to redesign, adjust, or even radically alter instruction, and replace it with a new practice in the right column that is research-proven.
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.
How the Science of Reading Informs 21st Century Education
The science of reading should be informed by an evolving evidence base built upon the scientific method. Decades of basic research and randomized controlled trials of interventions and instructional routines have formed a substantial evidence base to guide best practices in reading instruction, reading intervention, and the early identification of at-risk readers. The recent resurfacing of questions about what constitutes the science of reading is leading to misinformation in the public space that may be viewed by educational stakeholders as merely differences of opinion among scientists. Our goals in this paper are to revisit the science of
reading through an epistemological lens to clarify what constitutes evidence in the science of reading and to offer a critical evaluation of the evidence provided by the science of reading. To this end, we summarize those things that we believe have compelling evidence, promising evidence, or a lack of compelling evidence. We conclude with a discussion of areas of focus that we believe will advance the science of reading to meet the needs of all children in the 21st century.
Introduction: How Children Learn to Read
Typical development in reading
The Simple View of Reading (SVR) offers one useful way to think about reading development. According to SVR, good reading comprehension requires two broad sets of abilities: word recognition and oral language comprehension. Each of these elements — word recognition and oral language comprehension — includes a set of specific component skills.
Word recognition encompasses, among other skills:
- Phonological and phonemic awareness
- Phonics and decoding skills
- Automatic recognition of common words
- The ability to read common phonetically irregular words
Oral language comprehension encompasses, among other skills:
- Vocabulary knowledge
- Background knowledge
- Sentence (syntactic) comprehension
- Understanding figurative language, such as metaphors, similes, and idioms
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.