The Science of Reading has significant implications for education, as it provides evidence-based guidance for teaching reading skills to students of all ages. By applying the research findings from this field, educators can design effective reading instruction that helps all students develop strong reading skills and reach their full potential.
Looking for a way to improve reading skills in your classroom? Dive into the exciting world of the Science of Reading! Discover the latest and most effective techniques that will enhance your students' comprehension, vocabulary, and overall reading experience. With these strategies, you'll be able to create engaging and empowering lessons that will take your students to new heights of achievement.
What is the Science of Reading?
The Science of Reading refers to the body of research that explores how we learn to read, why some people struggle with reading, and how we can effectively teach reading skills. This field draws on various disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, to uncover the cognitive and neurological processes involved in reading.
The Science of Reading has its roots in decades of research on the cognitive and neurological processes involved in reading. This research has helped to identify the critical skills and strategies that readers need to become proficient, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
While the principles of the Science of Reading have been well-established for many years, it has taken time for them to gain widespread recognition in the world of education. In recent years, however, there has been a growing movement to apply evidence-based practices from the Science of Reading to reading instruction in schools.
In the United States, the Science of Reading has gained significant attention and momentum in recent years, particularly in response to persistent gaps in reading achievement among students. In 2019, the National Council on Teacher Quality released a report on teacher preparation programs that found many programs weren’t adequately preparing teachers to teach reading based on the Science of Reading.1 This report helped to spur a national conversation about the need for evidence-based reading instruction.
In response, several states have taken action to promote the Science of Reading in education. In 2019, the state of Mississippi passed the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, which requires all K-3 teachers to receive training in evidence-based reading instruction, including the Science of Reading. Other states, including Florida and Arkansas, have also passed laws mandating evidence-based reading practices in schools.
The Science of Reading has also gained recognition and influence in other parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, the Education Endowment Foundation has funded a number of studies on the effectiveness of evidence-based reading interventions. In Australia, the New South Wales Department of Education has developed a comprehensive literacy strategy based on the Science of Reading.
The Science of Reading represents a significant shift in the way educators approach reading instruction. By incorporating evidence-based practices from this field, educators can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to become proficient readers.
Five key findings of the Science of Reading
The Science of Reading provides strong evidence-based guidance for teaching reading skills. Research has identified critical reading skills, including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Studies have also shown that explicit and systematic instruction in these skills is more effective than implicit or incidental instruction.
Additionally, the Science of Reading emphasizes the importance of early intervention for students who struggle with reading, as well as ongoing assessments and progress monitoring to ensure that all students are making progress.
The ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words is a critical precursor to reading. Children who struggle with phonemic awareness may have difficulty sounding out words and comprehending text.
Teaching the relationship between letters and their corresponding sounds (phonics) is a crucial component of reading instruction. A strong understanding of phonics helps children decode unfamiliar words and develop reading fluency.
A robust vocabulary is essential for reading comprehension. Children who are exposed to a rich and diverse range of words from an early age are more likely to become strong readers.
The ability to read quickly and accurately is a hallmark of skilled reading. Fluency is developed through regular reading practice and explicit instruction in reading skills.
The ultimate goal of reading is to understand and learn from the text. Skilled readers use a variety of strategies to comprehend what they read, including making connections between new information and prior knowledge, asking questions, and visualizing.
Shaping the future of learning with SoR
The Science of Reading is shaping the future of education by incorporating evidence-based practices, identifying at-risk students, and designing curriculum materials based on research-based principles. Advocates are working to ensure educators have access to the latest research findings and instructional practices.
Here are some of the ways the Science of Reading is shaping education:
Reading instruction based on evidence
The Science of Reading emphasizes the importance of teaching phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension explicitly and systematically. Educators can use evidence-based instructional practices to help students develop these critical reading skills.
Teacher training and professional development
Many educators have not received comprehensive training in the Science of Reading. To address this gap, teacher training programs and professional development opportunities are beginning to incorporate evidence-based practices from the Science of Reading.
Assessment and intervention
The Science of Reading helps educators identify students who may be at risk for reading difficulties and provide targeted interventions to support their reading development.
Educators can use the research-based principles of the Science of Reading to inform the design and selection of curriculum materials that support the development of strong reading skills.
Policy and advocacy
The Science of Reading has prompted discussions and debates about education policies related to reading instruction and assessment. Advocates for evidence-based reading instruction are working to ensure educators have access to the latest research findings and instructional practices.
Understanding reading fluency: The frameworks of SoR
The skills and processes that underlie fluent reading are complex and multifaceted and require a thorough understanding to effectively develop and teach.
Two main frameworks commonly used to understand reading fluency are The Simple View of Reading and Scarborough's Rope.2
The Simple view of reading
The Simple View of Reading is a model that describes reading comprehension as the product of two main components: word recognition (decoding) and language comprehension. This framework emphasizes the importance of developing decoding and language comprehension skills to achieve reading fluency.
Scarborough's Rope is another framework that provides a detailed view of the multiple skills and processes required for fluent reading. The framework presents reading as a multifaceted "rope," with individual strands representing various reading sub-skills, including phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Each strand is interwoven with the others, and all are necessary for strong reading ability.
Together, these frameworks provide a structured and comprehensive approach to analyzing and developing the necessary skills for reading proficiency. By understanding the various components of reading fluency and how they relate to one another, educators can effectively develop targeted interventions and instruction to support students' reading development.
The seven principles of the Science of Reading
The Science of Reading is a body of research that has identified critical principles for effective reading instruction. These principles are based on decades of research into how children learn to read. These principles are also proven to be effective in promoting reading proficiency among students of all backgrounds. Here are seven key principles that every educator should know:
- Reading is not a natural skill and must be explicitly taught.
- Phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension are foundational skills that must be taught systematically and explicitly.
- Direct, explicit instruction is more effective than implicit or incidental instruction.
- Effective instruction must be evidence-based and guided by ongoing assessment and progress monitoring.
- High-quality reading instruction is essential for all students, especially those who are struggling.
- Engaging instruction that includes multiple modes and senses is more effective than passive instruction.
- Early intervention is critical for students who are struggling with reading.2
By understanding and implementing these principles, educators can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to develop strong reading skills and become confident, capable readers.
Support bi-literate and bilingual students with Science of Reading
Research-based instruction can be a powerful tool in supporting bi-literate and bilingual students, who comprise a significant portion of English learners in public schools across the United States. Over 75% of English learners in public schools are Spanish-speaking (NCES, 2021).3 Celebrating the existing skills and strengths of these students through research-based instruction helps them develop new skills that support their continued growth.
Effective instruction for bi-literate and bilingual students should also align with the principles of the Science of Reading, which emphasizes evidence-based instruction and the explicit teaching of foundational skills like phonics and vocabulary. Integrating these principles into instruction for bi-literate and bilingual students can help them build strong literacy skills in both languages and become confident, capable readers in all areas.
Research has shown that explicit instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics is particularly important for bi-literate and bilingual students who are learning to read in two languages. This type of instruction can help students develop a strong foundation in both languages and support their ongoing growth as readers.
Similarly, instruction in vocabulary and comprehension strategies can help bi-literate and bilingual students develop strong reading skills in both languages. By focusing on evidence-based instruction that aligns with the Science of Reading, educators can help ensure that all students, including bi-literate and bilingual learners, have access to the tools and strategies they need to become successful readers.
Ultimately, the Science of Reading provides a strong foundation for effective reading instruction in schools and helps ensure that all students, including bi-literate, bilingual students, and native language speakers have the opportunity to become proficient readers.
A deep understanding of their strengths and needs, as well as an ongoing commitment to evidence-based instruction, promotes their continued growth and development and super-charges your impact as an educator.
Learn the latest SoR education skills at KU
Looking to take your career in education to the next level? The Curriculum and Teaching online Master's program at KU is the perfect opportunity to do just that. With a focus on the latest essential skills in the field—including the Science of Reading—our program equips you with the knowledge and expertise needed to make a meaningful impact in today's ever-evolving educational landscape.
With the flexibility of online learning, you can gain these skills while maintaining your busy schedule. Join our community of passionate educators and take the first step towards advancing your career today.
According to U.S. News and World Report, KU offers the #19 Best Online Master's in Education Programs for Curriculum and Instruction.4
- Retrieved on April 14, 2023, from www.nctq.org/publications/A-Fair-Chance
- Retrieved on April 14, 2023, from scienceofreading.amplify.com/
- Retrieved on April 14, 2023, from www.nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cgf/english-learners
- Retrieved on April 14, 2023, from usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-kansas-155317