We have a reading issue in our nation.
95% of students are not learning to read, even though about 95% have the cognitive ability to do so.
You see, even with decades of reading research, our curricular practices don’t yet match what the science of reading research indicates.
If you’re ready to start to increase the number of students who become good readers, the place to begin is with a reading curriculum/program based on the science of reading, a foundational tool for high-quality reading instruction.
Visual A shows a set of students in a classroom. Adorable, eh? These students come to school knowing they are going to learn to read. They’re excited to be in kindergarten to begin their reading journey, a journey that takes years to master. But, half the class is not learning to read even though the school has provided differentiated support.
Most students have the cognitive capacity to learn to read
According to information provided in a research briefing by EAB, most students have the cognitive capacity to learn to read. Visual B shows my interpretation of the percentages provided in EAB’s research report, Narrowing the Third-Grade Reading Gap. The report indicates that while 95% of students have the cognitive capacity to learn, about half will only learn to read with explicit and direct instruction based on the foundational skills of reading.
Visual B provides EAB’s statistics related to the cognitive capacity of students in learning to read. Their data shows that about 30% of students are capable of learning to read regardless of instructional quality. Approximately 15% of students will require additional time and support to stay in or get back on track for Tier I instruction. About 50% of students will learn to read if they have Tier I explicit instruction in foundational skills of reading. Some students (about 5%) may have severe cognitive limitations and struggle with reading throughout their lives.
What is needed to ensure that more students learn to read?
The first step is to look at your curriculum/reading program. Do you have a balanced literacy program or a program based on the science of reading? Programs based on the science of reading provide all components of what students need to learn to read. These components are structured and substantial.
Visual C shows why a curriculum/reading program based on the science of reading is important. A curriculum/reading program based on the science of reading supports learning to read for all students, not just those who learn no matter the program.
If we want almost all of our students to learn to read, we need to make smart choices when choosing a curriculum/reading program that supports all students in learning to read – and that means a curriculum/reading program based on the science of reading.
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Select Resources for Science of Reading
The resources that follow are organized into several categories: Books, Articles/Booklets, Media, and Blogs/Websites. I’ll continue to update this list of resources, but this is a pretty good start.
Association for Psychological Science. Beyond the reading wars: How the science of reading can improve literacy.
Fofaria, R.R. (2019). Can science knock down barriers to reading proficiency and rescue read to achieve?
Hanford, E. (2018). Hard words. Why aren’t kids being taught to read? APMreports.
Linguist-Educator Exchange (2013). The history of the science of reading: Huey and the psychology of reading.
Opportunity Culture. (2019). Bring the science of reading into the classroom. A one-pager reference tool for the science of reading.
Ortiz, E. (2019). I embraced the science of reading and why you should too.
Reading Plus. (2019). The science of reading efficiency: 5 facts you can’t ignore.
Reyhner, J. (2020). The reading wars: Science versus whole language.
Sanchez, S. (2018). The gap between the science on kids and reading, and how it is taught. NPR-ED
Schwartz, S. and Sparks, S.D. (2019). How do kids learn to read? What the science says. Education Week.
Schwartz, S. (2019). Influential reading group makes it clear: Students need systematic, explicit phonics. Education Week.
Schwartz, S. (2019). Schools should follow the ‘science of reading,’ say national education groups. Education Week
Seidenberg, M. S. (2014). The science of reading and its educational implications.
Learning to Read (Part 1) by Amplify. Both parts (Parts 1 and 2) of this set of booklets will become a go-to for those wanting to understand the science of reading.
Learning to Read (Part 2) by Amplify
The Science of Reading and School Leadership. Hosted by the Education Writers Association
Kilpatrick Webinar Series. By the 95% group.
Science of Reading – Webinar Recording, December 2019.
Teaching Reading is Rocket Science – with Dr. Louisa Moats
Science of Reading – Theoretical Models Including Scarborough’s Reading Rope
Science of Reading Learning Path Explained Arkansas Department of Education
Reading League Event David Kilpatrick
The Reading League Live Event September 2019
Leaders and Learning in Literacy The Tolman Hour
The Science of Reading – Part 1 (RISE Arkansas)
How the Brain learns to Read by Professor Stanislas Dehaene
Can Science Help Bridge the Classroom Gap? MIT Science of Reading Symposium
What Science Says About How Kids Learn to Read Education Week
Advanced Phonemic Awareness Pattan
Blogs and Websites
APMReports. Featuring Emily Hanford.
The Science of Reading. by Timothy Shanahan
Learnography. This is a favorite of mine because of the insightful posts about how the brain transfers knowledge.
Voyager Sopris Learning. Features Louisa Moats.
ModEL Detroit. The new ELA curriculum is free and downloadable.
ParkerPhonics.com This link will take you to the FREE resources about teaching systematic, synthesized phonics.
Opportunity Culture. Provides numerous pieces about the science of reading.
Mike Schmoker’s Blog. Mike is the author of Focus.