What is the Science of Reading?
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
I have been talking about all things reading over the last few months, specifically the Science of Reading. So what does that term even mean? I hear a lot of confusion from people about what the Science of Reading actually is and how to apply it in their classrooms. So let's dive in.....
The Reading League recently came up with a universal definition for the Science of Reading. In short they state that the Science of Reading is a "vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing." Tis research comes from a variety of experts across many disciplines. It includes cognitive scientists, psychologists, linguistics, education researchers, neuroscientists and more. Over the last 50 decades we have amassed large amounts of research into the process of reading and we KNOW what works for students.
We have identified 5 main areas that students need to develop in order to become readers:
A large percentage of students are going to learn to read no matter how we teach them, but there is a significant group who needs explicit, systematic, and direct instruction in these identified five areas. Unfortunately, many schools and teachers are still using programs, methods, and strategies that have been shown to hinder reading in that group of students.
The Science of Reading is NOT a specific program or curriculum. There are many excellent products out there that follow the science and research. When looking at certain programs or curriculums you want to be very careful about the research they present. Research should be experimental or a quasi-experimental design, able to be replicated, and peer-reviewed. Many companies claim to have curriculum that is "evidence research-based", when in reality they themselves have conducted and/or paid for the study.
If you are interested in learning more, be sure to follow me over on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter as we continue this discussion!