25+ Science of Reading Resources
Updated: Apr 30
As a parent or teacher, you may have heard of The Science of Reading. Perhaps you'd like to better understand what research, resources, and tools are available to support your students in reading. Here you will find a clickable list of some of the resources we share with families and colleagues who wish to know more about literacy, reading, and dyslexia.
What Is the Science of Reading?
The Science of Reading is a body of empirical research that has been developed over the past 50 years integrating studies in neuroscience, linguistics, cognitive science, education, and psychology to help us better understand how our brains learn to read.
"The “Science of Reading” is a phrase representing the accumulated knowledge about reading, reading development, and best practices for reading instruction obtained by the use of the scientific method," Petscher et al. 2020
The Current State of Reading Achievement in the United States
It is helpful to understand the history of reading instruction in the United States in order to understand why it is critical to implement curriculum instruction based in Structured Literacy for all of our students.
Since 1969, the National Center on Education Statistics has been publishing the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Learn more about the history of the Nation's Report Card HERE.
In 2019, the percentage of fourth-grade public school students performing at or above the NAEP Proficient level in reading was 34 percent nationally. Across the states/jurisdictions, the percentage of public school fourth-graders performing at or above NAEP Proficient in reading ranged from 24 percent to 49 percent.
There are many factors related to lack of appreciable improvement in reading outcomes, including yet not limited to:
Instruction and curriculum not aligned with science
Failure to properly screen PreK-2nd graders for dyslexia, dyscalculia, and developmental coordination disorder
Increasing ELL learners who require, yet may not receive, systematic & explicit instruction
Diminished implementation of phonological & morphological interventions in PreK-2nd grade
Diminished access to developmental preschool and kindergarten
An over-emphasis on teaching to the test
The growing divide between students of wealth and students in poverty
Declines in physical activities that support sensory, fine, and gross motor development
Diminished access to high-quality sleep & nutrition
Students of color continue to lag behind Caucasians and Asians due to historical inequity, poverty, underfunded schools, and diminished opportunities for language, arts, and math.
A Few Concepts to Consider
Reading, writing, and math do not come naturally, evolutionarily. Humans are agricultural beings we were designed to roam, forage and feed our young. We were not designed to read, write, and compute.
For many students reading, writing and math require explicit, systematic, developmentally progressive instruction.
The reading code in English is a complex melding of middle English, Anglo-Saxon and Latin influences with inconsistent oral, grammatical and syntactic structure. This leads to a language with inconsistent rules which for many, must be explicitly taught. Learn more here.
For the 10-20% of students with weaknesses in phonological awareness, learning to read will not occur simply by providing text-rich environments. These students require explicit systematic phonological instruction to develop the pathways in the brain that map sounds to letters and print.
Research shows that it is more effective to intervene early prior to first grade to ameliorate phonological deficits. The longer we wait, the harder it is for the student. Deliberate, frequent, distributed practice in oral awareness, phonological awareness, and sound manipulation is needed.
The great news is that explicit, systematic phonological awareness instruction leads to more easily understood phonics and morpheme manipulation for all readers not just those with dyslexia. The key is to move to letter-sound awareness and orthographic mapping as soon as the oral awareness and phonological awareness skills are mastered.
Below you will find clickable links so that you may dive into SoR, Structured Literacy, and dyslexia more thoroughly.
I. Science of Reading (SoR)
The Science of Reading: A Defining Guide - The Reading League
How the Science of Reading Informs 21st-Century Education - Petscher et al. 2020
The Reading League Book List (Click on Recommended Books on the left under Knowledge Base)
The Science of Reading Podcast - Amplify
The Reading Wars - Hanford
Teacher Prep in SoR Program Review - National Council on Teacher Quality, 2020
II. Phonological & Phonemic Awareness
The Importance of Phonological Processing - Moats & Tolman
Understanding Phonological Awareness - Reading Rockets
What is Phonological Awareness? - Mass Literacy
III. Dyslexia Screening & Assessment
Dyslexia Screening with Dr. Nadine Gaab (Video)