For years, the “Reading Wars” have raged on. Educators and literacy experts have debated the best way to teach reading. Is it to teach students phonics? Or is it to teach students whole language instead?
On the 20th anniversary of the monumental National Reading Panel Report research that introduced the world to the science of learning to read, the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE) is making our position known. In this video, CORE President, CEO and reading expert, Linda Diamond, explains the science of learning to read, the science of teaching reading and the important role this plays in planning scientifically based reading instruction and interventions that serve all students and help them become skilled readers.
What is The Science of Reading?
In the video, Diamond explains that reading is a complex process that can be summarized by a simple equation:
Reading comprehension is only possible when students gain the ability to decode words (apply sound-symbol relationships to read words) and comprehend language (understand spoken words).
Students learn to read when they have mastered five essential components of reading. These are:
- Phonological awareness: Students’ ability to identify and distinguish the sounds of a language
- Phonics and word study: Students’ ability to connect speech sounds to letters within the language and store those sound-spelling patterns and words in the brain so they become accessible by sight
- Fluency: Students’ ability to read text rapidly, accurately and with expression, and understand sentence structure and paragraphs
- Vocabulary: Students’ ability to build, store and retrieve words and background knowledge
- Comprehension: Students’ ability to gain meaning from text to build background knowledge
How Does the Science of Reading Work?
As you’ll learn in the video, current reading research tells us that as new readers build these skills, they bond tightly together. As these skills come together, students become increasingly more automatic when it comes to word recognition and more strategic when making sense of text.
The Most Effective Way to Teach Reading Starts with The Science Of Reading
Educators can only teach to the Science of Reading when they understand it. When they have a deep understanding of how students learn to read, teachers can integrate scientifically based reading instruction and intervention strategies into their Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to ensure that all students, including students with reading disabilities like dyslexia, become skilled readers.
How Can the Science of Teaching Reading Support Students with Dyslexia?
One of the key indicators of dyslexia is difficulty decoding words. Educators can help build this skill by providing extra, intensified supports that often include multi-sensory instruction. These interventions, combined with structured reading instruction grounded in the Science of Reading, can prevent reading problems caused by dyslexia — as well as other reading difficulties — from becoming engrained.
How Do Teachers Teach Reading Before Learning About the Science of Reading?
Many teachers haven’t been formally trained in the science of reading.
Some teachers might rely on one or more of the following:
- Listening skills
- Whole words or site words
- Blending sounds
- And much more
But, there’s a challenge – most teachers rely really heavily on just one or two strategies to teach reading. They use what worked best for them as a child or what a select few students are comprehending well.
They don’t rely on a comprehensive, proven, science-backed approach that’s optimal for every student in the classroom.
Can This Hold Students Back?
Relying on one or two methods for teaching reading, and not structuring learning based on the science of reading, can definitely hold students back.
Being a strong reader has implications for the remainder of a child’s learning.
Math, science, social studies, and other subjects rely on a student’s ability to read and comprehend. Without a solid foundation in reading, students are likely to struggle in all learning.
The Most Effective Way To Teach Reading Starts With the Science of Reading
Learning how to implement the science of reading in your classroom or school doesn’t have to be challenging.
Our professional services and structured processes make it simple for PreK-12 educators to integrate this foundational paradigm, the science of reading, into their everyday teaching.
Implement the Best Method to Teach Reading and Help Struggling Readers
There’s a clear winner in the Reading Wars: The Science of Reading. CORE cares deeply about teaching educators strategies for teaching reading that are grounded in this science.
Our reading, writing and language professional learning services provide preK-12 educators with structured courses and site-based coaching, modeling and mentoring around implementing science-based instructional best practices proven to teach all students the skills needed to become proficient in reading and writing.
In our reading, writing and language professional learning, teachers deepen their knowledge of the Science of Reading and build evidence-based instructional skills. Leaders learn how to develop and implement processes to continue developing teachers’ abilities and sustain change. Learn more about CORE’s reading, writing and language professional learning services based on the Science of Reading.