The Science of Reading Explained

May 21, 2024
Science of Reading Explained

The science of reading has generated a lot of buzz recently and for good reason—the research model has proven to be an effective, evidence-based approach to successfully teaching reading. With more and more schools adopting this practice due to growing legislation enacted by states around the country, it’s important to know the background of the science of reading and to learn how it can support classroom literacy practices to help students become better readers. That’s why we’re exploring this popular topic with an entire series of instructional videos and articles—"The Science of Reading Explained”.

In this series, we’ll discuss what the science of reading is, why it’s important, dive into each of the pillars of reading, and highlight how Edmentum Exact Path aligns to the practice. 

What is the science of reading?

The science of reading is a body of decades-long research that studies how we learn to read, as well as the instructional practices that best facilitate that process. In 1997, Congress gathered a group of reading experts called the National Reading Panel. The goal of this group was to determine which instructional approaches were the most effective. From this 480-page report came the baseline research for the science of reading, and it has been evolving ever since.

The science from the research includes the five pillars of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—which are effective, evidence-based approaches to teaching reading. From this information, we know that a healthy dose of systematic, explicit phonics instruction helps build the foundation for successful reading and improved and more equitable outcomes across all subject areas. Throughout this series, we’ll dive deeper into each of the pillars of reading.

Why is the science of reading generating buzz right now?

The pandemic disruptions affected reading proficiency growth for many learners with undeniable magnitude. State assessment scores from 2022 presented the need for tremendous learning recovery—with literacy being a huge piece of that. States across the country have embarked on an attempt to radically transform the teaching of reading to bring literacy instruction in line with the decades of research on how young children learn to read. In fact, studies have shown that explicit, systematic instruction in how letters represent sounds—phonics—is the most effective way to teach children how to read words. Schools are looking to move back to a more structured approach that supports this research, which is where the science of reading comes in.

To understand this topic more, view the instructional video below, which highlights why the science of reading is important and how Edmentum's Exact Path aligns to this research-backed approach. Additionally, it previews what’s to come in this series.

To learn more about the Science of Reading, check out the rest of the series: Phonics, Phonological Awareness, Fluency, and Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

Explore Edmentum's ongoing commitment to the Science of Reading in our white paper, Exact Path: Designed with the Science of Reading.

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