We Need to Pay Attention to the Science of Reading!
The scientific evidence base on how we learn to read and how to best teach reading has been growing and converging over 40 years. This includes brain imaging studies that show how our brains learn to read and underlying causes of why some students have difficulty learning read.
Sadly, teachers often do not have access to this evidence base. Many teachers report that their preservice education in college did little to prepare them for teaching reading. Many veteran teachers report a lack of quality professional development once hired that could help them improve their reading instruction. And for too long, the reading wars have confused teachers and administrators. These wars started in the 1990's when whole language advocates succeeded in convincing too many schools that learning to read comes naturally without the need for explicit instruction in decoding skills. Even today, there are many reading "experts" that say they promote a "balanced" approach to beginning instruction, but what that actually represents is a little bit of incidental phonics thrown in on top of the same approaches to reading instruction that have not worked for the past 25 years. The latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation's report card, were just released—and things aren't looking good for the country's young readers.
Why are we still teaching reading the wrong way?“Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don't know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.” This is a quote from Emily Hanford's September, 2018 podcast and article published APMreports by American Public Media. Her piece highlights the lack of teacher knowledge about science-based reading instruction, due in part from not being taught reading science in teacher preparation schools, and in part from incorrect beliefs about how children learn to read.
Multisensory Teaching by Emily GibbonsThis post was written by Emily Gibbons, a dyslexia instructor. Emily provides suggestions for using multiple senses when teaching foundational reading skills. Multisensory teaching is not just crucial for kids with dyslexia, it is good solid teaching for ALL students. Using a variety of senses helps with memory and retrieval and allows students to support their areas of weakness with their areas of strength. Incorporating multisensory learning tools into your classroom lessons will not replace intervention services, but it will make classroom lessons more accessible to students with learning differences.
Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and LetterlandLast year, Keys to Literacy decided that it was time to offer a phonics program and literacy professional development for phonemic awareness and phonics instruction in the primary grades. We knew it had to be up to the quality, high standards that educators have come to expect from Keys to Literacy. That is why we chose Letterland!
Resources for Fluency InstructionEven though Keys to Literacy professional development programs focus on comprehension, vocabulary, and writing, we are often asked about resources related to fluency – what it is, why it’s important, and how to teach it. This blog entry is devoted to identifying fluency resources.
I decided to start with the work of Jan Hasbrouck, a friend and colleague who I believe knows more about fluency than any other educator in the country. Together with her colleague, Gerald Tindal, Jan developed the first set of national norms for oral reading fluency performance in 1992. They updated and presented the norms in 2006 in an article: Oral Reading Fluency Norms: A Valuable Assessment Tool for Reading Teachers...
Good Resource for Literacy WebinarsEarlier this winter I delivered a literacy webinar for Voyager Sopris Learning, and discovered that they offer a number of complimentary, one hour webinars delivered by nationally-recognized literacy experts. And, they archive the webinars in case you are not able to participate in the live sessions.
Here is a link to my archived webinar titled “A Best-Practices Instructional Routine for Writing in the Content Areas”...