What is the "Science of Reading"?
The phrase “The Science of Reading” is currently being used as though it is a new development for teaching children to read. However, it is simply a term that refers to the substantial body of evidence that supports the inclusion of phonological/phonemic awareness, systematic and explicit phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension instruction in K-2 classrooms. Following the National Reading Panel report in 2000, the terms the Big 5 of reading instruction, Pillars of Beginning Reading, etc., were used to describe these areas of reading instruction. They are not new, nor is there new information about their importance in early reading achievement. Rather, there continue to be children entering third grade and beyond not reading and understanding texts considered third-grade level. Although there are many reasons this may be the case, it is reasonable to question whether classroom instruction is providing children with the best opportunity to learn what they need to know. Of most concern is whether classroom teachers are including systematic and explicit phonics instruction to the degree necessary, and with the skill and understanding required to provide all children with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully learn to read grade-level text.
How is the UA Belser-Parton Literacy Center addressing the Science of Reading?
We provide a course entitled the Science of Reading Foundations Course. This course is intended for teachers, administrators, literacy coaches, parents, or any other individual who wishes to understand some of the basic concepts of the science of reading. Our course covers six-weeks of instruction focused on phonological awareness and academic/oral language, phonemic awareness, and phonics. Within each of the topics, we discuss connections to vocabulary, fluency, and technology. Each of six modules within the course include foundational, research-informed content, instructional strategies, and individualized guidance from the UA Literacy Center director and associate directors. A few resources that guide our instruction include the REL-SE Kindergarten Teacher's Guide to Supporting Family Involvement in Foundational Reading Skills, The National Reading Panel Report (2000), and the What Works Clearninghouse Guide to Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade, among many other empirical studies and supports and our own teaching experiences.
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