Science of Reading

Literacy is a relatively recent human development, and the scientific study of how we read—and how to effectively teach reading—is even more recent.  However, thanks to dedicated researchers, we do have a well-established body of evidence to guide current practices.  The following resources give a broad foundation of knowledge for making informed choices and delving into exciting new research. 

The Science of Reading: A Top-Level Primer 

Eight-minute video from Education NC advocating for structured literacy instruction; based primarily on the work of Emily Hanford and Louisa Moats 

Mark Seidenberg: Connecting Science and Education 

Mark Seidenberg, author of Language at the Speed of Sight, outlines questions that the science of reading seeks to answer.  Link also includes reliable recommendations, including books, audio documentaries, articles and websites.

EAB: Embracing the Science of Reading Web Conference

Free on-demand 55-minute webinar created to explain the science of reading and reading instruction to educational administrators, but excellent for all audiences; jam-packed with clear, accessible information.  Includes a 34-page handout of notes.

EAB: How Our Brains Learn to Read

PDF infographic from EAB (formerly Education Advisory Board) illustrating areas of the brain and corresponding roles required for skilled reading

National Reading Panel: Five Pillars of Early Literacy

Simple, clear infographic showing five key concepts at the core of effective reading programs

International Dyslexia Association: Scarborough’s Reading Rope

Link to page explaining the classic infographic illustrating “the many strands that are woven into skilled reading” 

American Public Media (APM) Reports: Reading

Emily Hanford created a series of audio stories for American Public Media on the science of reading, which explores why ineffective reading instruction is still all too common and the impact on individuals, families, teachers, schools, districts and society.  Excellent reporting in an engaging format.  Each episode is about 50 minutes.

APM Reports: Hard words—why aren’t kids being taught to read?

APM Reports: Hard to read—how American schools fail kids with dyslexia

APM Reports: At a loss for words—how a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers

NAESP: Strengthening the mind’s eye—the case for continued handwriting instruction in the 21st century

PDF article by Virginia Wise Berninger, professor and researcher in educational psychology.  Reprinted from 2012 journal of National Association of Elementary School Principals.

International Dyslexia Association: Why bother with cursive?

PDF of 2012 Examiner article by Dr. Diana Hanbury King that outlines arguments for teaching cursive writing, along with practical advice for how to teach it.