Science of Reading Hub

Find essential Science of Reading information, instructor support, and insights, with the goal of helping more children learn to read.

The Science of Reading: Evidence-Based Reading Instruction

Want to be successful in school, work, and life? Literacy comes first. Literacy skills are essential for academic, career, and economic success and for social, emotional, and physical health. For students, the process of learning to read constructs the foundation for everything that comes after it, opening up new worlds of limitless potential, from learning to discerning, achieving, and innovating. Early reading instruction is the single most urgent task in the field of education. For many reasons, there’s almost nothing more important than teaching young people to read.

Educators can find support for this crucial mission in the Science of Reading (SOR). This vast body of gold-standard scientific research, replicable studies, and validated evidence on reading acquisition provides a wealth of insight to guide educational best practices, enabling teachers to deliver explicit, systematic reading instruction that helps even struggling readers learn to read effectively, confidently, fluently, successfully.

What’s the Science of Reading?

The Science of Reading (SOR) is a massive collection of thousands of scientific studies on how people learn to read, conducted in many languages, over many decades. This complex set of studies in many fields ranging from linguistics to neuroscience addresses a vast array of questions, including the specific elements required for children to learn to read, and how educators can best help them become skilled readers. A Structured Literacy approach turns out to be the most effective instructional technique for successful reading development.

How do educators use the Science of Reading?

Educators apply SOR principles with explicit, systematic instruction focused
on these 5 components:

  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics
  • fluency
  • vocabulary
  • reading comprehension

(National Reading Panel Report, 2000)

Is Structured Literacy related to the Science of Reading?

A body of research on the best ways to learn to read, SOR isn’t a program or method, but it’s the science behind Structured Literacy, which is an approach to teaching oral and written language. Structured Literacy refers to teacher-led instruction that applies SOR by delivering explicit, systematic literacy education, including important components of literacy from phonics to reading comprehension. SOR enables the Structured Literacy approach and empowers educators to teach phonic decoding, phonemic awareness, and other crucial literacy skills.

Is the Science of Reading only for struggling readers?

While SOR and Structured Literacy are especially useful for struggling readers or students with dyslexia or learning disabilities, these tools improve literacy skills in all students. It’s not uncommon for reading proficiency scores to rise dramatically across the board after implementing SOR-based instructional approaches. Structured Literacy is the ideal way to help anyone become a stronger reader, but its powerful benefits are essential for struggling readers.

Insights on the Science of Reading

Welcome to the learning section of our hub, devoted to the Science of Reading. Explore these carefully curated resources to learn more about SOR. Maybe you’re wondering where to get started, feeling overwhelmed by the volume of information on SOR, curious about how Structured Literacy relates to SOR, or just want some tips for implementing SOR principles in your school or district. We’ve built a useful collection of in-depth articles and thought leadership on the Science of Reading, packed with information you’re sure to find helpful.

sor
9 Tips for Getting Started with the Science of Reading

Want to help more students become successful readers? Get a wide range of helpful tips and find out the best steps you can take to implement SOR in your school or district.

demystifying
Demystifying the Science of Reading

Get powerful insights educators can use to help their students build literacy skills. We demystify a few aspects of this collection of research, and even debunk a few popular SOR myths.

structured reading2
Structured Literacy: Applying the Science of Reading

Structured Literacy benefits all students and is vitally important for struggling readers. Learn about how you can transform reading instruction and change children’s lives.

21788372 II Article Orton Gillingham FINAL
Structured for Success: the Orton-Gillingham Approach

Want all your struggling readers to gain fluency, vocabulary, and confidence in their reading and writing abilities? Learn more about the Orton-Gillingham approach.

corbin case study
The Science of Reading in Action

View our case study on a Corbin ISD reading intervention with 490 K–5 students to learn the results after seven months of using S.P.I.R.E.

corbin interviews
The Science of Reading in Action: Corbin ISD Case Study

Hear from two educators implementing S.P.I.R.E. with their K–5 students and learn about their experiences with the Science of Reading.

How Can Decodable Readers Help Struggling Students FINAL
Motivate Readers to Find Meaning While Decoding

Why do decodable readers work so effectively? We break it down for you and answer some of your most-asked questions about decodables.

SOR movement
Science of Reading: the Movement

Curious about how the Science of Reading has been influenced by politics and changes in educational policy? Read this overview of the history of this movement.

21709486 II Article Importance of Handwriting FINAL
The Importance of Handwriting for Today’s Students

Far from an antiquated skill, handwriting remains valuable today. Find out how penmanship can be critical to intellectual development, memory, and more.

21709178 II Article 3 Fun Activities for Building Academic Vocabulary FINAL
3 Fun Activities for Building Academic Vocabulary

Find out how encouraging students to use academic vocabulary benefits their ability to express themselves through more diverse language.

Powerful Resources and Curriculum Support for Applying SOR Principles

To prevent widespread gaps and reading failure, effective reading instruction for K–2 students is urgently required. As Louisa C. Moats said in 2020: “The most fundamental responsibility of schools is teaching students to read.” The Science of Reading shows educators how best to support early readers through explicit, systematic instruction. Utilize our research-backed resources to apply SOR principles in your school, district, or classroom, helping more students learn to read sooner, more effectively, and more successfully.

S.P.I.R.E.

Grades PreK-8

S.P.I.R.E. is an intensive multisensory reading intervention program that brings the Orton-Gillingham approach and Science of Reading principles to work in the classroom. Incorporating the latest SOR research with robust, classroom-tested content and proven teaching methods, S.P.I.R.E. is easy to implement for novice and experienced teachers alike, with sequentially structured lessons. From phonics to comprehension, from readers to manipulatives, from print to digital, everything is provided in this complete program, even flexible professional development.

Sounds Sensible

Grades PreK-4

Sounds Sensible supports a Structured Literacy approach, applying SOR principles in your classroom by providing hands-on instruction in the most reliable indicators of reading success, including phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, letter-sound relationships, and more. Effective phonics instruction for beginning or struggling readers, explicit 5-step lessons are structured and sequential. This Orton-Gillingham-based reading intervention serves as Pre-Level 1 of the S.P.I.R.E. program. With an easy-to-use Teacher's Guide, this complete kit gives you everything you need for implementation.

Decodable Readers

Grades K–8

Count on our Decodable Readers to promote the love of reading, reinforce phonics skills, and provide a bridge from decoding to fluency and comprehension. Apply SOR principles anytime with multiple fiction and nonfiction libraries in a variety of topics and genres to easily supplement any reading curriculum.
  • S.P.I.R.E. Illustrated Decodable Readers (K-8) include a variety of genres from biographies and science to poetry and mythology, supporting SOR by helping improve decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills while building confidence.
  • Primary Phonics Readers (K-2) are a classroom favorite. Promoting fluency in beginning readers for over 30 years, these readers facilitate individualized instruction through flexible, skills-based workbooks and storybooks that correspond to students’ ability levels.
  • The Alphabet Series (K-6) supports beginning & struggling readers. This controlled vocabulary reader series works well with any phonics or reading curriculum, motivating students to read while applying phonics concepts and developing comprehension skills.
  • Touchphonics Readers (K-5) apply Touchphonics concepts to connected text. One reader for every lesson provides opportunities to apply phonics concepts and build fluency.
  • EPS Phonics PLUS Readers (K-3) combine with classroom-tested strategies to give beginning readers the opportunity to apply newly acquired phonics skills to connected text.

Explode The Code

Grades 1-4

Support a Structured Literacy approach with a program that builds the literacy skills essential for reading success: phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and spelling. Based on SOR and the Orton-Gillingham approach, this program has helped millions of students gain early literacy skills, developing comprehension skills through reading in context. Multisensory, systematic phonics instruction provides abundant opportunities for greater retention, and the clearly established routine is a roadmap to success.

Primary Phonics

Grades K-6

Supporting SOR principles, this phonics-based early reading program facilitates individualized instruction through flexible, skills-based workbooks and storybooks that correspond to students’ ability levels. Students are able to work at their own pace and progress systematically from simple to complex phonic elements to become successful readers.

Megawords

Grades 4–12

Direct instruction for decoding, spelling, and understanding multisyllabic words, Megawords supports the application of SOR principles through multisensory, systematic instruction. Megawords is skills-based, so it can be adapted to a variety of settings and RTI tiers. Diagnostic assessments help teachers place students in the right Megawords level and track student progress. Teacher's Guides provide direct, point-of-use instruction.

Ready to get started with the Science of Reading?

Try a Structured Literacy program like S.P.I.R.E.

And apply powerful SOR principles with programs like these:

Sounds Sensible, Primary Phonics, Explode The Code, and Megawords.