School districts across the country depend on the Science of Reading to inform policies and strengthen instruction, aligning practice with what we know so far about how human brains learn to read. Equipped with the right curriculum tools, educators and district leaders can use the Science of Reading (SOR) to benefit all students.
Dr. Louisa Moats explained the Science of Reading by saying it is “not an ideology, a philosophy, a program of instruction or a specific component of instruction. Rather, it is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines (developmental psychology, educational psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and reading education), based on literally thousands of studies supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the best for most students.”
It’s vital for educators to apply Science of Reading principles to educational instruction and practice. According to Dr. Joseph Torgesen, “intervention that applies the Science of Reading can lift 95% of students to average or better reading abilities.”
Learn more about the Science of Reading.
Four Areas of Scientific Support
Four major disciplines of research contribute to our current understanding of how human brains read. Research in these disciplines provides information about how students gain literacy skills and how instructors can best teach literacy.
- Developmental and cognitive psychology focuses on how students learn. It includes the study of attention, memory, perception, and problem solving.
- Educational research provides information on how to teach reading and includes the study of pedagogy, instructional methods and materials, teacher knowledge, and student outcomes.
- Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. This field provides the basis for Structured Literacy, a successful approach for putting the Science of Reading into practice. The components of Structured Literacy are phonology, phonics, morphology, syntax, and semantics.
- Neuroscience is the study of the structures and function of the human brain, revealing how reading intervention changes the brain, and ensuring that what’s taught changes neural pathways for students.
S.P.I.R.E. Helps Teachers Apply the Science of Reading
Put the Science of Reading into successful practice with reading programs like S.P.I.R.E., which has proven its value in classrooms for decades, offering research-based instruction that’s teacher-friendly and engaging for students. Based on Science of Reading principles and providing easy-to-follow instruction that enables students to learn and retain information, S.P.I.R.E. is mastery-based, so students must demonstrate 80% mastery before moving to the next concept. Each of the program’s eight conceptual levels includes cumulative review, providing multisensory and language-based practice in all strategies of the lessons.
Rooted in neuroscience, S.P.I.R.E. lessons use strategies known to activate the specific areas of the brain involved in reading. S.P.I.R.E. provides total reading lessons that emphasize decoding and comprehension, connecting phonological awareness and phonics to vocabulary and decodable text. S.P.I.R.E. also builds fluency, allowing students to devote more mental energy toward comprehension of text.
S.P.I.R.E. and the Strands of Skilled Reading
Dr. Hollis Scarborough’s vision of many strands woven together within skilled reading can inspire educators to improve instruction. As teachers utilize assessments to align practice with the Science of Reading, they can strengthen each of the strands in Scarborough’s rope. S.P.I.R.E.’s program-specific progress monitoring allows teachers to implement data-driven instruction, setting the stage for fluent execution and coordination of word recognition and text comprehension.
S.P.I.R.E. enables educators to implement Science of Reading principles through instruction based on Structured Literacy. Lessons are scripted for teachers and use best-practice strategies that enable and improve reading skills. Assessments are built into the program and are quick and easy to administer.