reading science

Every Child Is Unique… and Every Child Has to Learn the Same Skills

Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Maryanne Wolf for adding her thoughts this piece More the same than different Many of us assume that, because each child is a unique human being, every child learns to read in a different way. This widespread misconception causes unnecessary difficulty for teachers and for our students.  “It is simply not true that there are hundreds of ways to learn to read… when it comes to

Simple But Not Easy

As the foundations of Balanced Literacy begin to crumble, the proponents of Balanced Literacy are now presenting a new theory of reading, which they call the Complex View.  In this reincarnation of the reading wars, the Complex View seeks to counter a well-researched alternative, The Simple View. I was struck last month by the contrast between two articles that were published on the same day: Two Publications from December 5th

Balanced Literacy’s Crumbling Foundation– What We Can Do About It

Planning with the creative and hard-working teachers on my fourth-grade team was rewarding (and occasionally hilarious), but our enthusiasm sometimes produced overly-complicated plans. If a plan was becoming unwieldy, one of us would interrupt the process and say to the team:  “If it’s this complicated, it’s probably not right.” We’d then pause, rearticulate our goals, and start over to create a more coherent instructional plan. Thought leaders in the Balanced

Dear Lucy,

Dear Lucy, Thank you for writing No One Gets to Own the Term “The Science of Reading.” I am so relieved that discussion of reading science has made its way into the balanced literacy community and that you’ve added your own voice to the conversation. You’re making it safe for experienced educators to refine our practice as a result of new learning.  For many years, I was a devout reading

Discussion Guide: At a Loss for Words

This facilitator’s guide is intended to provide possible points for pause and discussion as educators, advocacy groups, and community members listen to At a Loss for Words from APM Reports. You’ll find that some of the questions have related resources to enhance your discussion. You will also find additional reading, images, and a video embedded in the APM article. We would love to hear about your experiences discussing the podcast

There’s Comfort In Being Wrong

Teacher (in a panic): “It can’t be wrong.” Me (softly): “Why not?” Teacher: “Because if it’s wrong and I’ve been doing it for years, then what does that mean for the kids?” Me: “I know, but another teacher said to me, ‘What about the kids we haven’t had yet?’” To consider that we may be wrong is scary. In her TedTalk, On Being Wrong (https://bit.ly/31o0V1o) Kathryn Schulz asks the audience:

Race, Class, and Reading Research

First, a little context: I am a white literacy coach in a large urban district where half the teachers are of color. When I began my job, I believed that my focus on evidence-based reading instruction, good intentions and belief that all students can learn would make me well-equipped to bring research to our diverse staff. How naive I was!  Entering this work, I was blind to biases that permeate

Teachers Won’t Embrace Research Until It Embraces Them

I understand why advocates, researchers, and policymakers who feel the urgency of our literacy crisis are frustrated when teachers don’t embrace reading science. But my entry into the world of reading research was difficult, and while I take pride in my determination to learn, I understand why other teachers might be deterred. If we want teachers to apply research, it may be helpful to think about why they aren’t. I’ll

Phonics Instruction: Helps All, Harms None

The Wait and See Approach: While some students crack the alphabetic code with minimal or even no instruction, others require systematic phonics reinforced by decodable texts to become skilled readers. The catch is that when students enter school, we don’t know for whom code-based instruction will be essential. We can wait and find out, and in fact, we do this so often that the approach has a name, “wait to

Reading Science: Not Just Phonics

From What Is the Science of Reading? Shanahan on Literacy: Teacher question: I keep hearing that teachers don’t know the science of reading. But all the teachers that I talk to say that they teach phonics. What’s really going on? In his blog, Shanahan does a wonderful job of explaining that the science of reading covers more than phonics, and his post has already come in handy for us because

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