The phrase, “the science of reading” is being used more readily as momentum for improving reading outcomes continues to build. In an effort to uphold the true meaning of the phrase, I lean toward groups and people who uphold its original definition and intention.
According to The Reading League:
“The science of reading is a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing.
This research has been conducted over the last five decades across the world, and it is derived from thousands of studies conducted in multiple languages. The science of reading has culminated in a preponderance of evidence to inform how proficient reading and writing develop; why some have difficulty; and how we can most effectively assess and teach and, therefore, improve student outcomes through prevention of and intervention for reading difficulties.”
According to Louisa Moats in an interview with Collaborative Classroom:
“The body of work referred to as the ‘science of reading’ is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, 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 the most students.”
According to Timothy Shanahan on his blog:
“The ‘science of reading’ includes more than phonics and phonological awareness.
Phonics is certainly an important part of the science of reading, but it’s not the whole thing.
Any real “science of reading” would include all the methods or approaches that have been found, through research, to give kids a learning advantage in reading.
That means oral reading fluency instruction should be part of the science of reading. And, vocabulary and morphology teaching, too. There are also a number of instructional approaches that have been found to boost reading comprehension by teaching thinking strategies or enhancing written language performance (e.g., cohesion, sentence combining/reducing). And, guiding kids to write about text is scientific, as well.
Any science of reading would concern itself with the amount of reading instruction provided and there are quality factors that need to be included. For instance, kids learn more when teachers provide clear purposes for the lessons, when there is plenty of interaction among teachers and students, and when teachers explain themselves clearly. Those are just examples, of course; there is even more.”
I have organized the “Best of the Best” in science of reading resources in the following three categories: