More updates on the science of reading from NY Times: let’s be sure it’s not deja vu all over again…
A flurry of recent high-profile articles (see here, here and here) and podcasts have reignited the movement to overhaul reading instruction nationwide. However, in the decades lost to non-evidence-based models of reading instruction (e.g. balanced literacy), we are left with the sobering fact that about one in three children cannot read at a basic level of comprehension. The statistics get worse, as this finding is not static across groups: 85 percent of Black students and 80 percent of Hispanic/Latino students lack proficiency in reading skills. The push for the ‘science of reading’ to become integral in curricula has never been more urgent.
But, like so much jargon, ‘the science of reading’ stands to become a meaningless moniker. Even among proponents of evidence-based lessons, there is disagreement about how to implement research findings and content to include. For example, the Knowledge Matters campaign implores the need to include knowledge-building content alongside phonics instruction- a critical component to ensure students can not only read words printed in a text but understand them as well.
Bringing evidence-based literacy instruction and turning research into practice will be a process- check out the shared-book reading World of Words for an example of a research-based curriculum- but no one is winning the reading wars as long as children are at risk of losing.
Lauren Krieger, MS, MPH