What is the Science of Reading and Why is It Important?

The science of reading is an understanding of reading that uses evidence from scientific research. It may take a while for this scientific evidence to find its way into classrooms. And, among observant and reflective educators, classroom practice sometimes leads to the same insights that science supports. In any case, basing our teaching on scientific evidence is important because it gives us the best chance for teaching every student how to read.

Research identifies best practice through several methods; for example, by comparing the impact of different teaching strategies or by observing brain activity. Findings from research allow teachers and parapros to use the best methods possible. And the best methods offer the best chance of improving students’ reading performance.

While many approaches to reading instruction have been used over the years, science has shown that decoding is the foundation for the instruction that actually works best. And decoding depends on explicit teaching and learning of phonemic awareness and phonics.

A focus on decoding coupled with explicit instruction in the skills enabling comprehension also gets the best results across different types of learners. Nevertheless, learners also benefit from having multiple ways to learn to decode and to understand language.