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The science of reading

Updated: Nov 11, 2022


Science of reading - dyslexic learners

The term “science of reading” refers to the research that reading experts, especially cognitive scientists, have conducted on how we learn to read. This body of knowledge, has helped debunk older methods of reading instruction that were based on tradition and observation, not evidence.

Research is clear about what matters to teach in early literacy instruction: phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, vocabulary and oral language comprehension, and text comprehension. For each of these, evidence tells us what works which allows for teachers to plan accordingly.

  • Phonological awareness: Teach students to recognize and manipulate the sounds within words. Move from syllables to the individual sounds. Explicitly connect phonemes to letters to more effectively support word decoding.

  • Phonics and word recognition: Teach letter sounds and sound-spelling patterns explicitly and systematically. Build in practice that include both reading and writing of words in isolation and in text are the most supportive of taught phonics.

  • Fluency: Include frequent opportunities for students to read and re-read from connected text—sentences, paragraphs, and passages. Focus on the development of both automatic word recognition and fluent expression, keeping the understanding of the text as a central goal.

  • Vocabulary and oral language comprehension: Include high-quality, language-rich interactions in instruction. Using read-aloud texts, unpick inferential language. Explicitly build students’ recognition of shared morphemes (e.g., root words, affixes) across words, both in oral and written language.

  • Text comprehension: At the earliest opportunity, teach from rich texts via read-alouds and scaffolded reading. Teach students to use metacognitive strategies like setting a purpose, monitoring for meaning, and building inferences while reading. Discuss texts, including focusing on their structures.

All of these techniques support dyslexic learners and can be built into literacy based lessons.


There are a range of resources available from Amazon to support with this.

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