Schools and districts around the country are implementing sweeping mandates that focus on the Science of Reading, which is reduced to phonics programs, but is that enough to solve the reading crisis? And what is the Science of Reading? Is it simply phonics; is that where the science ends? In this article, we will dig into the Science of Reading and the foundational reading skills that, when taught together, lead to proficient reading.
Researchers found that the meaning of “reading and comprehension” has undergone significant changes over the past few decades; and therefore, how we help children learn across grade levels should also change.
A hallmark of long-term reading success is the automaticity of decoding and word recognition. Unfortunately, there are students who still struggle with these skills in upper elementary, middle, and even high school. Their reading comprehension is usually impeded, but their teachers do not know what is causing the problem. Therefore, it is imperative for teachers to know what comprises these skills and how to assess them.
With the release of the latest NAEP results, we see the educational consequences from 2 years of interrupted instruction. according to the NAEP reading results, students require weeks or months of additional instructional time to make up for the decline in scores. So, what can we do about the decline in reading and math scores? How long will it take to remediate them? And what can we do to accelerate remediation? — Since an improvement in reading skills has been shown to lead to an improvement in mathematics, let’s focus on remediating reading first...
Reading is a complex skill that is not naturally acquired through life experiences like speech is. Humans and other hominid species have been speaking for thousands of generations. We have been reading in large numbers for only the last several generations. Therefore it is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect children to learn how to read naturally.
As a former teacher, I recall striving to figure out what was causing my students to struggle with reading. I’d review their previous year’s state ELA assessment results and get an overall understanding of where my students fell within reading proficiency. I’d see that my students were highly proficient, proficient, approaching proficient, or below proficient. These four levels told me something about my students, but not enough to identify their strengths and areas of need, so I’d administer a diagnostic reading assessment to find out where I should focus my instruction.
It is a well-known fact that the ability to decode printed texts is critical to reading. It is intuitive that the better your students can decode text, the better their reading comprehension will be. However, until now, no one knew what was the critical decoding threshold below which students would not be able to improve their reading comprehension.
We administered a survey on what educators really thought about and wanted from their reading assessments. What we learned from the 100+ educators who responded to the survey surprised us, but the most interesting findings were in what educators actually wanted from their assessments.