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Science of Reading: 4 Considerations

Guest author Dr. Jill Dunlap Brown Co-Founder and CEO, CALE Education & Company, brings forth some important considerations to think about in implementing SOR.


Science of Reading practices are on the rise and gaining much-needed attention across

US school districts. The Science of Reading refers to the body of research that has been

conducted to better understand how we learn to read and how to best teach reading. The

evidence is increasingly clear that structured literacy can help all students become successful, confident readers. By focusing on teaching phonics and phonemic awareness systematically and explicitly, while also concentrating on fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and language comprehension, students become proficient in the foundational skills needed to be successful readers and writers.

How can we help it take hold?

In order for structured literacy to take hold and embed into everyday practices across

districts and classrooms over time, implementation of practices must be intentionally planned for with sustainability in mind. This requires building systems that are grounded in research-based practices, using research-based resources that support teachers in providing high-quality instruction. While this is not an all-inclusive list, here are a few important key details to consider when building sustainable systems for structured literacy.

1. Professional Development: To effectively implement structured literacy, teachers must be well-trained and supported. This means there must be ongoing support and training for teachers so that they may remove barriers that arise as they develop a strong belief that the practices they use with students will make a difference.

2. Curriculum and Materials: Teachers must have access to high-quality curriculum and

instructional materials aligned to the principles of structured literacy. Districts should

complete an audit of materials to ensure teachers have what is needed to meet the

needs of all students.

3. Assessment and Data: To ensure that structured literacy is effective, it is important to

regularly assess students’ progress and, when necessary, adjust instruction accordingly.

This requires a data-driven approach that involves collecting and analyzing data on student performance, as well as using these data to inform instructional decisions.

4. Collaboration and Communication: Building systems for sustained structured literacy

requires collaboration and communication across all stakeholders. Further, there should

be evidence that all teachers can discuss and explain practices in the same way. By

having common coherence across practices, teams work together as problem-solving

needs arise.

By focusing on these key elements, we begin to create strong, equitable, sustainable

systems for structured literacy that are grounded in the Science of Reading. This is essential for ensuring that all students have the skills they need to succeed not only in school but in life.

Dr. Jill Dunlap Brown

Co-Founder and CEO, CALE Education & Company


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