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Implementing the ‘Science of Reading’: The Behind the Scenes Work

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Implementing the ‘Science of Reading’: The Behind the Scenes Work

Science of Reading

Numerous fields of study have contributed to what is known as “the science of reading,” an extensive collection of empirical studies about reading and writing. This information is based on thousands of studies in different languages accumulated over the last fifty years of research worldwide.

What is the Science of Reading?

Numerous fields of study have contributed to what is known as “the science of reading,” an extensive collection of empirical studies about reading and writing.

This information is based on thousands of studies in different languages accumulated over the last fifty years of research worldwide.

Reading research has led to a wealth of information that can help us understand how students become proficient readers and writers, why some struggle, and how to evaluate and instruct students in the best way possible to help them overcome their reading challenges?

Science of Reading: A Comprehensive Reference

Reading research has led to a wealth of information that can help us understand how students become proficient readers and writers, why some struggle, and how to evaluate and instruct students in the best way possible to help them overcome their reading challenges?

The term “the science of reading” has become popular in recent years, which could cause confusion, even though the scientific basis for good reading has existed for decades. To help all parties comprehend the science of reading and its ability to revolutionise teaching, The Science of Reading: Defining Guide offers a clear explanation of the field and its limitations.


How Can We Interpret Reading Research for Use in Phonics Lessons?

Reading research has identified phonics education as one of the critical components of effective reading instruction. The scientific community has unanimously concluded that phonics must be taught in a systematic, explicit, and cumulative manner.

American Teaching

Going Unnoticed

Reading education based on “cueing” is still used by some schools, either in place of or in addition to phonics instruction. Is that word new to you?

  • Even if they’re unfamiliar with the term “three cueing,” most teachers will have heard of “MSV.” M represents “meaning,” S represents “sentence structure,” and V represents “visual information,” or the letters in the words, to determine their meaning.
  •  But as reading science has progressed, “three cueing,” now called “whole language,” has been supplanted. The original concept regarding cues was based on visual cues. However, a recent scientific study has demonstrated that proficient readers can decipher words independently of context.

The Five Cornerstones of Teaching Students to Read Scientific Texts?

Science of Reading

These five factors were highlighted in the 2000 study of the National Reading Panel (NRP) as crucial to reading success:

  1. Knowledge Acquisition
  2. Ability to
  3. Phonics and Vocabulary
  4. Developing Fluency in Phonetics
  5. Now, let’s delve deeper into phonemic awareness and phonics.

Developing Fluency in Phonetics

Phonemes are the building elements of words and are the basis of practical basic literacy skills.

  • To assist youngsters in becoming competent readers, it is essential to work with their phonemic awareness or the concept that graphemes (sequences of letters that represent sounds) are related to phonemes (sounds).
  • The purpose of teaching phonemic awareness in grades K –2 is to help children use the automatic decoding skills they’ve learned via direct phonics instruction to begin decoding novel words independently.
  • Second graders can expect to remember 1,000 to 7,500 words. Having pupils commit every phrase or pattern of phonemes or graphemes to memory is an impractical expectation. By providing kids with targeted instruction in essential reading and writing skills, we empower them to become lifelong learners. The “Self-Teaching” model is a popular term for this.

Three Components of Phonics Lessons Based on Science. Three things are necessary for phonics training to be practical, according to science:

  • A practical method. Taking the next step: practising Illustrating the practical use for spelling and reading. Students need to master decoding, one of the most basic reading abilities, and these three routines will help them do just that. Assisting pupils in becoming cognitively automatic is crucial for decoding. In other words, they can recognise a word just by looking at it without needing to hear it out. In conversations about “sight words,” this is often called.
  • While picking up a language is second nature, reading is not. In what sequence are the abilities needed to become proficient readers, according to what we know from reading research? We pick up the spoken language as a foundation for word acquisition. The phonetic structure of words is taught to us. We can separate phonemes, and one approach to do this in the classroom is to focus on the initial sound of words. 
  • An effective strategy is to use the initial sound of the pupils’ names. The first stage of methodical, explicit education is to concentrate on noises… sound isolation is merely the initial stage in developing pupils’ phonemic awareness; unlike “balanced literacy” or other “cueing”-based methods, the ultimate goal is for them to decode every single sound in a word without the use of guesswork.
  • Framing the orthographic dictionary. As we discovered before, children can only acquire phonics independently if they develop cognitive automaticity. Students develop an automatic decoding lexicon as they gain experience decoding words. Students can be introduced to phonemes methodically through stories and activities. Practice, modelling, and reinforcement are essential to developing the mental muscle memory required for phonemic awareness. 
  • One can learn phonemic awareness by direct instruction, observation, and practice. A series of steps leading to complicated mixing activities begins with phoneme isolation.

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Part 2 of the Science of Reading

Science of Reading

Participate in a free online Science of Reading workshop by clicking here.

  • How to Become an Alphabet Master. When multisensory education approaches are used in more advanced classroom lessons, children will learn more sophisticated phoneme operations, such as deconstructing words into their separate phonemes. Phoneme substitution is the highest level of phonemic awareness.
  • Through instructing in abilities like Splitting up amalgamating. Through explicit and systematic manipulation, children develop the ability to execute phoneme substitution, a crucial skill for becoming independent readers. This method of teaching helps children pick up new vocabulary as they read.
  • The Science of Reading and the Alphabetic Principle: What Are They? According to the alphabetic principle, letters represent sounds, and words are formed from those sounds. Improving one’s reading abilities relies heavily on the alphabetic principle. We support the transition from phonemes to graphemes or sounds to speech as a group.
  •  Learning the alphabetic principle as students transition from spoken to written language helps them avoid making guesses or mistakes when decoding, which is especially important for those entering kindergarten who need a foundational understanding of the principle. Students strengthen their skills in using the alphabetic principle to link graphemes to phonemes through deliberate, organised practice.
  • What is the relationship between the alphabetic principle and phonics? Learning the phonetic relationships of the English language is known as phonetics. In phonetics, the principle of the alphabet is put into practice. Students who have mastered phonetics are better able to read words they have never encountered before. Systematic and explicit instruction is key in phonics education to help students become fluent in automatically connecting graphemes to phonemes.

Case in point: closed syllables

Each syllable that begins with a vowel and ends with a consonant is considered a closed syllable. When a syllable is closed, the vowel typically represents a brief sound. In the English language, 53 per cent of syllables are closed.

Our approach includes the usage of letter tiles, both digital and actual, in the classroom. You might be familiar with these. Students learn that words are made up of sounds and that the letters of a phrase correlate to those sounds by matching the sounds to the letters on the letter tiles.

The objective is to empower students with a decoding strategy they may employ when faced with new or unfamiliar words. This will prevent them from relying on the “3 cues” employed by struggling readers. Remember the text: “Readers who have not been taught phonemic awareness should be encouraged to think critically about the word.”

The Science of Reading and Words with Multiple Syllables

Multisyllabic words are the next step after pupils have mastered the alphabetic principle. Multisyllabic words can be easily broken down into their separate syllables with the help of our SyllaBoardsTM.

 We already mentioned that 53% of English syllables are closed. Students who have mastered decoding these and other typical syllable types can then use that knowledge to expand their orthographic vocabulary. 

Reading new words allows students to concentrate on reading to understand, a goal emphasised in federal and state standards besides reading.

Reflecting on Visual Words

Just because a word appears in sight doesn’t mean it occurs frequently. Grown-ups can see thirty thousand to seventy thousand words. However, explicit memorisation training did not lead to memorising these terms. Instead, reading these “sight words” becomes instinctive, without requiring conscious thought, as kids get familiar with graphemes and syllables as a manner of decoding words.

Master Calculus with These Top Books and Easy Steps 

Science of Reading

Not All Sight Words Have a High Frequency

Many lists of sight words, which appear frequently in written language, may be recognisable to you. Examples of such lists are the Fry Word and the Dolch 220 lists. 

Even though high-frequency words tend to be irregular, sight words encompass much more than that.

An example of an irregular word is “eight,” which originates in Old English spelling. A phonetic approach to learning to interpret common irregular words is more effective than “blended literacy” methods that rely on rote memory or guesswork.

Word Magic for the Heart: A Scientific Study of Sight Words

Heart Word Magic is based on the phonetic method of teaching sight words. Students learn these challenging words in a phonetic style using Heart Words.

Research shows that after children decode a word multiple times, it can be anchored in their sight word memory. At the beginning of the curriculum, we cover the phoneme-grapheme relationship; 

however, sound-sight awareness cannot be achieved through rote memorisation of sight words. Visit our blog at Make Tricky Sight Words Sticky to learn about Heart Word Magic.

A Virtual Workshop on the Science of Reading

Come and be a part of a free two-part Science of Reading Virtual Workshop, where educators can learn strategies to help students learn to decode better. 

Each session covers about three hours of material. Important details regarding the methods that studies found most effective in teaching the foundational reading skills necessary for excellent decoding and fluency are included here. 

If you make it through the entire webinar, you’ll get 6 CEUs and access to Part 3 whenever possible. The Science of Reading is taught by knowledgeable presenters at our workshop, which is devoted entirely to professional development and includes no product demonstrations.

The Unseen Handiwork of Applying the “Science of Reading”

To bring reading education in line with current research and best practices, 38 states have enacted rules or laws about reading instruction reform.

It might be challenging for individual schools to unpack its many principles, implement a new curriculum, and maintain consistency throughout implementation.

In most circumstances, the principal is the primary figure responsible for managing this intricate transformation.

With the responsibilities of supervising, mentoring, and evaluating juggling, principals must drive implementation. Principals are expected to be well-versed in all lesson plans to provide insightful criticism, which is a detailed and broad responsibility. In addition to implementing the new curriculum, they must provide the groundwork for it by rearranging school hours and making room for professional development.

Principals have frequently been marginalised in education reform despite their crucial role in changing school-wide practice. The reading legislation that states have quickly passed must also define everyone’s precise function or duty.

For a leader in the education system, reform has always focused on the classroom. They see to it that educators have all the resources they require. Instruction Partners collaborates with school districts to train teachers and principals on implementing evidence-based curricula. 

However, “very rarely do we think through what principals need to know and do to make this change happen,” stated Emily Freitag, CEO of Instruction Partners.

Education Week recently interviewed multiple principals for a series of articles that focused on three essential aspects of their jobs. This is what they stated:


1. School Leaders Should Always be Willing to Learn More.

Science of Reading

  • School leaders should have a firm grasp of the research behind reading acquisition and the best teaching techniques for their students. The principals aren’t familiar with reading instruction or its methods, so this isn’t easy for them.
  • Like teachers, principals need training on the new curriculum and how to implement it, which helps them turn research into practice.
  • When Quinena Bell, principal of Hobgood Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, completed the course, reading took on a new meaning.
  • My experience as an academic coach led me to believe that I had a firm grasp of reading education. However, according to Bell, some techniques, such as separating reading and writing, harm children more than reasonable.

In The So-Called “Science of Reading,” Principals Play a Pivotal Role. Will They Be Able?

Nathaniel Messick, a principal from northwest Minnesota, is one of several who have sought out leader-focused training in the fundamentals of reading instruction based on research. The experts noted that administrators can accomplish two things more effectively when they are forthright about knowing the science and the curriculum. 

  • First, students have a complete picture of the interconnectedness of the many components of the curriculum both within and across grade levels.
  • Secondly, once administrators have a good grasp of the curriculum’s overall goals and timeline, they may assist in distributing information to instructors in manageable portions. When the Seaford school district in Delaware adopted a new reading curriculum nearly ten years ago, elementary school administrator Kirsten Jennette did precisely that.
  • I made it a point to study in chunks. “My teachers thought the same thing,” Jenette remarked. Reading aloud from grade-level literature is one example of a singular educational approach they could employ. All of my comments and our professional development were based on that initial unit of study. That way, it wasn’t that intimidating.
  • Additionally, principals lay the groundwork for transformation. Principals must be able to switch gears quickly and adeptly between managing programs and leading instruction.
  • Messick is finalising a new professional development calendar to accompany the new reading curriculum, which will be implemented during the 2024–25 academic year. Messick has planned a weekly early release from school to provide teachers with the necessary training without affecting non-contractual time.
  • Chandra Phillips, like Messick, had to balance competing demands to give her teachers adequate time to develop lesson plans. Seaford, Delaware’s Central Elementary School principal Phillips brought timers into classrooms to acquaint teachers with the new reading curriculum’s three 45-minute chunks.
  • Doing it well might be challenging. Finding more time in the school day to work with students reading below grade level has been difficult for Dana Perez, the principal of Pembroke Elementary School in Danbury, Connecticut, and her colleagues.
  • Equitable grouping is the foundation of our program. According to Perez, our educators have found it challenging to keep a closer eye on these groups and record their development.


Third, A Principal Has to Strike a Balance Between Being too Strict and Being too lazy with Project Execution.

Science of Reading

When principals introduce new curricula, their enforcement is often more stringent.

During “learning walks” with her instructional coaches, Murfreesboro principal Bell observes teachers in the classroom.

  •  For example, she makes sure that lessons on letter decoding come before writing and subject knowledge building and are taught in a specific order. When instructors go on learning walks, it’s easy to see where they might have messed up.
  • “Scaffolding was done excessively by teachers at times. According to Bell, “some teachers wouldn’t let that happen” even though the curriculum explicitly called for students to engage in “productive struggle” with the readings.
  • Bell had to urge them not to be too forthcoming with responses gently.
  • During her observations, Perez found that teachers who should have set up basic routines at the beginning of the rollout had a more challenging time sticking to the curriculum in the following weeks.
  • Additionally, educators may push back against change. Thus, administrators may need to use all of their managerial tools.
  • Jennette encouraged her instructors to voice their concerns about the new curriculum. She even relayed their inquiries to those responsible for creating it. She tried to make the point that instructors could stay within the prescribed curriculum.
  • Bell also stood firm with her instructors. They shouldn’t be able to resist change just because they had done things a certain way before the new curriculum,” she admonished.
  • Leadership figures like Phillips can shift from enforcer to facilitator once the initial rollout is complete and teachers have had some experience with the curriculum. They can then encourage instructors to exchange methods and insights with each other.


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INDIE STYLE: Men’s Style, Development, and Essentials As a form of non-mainstream, creative expression, indie-style clothing is defined by an eclectic blend of handmade, vintage, and artisanal components. Any type of T-shirt or tank top will look fantastic with plain, striped, or patterned bottoms. Men can consider donning a vintage leather or Members Only jacket when it’s chilly outside. Decorative pins are an option if you’d like. What to Wear For an Indie Style? How you dress is the first component of being indie, which is more than just a musical or independent style. Being genuine is the key. However, there are “guidelines” for independent fashion, like using headphones and shunning popular trends. INDIE STYLE: MEN’S CLOTHING, ITS DEVELOPMENT, AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS Want to learn more about the indie scene but need to know who Kurt Cobain is and what Kerouac is? Do not be afraid, fashionista on a mission; we have scoured the history of the counterculture to reveal the secrets of this enigmatic, ever-changing style. From the seedy streets of punk in the 1970s to the lo-fi bedroom pop of today, our brave fashion anthropologists have combed through decades of subculture movements to compile the definitive indie style guide. We’ve gathered the trailblazers, rebels, and idols who have moulded this style so you can put together an outfit that’s as one-of-a-kind as your record collection. Nonetheless, we are not merely providing a historical context; our goal is to assist you in becoming an expert indie-style practitioner. From the ideal worn-in leather jacket to the best thrift band tee, we’ve outlined the look’s essentials and provided many ideas for outfits that are equal parts rebellious style and easy excellent. What, then, makes this manual different from the typical fashion listicle? 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Cozy sweaters, torn denim, and worn-out A sartorial protest against the glossy excess of the 1980s, Doc Martens, became the de facto uniform of the disillusioned youth. However, The current independent clothing model only emerged in the early 2000s. With the rise of rock revivalist groups like Interpol, the Strokes, and Yeah Yeahs came a resurgence in the fashion of the 1960s and 1970s, complete with shaggy hairstyles that resembled a pair of rusty garden shears, old band tees, and slim-cut suits. THE MASSIVE TRANSFER: INDIE SOARS TO THE TOP OF THE CHARTS By the mid-2000s, indie had risen from the depths to the surface, with mall-goers like H&M and Urban Outfitters adopting the style. Suddenly, a twentysomething wearing skinny jeans and a studded belt was everywhere. Not even a thrifted tote bag could be thrown without striking one. While mainstreaming indie fashion may have watered down its “cool kid” reputation, it also allowed for more creative expression within the look. 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Finding the sweet spot between carefree calm and purposeful dishevelment is critical, as it is with much of the aesthetic. If you’re looking for a classic pair of sneakers, nothing beats a pair of worn-out, somewhat battered Converse Chuck Taylors or Adidas Stan Smiths. Elevate your style without entering preppy territory with vintage-inspired leather sneakers from a company like Veja or Common Projects. Whether you prefer a big combat boot or an elegant Chelsea boot, boots are an additional requirement for indie fashion. For example, Doc Martens has been around since punk and is still a part of the subculture today. Remember to break them in correctly; a quarter-sized blister may destroy an otherwise excellent independent outfit. Adorning Yourself the Indie Way Kudos to You: finishing it off In alternative fashion, a stylish hat is much more than an eye protector; it’s a design statement that can elevate even the most understated ensemble. Beanies always stay in style in the fall and winter. Try on various colors and patterns until you find an outfit that suits you, and aim for a looser fit. An understated black or blue beanie will never go out of style, but a daring striped design or a mischievous pom-pom can liven it up. Choose a fedora with a wide brim or a newsboy cap if you’re going for a throwback style. Put your best head on when you wear it; trying too hard with your hat will make you look insincere. How to Frame Your Face with Indie Eyewear The correct eyewear may complete your look if you’re going for an independent style. Whether you prefer prescription frames or sunglasses, the important thing is to find models that exude a touch of nostalgia without crossing the line into costume land. You can’t go wrong with classic club masters or wayfarers in black or tortoiseshell. For a more contemporary choice, oversized aviators or round metal frames reminiscent of the 1970s might be better. If you’re serious about the indie look, some classic Ray-Ban or American Optical frames will be a significant investment. No one likes to spend their day squinting at their phone due to poor vision, so be sure to have them fitted with your prescription. ANTIQUE AND MADE JEWELRY When it comes to independent fashion, jewelry isn’t so much about flash as it is about meaning. Handmade items are particularly coveted due to the unique quality and feeling of craftsmanship they exude. Find understated and essential jewelry, such as a silver signet ring, leather wrap bracelet, or recycled metal stud earrings. Finding unique pieces like a vintage leather watch or a tie bar with a fantastic retro vibe may be a fun way to accessorize your outfit. The most important thing is not to follow the crowd but to pick out parts that genuinely speak to you. Instead of many mass-produced trinkets, invest in one meaningful piece of jewelry. Indie fashion offers a wide range of styles, even though its members share a rebellious and individualistic character. One of the things that makes this style so entertaining is how it incorporates so many different subcultures and style groups, all of which have unique vibes and tastes. Some important indie fashion subgenres to be familiar with are: The Glitter and Grit of Indie Sleaze The unabashedly trashy, dirty, and grimy are the hallmarks of indie sleaze. Picture smudged eyeliner, tattered fishnets, and worn-out leather jackets from yesteryear. Leaning into the mayhem is the secret to successfully pulling off this look. It’s the epitome of indie sleaze to combine prints, textures, and decades recklessly; for example, a slip dress from the 1990s with a band tee from the 1970s and some battered biker boots. Remember that there is a delicate balance between intentionally untidy and downright sloppy. Get dressed (especially if your clothing is tattered) and put effort into your hair (even if it appears you have just gotten out of bed). A LOVE AFFAIR THAT WILL NEVER ENDS Regarding independent fashion, indie sleaze is like a wild child, whereas indie rock is like the calm, collected older sibling. The hallmarks of this style are simple, timeless pieces like black leather jackets, band tees that have seen better days, and trousers that have been worn in just the right places. Simplifying and streamlining are vital to pulling off the indie rock style. Keep to solid colors (black, white, and gray are perennial favorites) and seek out items with simple lines and little decoration. The same goes for your accessories; a simple leather belt, a couple of silver rings, and a pair of black Wayfarers if you want something ritzy. The point is to appear laid-back and stylish as if you snatched an outfit from the floor and wore it nonetheless. ENCHANTED WORLD: BEAUTIFUL IN PASTELS In contrast with indie rock’s rough, no-frills austerity, soft indie is more ethereal and beautiful. This style is defined by flannels, pastels, and a general longing for a bygone period. Search for items in pastel colors such as mint green, blush pink, and pale yellow to achieve the delicate indie style. Everything from antique tea dresses with toasty cardigans and some well-worn ballet flats to floral designs, lace accents, and flowing, feminine silhouettes is fair game. Wear delicate jewelry like a tiny gold chain, a charm bracelet, or even tortoiseshell cat-eye sunglasses. Your objective should be to appear as though you have walked out of a sepia-toned portrait, all set to relax in a sun-dappled garden with a cup of tea and some love letters. Modern Long Haircut Ideas for Any Hair Type Hipster in the Heartland: Indie America Indie Americana could be your style if you lean more toward Small Town USA than Big City Lights. This style combines traditional workwear with bohemian elements for a look that is both romantic and tough. An essential foundation for every heartland hipster outfit should be a pair of worn-out work boots, heavy flannel shirts, and some raw denim trousers. Sundresses with flower prints, suede jackets with fringes, or cowboy boots with embroidery are other quirky pieces that can be added. Consider a turquoise pendant necklace, a braided leather bracelet, or a vintage silver belt buckle as accessories with a handmade flair. The objective is to appear like you have walked out of a grainy Western, saddled and ready to hit the trail. CURRENT INDIE HAIRDRESSERS AND GROOMING LOOK How you style your hair and nails is as crucial as what you wear independently. The perfect combination of cut, color, and style can transform any outfit into a show-stopping masterpiece, no matter how subtle. Take a look at these critical trends in independent hair and grooming: TOUGH COOL: THE SHAGGY MOP Using a shaggy mop can make you feel like a rock star. This hairdo is perfect for showing off your hair’s inherent volume and texture by letting it hang loosely in waves that frame your face. The style is best achieved with a layered cut that ends at the nape of the neck. After applying a texturizing cream and dimension, air dry it or use a low-heat diffuser for a smoother look. If you want your shaggy mop to look perfect, do smooth and exact things. In the studio, aim for a carefree look, as if you stepped out of bed without a care in the world, rather than a style that conveys hours of styling with a flat iron and hairspray. ANGULAR AND EDGY UNDERCUT Consider the undercut style option if you seek a bit more risk. This style calls for a short or closely cropped hairstyle on the sides and back, with longer, textured locks on top. The end effect is a graphic, daring style combining punk and high fashion elements. To style it, smooth back the lengthier top section with pomade or wax, or let it flow forward in a textured fringe for a more relaxed look. Warning: the undercut is not something the faint of heart should attempt. It’s a style that demands a lot of upkeep because you have to cut and touch up your hair often to keep the short and long portions looking sharp. However, it’s an assured way to grab attention and leave a lasting impression if you’re ready to put in the effort. Rough and Refined, The Artistic Stump Even though beards are all the rage right now, a little stubble may be rather stylish in the independent fashion scene. The trick is maintaining a tidy style while including a little dishevelment to give your hair dimension and structure. You must give your facial hair a few days to grow before having the ideal artistic stubble. Next, make a clean, defined edge along your cheekbones and jawline by setting your trimmer to a low guard (1 or 2) and trimming until the length is even. After that, keeping up with maintenance is critical. To keep your skin healthy and supple, wash your face gently with a moisturizer and cut your stubble every few days to the ideal length. Try out new styles to add some character to your look. A soul patch or a rakish beard are just a couple of examples. Greetings! Your voice is valuable to me. Please feel free to share your thoughts, feedback, recommendations, or requests for future content. Your contributions are welcomed and appreciated. Rest assured that your input will remain confidential and free of charge. Please subscribe, like, and share. Thanks, and have a nice day.
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