Science of Reading

Research to Increase Reading Proficiency

What We Do - Research-Based Instruction

As your students embark on their literacy journeys, it is important to put in place proven methods that accelerate learning, improve student outcomes, and close learning gaps. Over the last couple of decades, research has been conducted in multiple languages to find the best ways to teach skills that develop proficient readers, as currently many students in the U.S. nationwide are reading below grade level. By using this research coupled with the art of teaching, teachers are able to refine their methods of instruction, proactively prevent reading misconceptions, and encourage mastery of foundational literacy skills to put students on the path to reading success.

What is the Science of Reading?

The Science of Reading (SoR) is a comprehensive body of research that encompasses years of scientific knowledge intended to aid students in becoming skilled readers. Derived from developmental psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience, Science of Reading research has formed the foundation for several different accepted theoretical frameworks including:

  • The Simple View of Reading: A theory that identifies word recognition (decoding) and language comprehension as major contributions to reading comprehension, and allows educators to predict reading comprehension levels using Gough and Tunmer’s 1986 formula¹:

Decoding (D) X Language Comprehension (LC) = Reading Comprehension (RC)

According to this theory, it is clear that strong reading comprehension depends on the combination of these skills.

  • Scarborough’s Reading Rope: A theory that was created to help educators understand what is necessary to create proficient readers. Created by Dr. Hollis Scarborough, this theory is embodied by a model (originally made of pipe cleaners) that comprises two main sections- word recognition and language comprehension. Each strand of this rope is then broken down into smaller strands of skills such as vocabulary and sight recognition. When woven together, these strands form the foundation of the rope that represents reading proficiency.

As a whole, Science of Reading Research aims to inform instruction and creates best practices to achieve greater academic success.

Putting Science of Reading Theory Into Practice

Before putting the Science of Reading into practice, it is important to ensure an understanding of key terminology. Take a look at the following terms:

  • Explicit – Teacher-led, direct instruction where individual skills are broken down to their smallest parts and taught one at a time, in isolation, with ample time for practice before application and before moving on to the next skill.
  • Systematic – Following a distinct plan that develops from simple to more complex and is comprehensive.
  • Sequential – In a specific order, with one thing followed by another
  • Multi-sensory – Combines listening, speaking, reading, and writing using the senses including a tactile or kinesthetic activity.

Research has proven that taking an explicit, systematic, cumulative approach to reading instruction yields greater academic results. As such, it is important to take a structured approach to literacy instruction by ensuring it is explicit, systematic, cumulative, and sequential, provides multiple instances of exposure to multi-sensory practice opportunities, and that it provides grade-level appropriate texts along the way.

Per the Ladder of Reading, only 5% of those surveyed indicated that learning to read, in general, seems effortless, which comes at no surprise given the complexities involved in reading instruction. On the contrary, 40-50% of students require code-based explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction. Integrating Science of Reading research in alignment with a structured approach is the best practice to produce skilled readers.

Selecting a Research-Based Reading Curriculum

Selecting a reading curriculum that is aligned to current research helps to promote positive learning outcomes in the classroom. As you create lesson plans, select developmentally appropriate activities and quizzes, and determine which tools will be helpful on this journey. Aligned with Science of Reading research, Learning A-Z developed Foundations A-Z, a comprehensive foundational skills solution that provides all you need to elevate reading levels in your classroom. Offering standards-aligned lesson plans, expert-led professional development, and high-quality resources, Foundations A-Z has everything you need to enhance reading instruction in your classroom.

Professional Development to Help Educators Implement the Science of Reading

When beginning their Science of Reading journey, it is imperative that educators feel confident to teach these new concepts. To aid in this process, educators need professional development that not only aligns with Science of Reading research but also is flexible to meet their unique needs and led by tenured experts who are able to walk them through their journeys from lesson to implementation.

That’s why we included embedded professional development within Foundations A-Z to equip teachers with the knowledge and the confidence to teach foundational skills and build reading proficiency in their classrooms. Built on Science of Reading research, Foundations A-Z’s professional development eases the transition to explicit, systematic, cumulative instruction.

Science of Reading research provides an immeasurable amount of guidance in helping close literacy gaps in grades K-5. When aligned with these principles, instruction becomes more effective, efficient, and purposeful.

Start Your Science of Reading Journey With Learning A-Z

Foundations A-Z is built on the Science of Reading. Learn more about this literacy solution and start a free trial today.

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Ferrell, L., Hunter, M., Davidson, M., & Osenga, T. (2022, February 24). The simple view of reading. Reading Rockets. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

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