Empowering Literacy With a Science of Reading Curriculum

Research-Based Resources to Enrich and Educate

By Tiara Smith, Copywriter & Content Strategist ; Courtney Lofgren, Learning Designer, Learning Design & Content Development

Understanding the Science of Reading

The Science of Reading refers to the body of research that informs the best practices for teaching students how to read. Research shows that reading is a complex process to learn and to teach. For students to become proficient readers, they must be able to recognize written words and understand their meaning, which can be achieved by following a Science of Reading-aligned curriculum.

As explained by  The Reading Rope, created by Dr. Hollis Scarborough in 2001, the connection between word recognition and language comprehension is what forms the foundation for proficient reading. As you will notice in the image below, Word Recognition is comprised of several strands: Decoding, Phonological Awareness, and Sight Recognition. The Language Comprehension strand, though, involves essential concepts, such as Vocabulary, Background Knowledge, Language Structures, Literacy Knowledge, and Verbal Reasoning. When woven together, all of these strands form the foundation for literacy success, and it all starts with a Science of Reading-based approach. 

How Our Reading Curriculum Programs Align With Scientific Research

Choosing a Science of Reading curriculum can be a daunting task. Learning A-Z makes it easier by ensuring that we provide resources that support research-based instruction.

To align with current research, we consider the following:

  • The pillars of literacy: Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are essential components of an effective literacy curriculum. These pillars drive the ideation, creation, and iteration for our resources.
  • Knowledge building: Reading comprehension is connected to the background knowledge students bring to a text. Our rich, complex texts support students in building their world knowledge and acquiring new vocabulary, which increases their understanding of the text and overall comprehension.
  • All aspects of literacy: It is not enough for students to develop reading proficiency. Students need access to a vast range of resources that help them become better readers, writers, communicators, and thinkers. Learning A-Z products provide a wide variety of learning resources that utilize Science of Reading research to promote comprehensive literacy.

The Benefits of a Science-Based Reading Approach

When combined with well-trained, informed teachers, a science-based reading approach ensures that the vast majority of students can achieve reading success. Often referred to as Structured Literacy, this approach to reading instruction emphasizes explicit, systematic instruction that targets students’ unique literacy and learning needs. Using a science-based approach, teachers maximize instructional time by modeling skills and strategies through detailed instruction, scaffolding support for students through guided practice, and ensuring that students demonstrate learning through collaborative and independent practice and application.

Science of Reading Curriculum Features: Bridging Theory and Practice

You can feel confident using Learning A-Z resources to supplement your core curriculum knowing that we have used Science of Reading research to inform instructional practices within our resources. Below you will find a chart detailing how the resources in our various products relate to important themes found in a Science of Reading curriculum and examples of applying these concepts.

Research in Theory Related Learning A-Z Product(s) Examples of Research in Practice
Most students benefit from explicit, systematic instruction. Foundations A-Z
Writing A-Z
Instruction across our different products follows the gradual release approach, so teachers explicitly model skills and strategies, provide guided support as students practice those skills and strategies, and students apply what they have learned through independent practice. Several products, including those listed to the left, include a scope and sequence that builds in complexity as students work toward proficiency.
Structured foundational skills instruction leads to automatic, skilled reading. Foundations A-Z
Foundations A-Z provides systematic and explicit foundational skills instruction for K-5 students, including phonological awareness, print concepts, fluency, phonics, and word study. Lessons and resources intertwine these discrete skills to help students become skilled, fluent readers.
Strategies taught when students receive high-quality writing instruction support students when they demonstrate their comprehension via writing. Writing A-Z Writing A-Z provides teachers with the tools they need to help students in grades K-5 acquire the skills to communicate their ideas. Lessons and resources ensure that students develop foundational writing skills and strategies that facilitate communication and help students understand the texts they read.
There is a strong connection between vocabulary development and reading comprehension. Foundations A-Z
Vocabulary A-Z
Raz-Plus resources and texts help students acquire the skills that enable them to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and achieve better overall reading comprehension. When used in conjunction with the premade vocabulary lessons in Vocabulary A-Z, Raz-Plus emphasizes story-critical and academic vocabulary to help students learn new or challenging words using high-interest books.
Cross-curricular literacy instruction leads to better overall comprehension. Raz-Plus
Science A-Z
With Learning A-Z, you have the power to create cross-curricular connections, one book, lesson, or resource at a time. Science A-Z resources, for example, blend science and reading instruction, making it easier to cover both subjects simultaneously and save time and hassle. Unit nonfiction books, high-interest FOCUS Books, and Investigation Packs support students in deepening their scientific knowledge as they work toward reading proficiency. In addition, the social studies content in Raz-Plus allows you to dissect historical events, act them out to ensure understanding using Reader’s Theater, and promotes deeper comprehension using close reading questions.
Motivation often increases student engagement and contributes to reading success. Foundations A-Z
Science A-Z
Vocabulary A-Z
Writing A-Z
The Student Portal engages students with an interactive, spaced-theme learning experience. Students are motivated to complete a variety of literacy tasks to earn stars and badges that allow them to customize avatars. They can also check their individual progress by reviewing their stats.

Fostering a Culture of Science of Reading-Aligned Literacy

Administrators, teachers, students, caregivers, and other school community members must work in tandem to integrate literacy experiences at school and beyond. Students need to see that literacy is an integral part of their learning.

What might fostering a culture of literacy entail? Consider implementing some of the following:

  • Host literacy-themed school events
  • Provide access to a wide variety of high-quality, high-interest books
  • Expand classroom and school libraries to include diverse texts
  • Collaborate with colleagues to incorporate literacy instruction across all content areas
  • Help students make meaningful connections between reading and writing through well-planned instructional activities
  • Set literacy-based goals for teaching and learning
  • Develop ways for students to share their reading highlights with their peers

Partnering With Learning A-Z for a Science of Reading Curriculum

Using a Science of Reading curriculum can make a significant impact on literacy development in your classroom. Should you choose to partner with Learning A-Z, you’ll have a wide selection of Science of Reading-aligned solutions to choose from, including  Raz-Plus, our award-winning solution for K-5 research-based literacy, and Writing A-Z, our award-winning solution for K-5 writing instruction.

Here at Learning A-Z, we believe that curious, joyful learners build more proficient literacy skills, which is why our solutions offer a blend of Science of Reading-aligned lessons, resources, professional development, and engaging independent practice opportunities via our student portal. Our resources target students’ needs, engage them with high-interest texts, and help them become fluent readers who comprehend texts. We make it easy for you to implement literacy practices at school, at home, and in the community because our digital literacy resources can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

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