Thriving Using Research-based Instruction

Building the Foundation for Literacy Success

Tiara Smith

By Tiara Smith, Copywriter & Content Strategist

When delivering reading instruction, many educators make it a priority to implement research-based strategies to maximize learning gains and comprehension, but research-based instruction can look vastly different by classroom, district, or teacher. From the popular strategies derived from Science of Reading research to simpler tactics such as using read-alouds or modeling, research-based strategies for reading instruction have the power to help your students thrive. Within this article we will expand upon some of the differences seen in classrooms that implement research-based instruction, present more information about a type of research-based strategy we recommend, and offer a few helpful tips to transition to a research-based approach in your classroom.

Letting Research be Your Guide

It is no secret that there are a variety of ways in which teachers can deliver reading instruction, but are they all created equal? To be considered successful, students must walk away from reading instruction with a clear understanding of key foundational concepts and the ability to read new and increasingly complex texts. Any educator will tell you that this process is multi-faceted and quite time-consuming. But, that is where research-based instruction comes in! Intended to help you become the most effective educator you can be, research-based instructional methods provide strategies to maximize learning, increase student understanding, and promote both efficiency and academic success. Classrooms that utilize research-based instructional strategies:

  1. Deliver instruction in alignment with proven research to help students better understand the building blocks of the english language in both oral and written forms while allowing them to manipulate variables to deepen understanding
  2. Allow students to practice what they have learned by using leveled texts and academic materials derived from proven research
  3. Engage in regular monitoring of student progress to inform future instruction

When classrooms utilize research-based instruction, they are truly set up to achieve the highest level of academic success, as every lesson they engage with and activity they participate in has been proven to produce success.

Introducing the Science of Reading

Each research-based instructional approach may look quite different, but they all share a common goal- to develop proficient readers. Science of Reading research, for example, takes a modern approach to reading instruction by examining the fundamentals of varying languages to explain why some may have difficulty reading and provide insight as to how teachers can improve student outcomes by refining both teaching and intervention methods. Built upon a body of research conducted over the last five decades, The Science of Reading extends beyond the ability to decode words by offering research-based practices to support the growth of reading comprehension skills. Outside of informing reading instruction, the Science of Reading provides insight as to best practices for the other side of the equation to success- small group, whole class, or independent practice. A best practice that aligns with this research is implementation of leveled-books to complete activities such as:

Shared Reading: Research indicates that explicit instruction is an essential component that builds more proficient readers. In shared reading, teachers and students share responsibility for navigating the text. Teachers can use higher-level texts to explicitly model print concepts, fluency, and close reading skills in whole class or small group settings.

Small Group Guided Reading: Higher level, more challenging texts, rather than texts at a student’s designated reading level, are appropriate for small group reading sessions with a teacher where there is opportunity for discussion, questions, and scaffolding. This is the time, when a teacher is close by and at the ready, to provide challenge and get gears turning.

Independent Reading: Students benefit from independent reading texts that are at or near their reading level—texts they can engage with without feelings of frustration or comprehension struggles. Additionally, by pairing text with audio support, students can read along with more advanced, complex texts, scaffolding their comprehension.

Outside of offering key practice opportunities, Science of Reading research advocates for knowledge building, vocabulary acquisition, and other concepts that relate to key foundational skills to further promote reading comprehension.

Transitioning to Research-based Instruction

Taking the step to transition to research-based instruction can be a little overwhelming, but with the right companion by your side, it can be easy! As a busy educator, you need a solution that provides you everything you need to promote literacy without all the hassle, and we have tools that can help.

Foundations A-Z: Based on Science of Reading research, this complete foundational skills solution provides teachers with everything they need to teach/reinforce foundational skills from lesson plans to professional development. Designed for teachers and students alike, Foundations A-Z includes an engaging student portal clad with rewards to keep students motivated to learn and detailed reporting to differentiate instruction.

Writing A-Z: The recipe for literacy involves equal parts reading and writing development, and Writing A-Z is the perfect companion to assist. Offering a wide variety of tools such as a digital workspace equipped with graphic organizers and a side-by-side view, Writing A-Z provides students with an engaging experience while simplifying writing instruction for teachers. Using this solution, teachers are able to enjoy the ease of utilizing pre-written, standards-aligned lesson plans, professional development, and detailed reporting to inform instruction. Simultaneously, students are able to enjoy their learning journey by engaging in interactivities with a fun cast of characters by their sides while reinforcing both writing and grammar skills.

Selecting the Right Solution for You

Not all instructional methods are created equal, but with research-based instruction, you and your classroom are well on your way to literacy success. As you determine which research-based instructional method works best for you, we recommend you consider a Science of Reading-aligned approach and select an academic solution to act as your companion along the way. 

Explore Science of Reading-aligned Instruction

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