By Amanda Carter, Noble Academy Head of School
You likely have heard about the Science of Reading (SOR) more and more recently. The podcast Sold a Story brought the complex science behind reading and the popular curriculums used by many schools into the national discussion. The SOR is not just a catch phrase. It refers to decades of research that provide information needed in order to implement best classroom practices during reading and spelling instruction.
Many schools are responding to the national attention on reading curriculums by reevaluating their current curriculum and teaching practices. Hence, to adopt curriculum and implementation methods that are grounded in the Science of Reading. Moreover, moving away from popular curriculums and adopting science-based curriculums and strategies. As October is Dyslexia and Learning Differences Awareness Month, it is a great moment to know what to look for in reading and spelling instruction. Plus, how to help your child at home if your school is still working to implement best practices.
In the most general sense, SOR focuses on these five components.
- Phonemic Awareness – The ability to hear, identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.
- Phonics – Reading instruction on understanding how letters and groups of letters link to sounds to form letter-sound relationships and spelling patterns.
- Fluency – The ability to read words, phrases, sentences and stories correctly, with enough speed, and expression to obtain meaning.
- Vocabulary – Knowing what words mean and how to say and use them correctly.
- Comprehension – The ability to understand what you are reading.
SOR also has strong research on the instructional concepts used to teach reading and spelling, which grounding in a Structured Literacy model is ideal. This model shows that direct, explicit instruction which is delivered in a purposeful sequence focused on mastery is imperative for learning to read and spell. It also is clear that multimodal and highly interactive instruction (using manipulatives, movement, writing, speaking, drawing, and many other ways for children to interact with words) is a game changer for learning. This is especially beneficial for students with language-based learning differences like dyslexia.
If you have questions about whether or not your child’s education includes these ideas and concepts, most schools would be more than happy to discuss this with you.
If your child is struggling at school, but doesn’t qualify for services or additional support, you can provide help at home. There are many resources in the community, including Noble Academy’s tutoring services. But, if you want to start with at home support, I recommend the following:
- Help your child sound out words when they are reading. Do not encourage them to guess at the word based on the sentence or the picture.
- Read to your child and talk about what you are reading as you go. Our kids love to be read to, but can get lost in the hypnotic trance that is mom or dad’s voice.
- Teach your children vocabulary all the time! To be adult/college ready, students need to learn thousands of words and their meaning before the end of 12th grade. No school can teach them that many words during the school day. Exposure to high quality oral language is key. Define words regularly, teach children to use a dictionary to look up words they don’t know. In addition, encourage them to write down words they are learning with their definitions.
- Practice words at home from the Fry Sight Word lists. These 1,000 words make up about 90% of the words in a typical book, newspaper, or website.
If your child is struggling to read, early intervention is essential. Work with your child’s teacher to determine if additional intervention is necessary. Check out our previous blog about early intervention.
Noble Academy is an independent day school serving students in grades 2-12 with learning differences. We are a WilsonⓇ Accredited Partner and provide the Wilson Reading SystemⓇ instruction to our students with language based learning differences. Wilson is a Tier 3 intervention program providing the highest level of direct and explicit instruction based on the Science of Reading.
*Sponsored by Noble Academy