Science of Reading

Structured Literacy

What is the Science of Reading?

The Science of Reading is a body of evidenced based research (spanning five decades) compiled by experts in Education, Special Education, Linguistics, Cognitive Psychology and NeuroScience. It is not a "new thing."

From this research we have developed a body of information and learning that provides us a deep understanding of how everyone learns to read, what skills are involved, how they work together and which parts of the brain are responsible for reading development.

At Te Ao Mārama School we have adjusted our Teaching Practice to include what we know is evidenced based research and best practice to ensure that all of our learners can be effective readers and writers.

So, how do we teach using what we know about how our brains learn to read and write?

The Structured Literacy approach:

Uses the evidence from the Science of Reading and the information we need to teach all learners to read and to write.

This approach is for all learners.

What we know is that 40% of our tamariki will learn to read and write with support at school with relative ease. The Structured Literacy Approach is advantageous to these children as they will not have to learn the sounds through guessing or using pictures to gain meaning when reading. They are explicitly taught the sounds and how to read and write them.

Learning in this way is the fastest way to effective Reading Comprehension.

40-50% of our learners need a sound based, explicit and sequential approach (Structured Literacy).

For 10-15% of the learners in our spaces, reading and writing will not come 'naturally' and a Structured Literacy Approach is essential for them to be successful readers and writers (lots of repetitions, chances to practise and additional scaffolding and support) in order to be successful readers and writers.

A Structured Literacy approach to our teaching and learning means that all of our learners can access each step. Some children may rapidly race up the small ladder rungs, some may take their time.

Using this approach ensures that all of the ladder rungs are achievable for all.

The Reading Brain

The picture to the left shows a "Learning Brain."

What we know is that all children learn to speak without being explicitly taught. They hear sounds and words and will begin to use these naturally.

Our brains do not learn to read and write naturally. This must be taught explicitly. A brain learns to read and write when they can attach the sounds they know to the correct symbol. The connection between spoken word to written word.

As a learner gets more practise of the sounds and letters that match they form their "Letter Box" This is where they can effortlessly recognise the sounds and letters and rapidly read/write them.

Why is there such a huge focus on sounds?

Strong reading comprehension cannot occur unless both decoding skills and language comprehension abilities are strong.

  • We must teach students to decode expertly as early as possible. When students can decode expertly, their reading comprehension capabilities equal their language comprehension abilities.

  • We must provide students with strong content knowledge in many domains at all levels in order for them to develop adequate language comprehension abilities.

When our learners are younger, there is a huge emphasis placed on Decoding. They need to know their sounds so that when they are reading and writing they can access their knowledge, effortlessly.

If a child memorises ten words, the child can read ten words and potentially write 10 words. But, if the child learns 10 sounds and the letters that are used to record those sounds they can read and write 350 three sound words, 4,320 four sound words and 21,650 five sound words.

The Reading Brain.mp4

The Reading Brain

The Big 5 of Literacy.mp4

The Big 5 of Literacy

Reading Research - Why Now?.mp4

Reading Research