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Our Principles


What is the Science of Reading?

The Science of Reading is comprised of more than 40 years of research pinpointing the pillars of any effective literacy program: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics and Word Recognition, Fluency and Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness, a subset of phonological awareness, refers to the understanding that there are individual sounds, or phonemes, in words. For example, the spoken word "sit" has three distinct phonemes, /s/ /i/ /t/. Phonemic awareness additionally includes the ability to isolate, identify, categorize, blend, segment, add, delete, substitute, and reverse individual phonemes.

Phonics and Word Recognition

Phonics refers to the relationship between sounds (phonemes) and spellings (graphemes). Phonics instruction helps beginning readers understand the relationship between letters and sounds to recognize and decode words.

Fluency and Vocabulary

Fluency refers to the ability to read accurately, at an appropriate pace, and with suitable expression. Fluency allows the reader to focus less on decoding, contributing to accurate, deep comprehension and greater motivation to read. 

Vocabulary comprises knowledge of words and their meanings. Vocabulary development goes beyond basic sight words and involves words that are rich in meaning, including conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words. Students build oral vocabulary through listening, which in turn helps them better comprehend text read aloud to them. Oral vocabulary also helps readers recognize and make sense of words they see in print.

Comprehension

Comprehension refers to the ability to understand what you are reading. This involves making connections to what you’ve read and what you already know and drawing conclusions about the text.

Learn more about the research and literacy frameworks behind the Science of Reading:

What About Secondary Learners?

The Science of Reading is often most closely associated with foundational skills and phonics, but it is just as applicable and critical for students in grades 6–12. For secondary learners, rather than focusing on phonics, the Science of Reading focuses on building academic language, comprehension, digital literacy, writing, and a host of other important skills students need to be successful “comprehenders.”

Watch a short snippet of our discussion with Dr. Tim Shanahan and Dr. Amanda Goodwin on how the Science of Reading applies in the secondary classroom. Click "Watch the full session" below to see the entire discussion.

Our Evidence-Based Literacy Solutions

We've drawn upon decades of literacy research as well as our collaborative work with preeminent reading researchers and experts to inform the design, development, and ongoing efficacy testing of our literacy solutions. 

Our research-proven best practices help students grow as readers, writers, communicators, and life-ready learners.

For Grades K–6

For Grades 6–12

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Find out which research-based K-5 literacy program fits your needs

Deliver impactful instruction with solutions grounded in the Science of Reading. Whether you prefer a structured or flexible curriculum, need a solution that brings students back up to grade-level, or want to accelerate literacy growth, we have something for diverse learners in every classroom.

At the end of the day, I don’t think we’re done until every student is being successful, so let’s use the Science of Reading to empower our teachers and our students to be successful.

Fuel Your Knowledge

Take your Science of Reading knowledge to the next level with insights from our experts.

students working together on tablet

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Learn more about the Science of Reading in these articles from Literacy Experts.

Jana Echevarria

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Listen to conversations with Dr. Tim Shanahan, Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, and Dr. Jana Echevarria.

student writing in workbook

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Get straight talk on the Science of Reading from Dr. Timothy Shanahan.