Getting Reading Right

Editor's Note

The early years of reading instruction are critical—there’s little disagreement about that.

But how exactly should reading be taught during that time? That’s been the subject of an abundance of research over the last century—and as much debate.

In this ongoing series, “Getting Reading Right,” Education Week will interrogate the cognitive science behind how kids acquire foundational reading skills, with a focus on the earliest elementary readers, in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Through reporting, explainers, opinion pieces, surveys, and multimedia features, we’ll explore what teachers know about reading and where they learned it, as well as the challenges they face in bringing the research to fruition in K-2 classrooms.

—Liana Loewus, Assistant Managing Editor

How Do Kids Learn to Read? What the Science Says

October 2, 2019

The debate on how to teach early reading has raged for a century. But for the last few decades, the cognitive science has been clear: Teaching young kids how to crack the code—teaching systematic phonics—is the most reliable way to make sure that they learn how to read words. This overview distills the often-complicated research on reading and answers questions teachers may have about how to use it in the classroom.


The Path to Fluent Reading: A Developmental Timeline

October 2, 2019

Some of the most important pre-literacy skills begin in infancy. This timeline shows examples of the milestones children meet on their path to fluent reading.


Phonics vs. Balanced Literacy: A Classroom Comparison

October 2, 2019

Want to know if a K-2 classroom is using explicit, systematic phonics or balanced literacy? This visual illustrates some of the main instructional differences between the two approaches to early reading.