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Reading & Literacy Series

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

Image of a young boy reading.
Sneksy/iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy Is This the End of 'Three Cueing'?
Lucy Calkins, author of a popular reading curriculum, is taking a step away from the method, which isn't based in science. Will others follow?
Sarah Schwartz, December 16, 2020
13 min read
Image of a very young reader in the library.
CHUYN/iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy 'Decodable' Books: Boring, Useful, or Both?
These sound-it-out books designed for young readers aren’t always popular with teachers. But experts say they’re an important tool.
Sarah Schwartz, March 13, 2020
9 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
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Reading & Literacy Reading Instruction: A Flurry of New State Laws
Many states have recently enacted laws so that teachers are well versed in evidence-based reading instruction. Here are some highlights.
Catherine Gewertz, February 20, 2020
3 min read
Elize'a Scott, a 3rd grade student at Key Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., reads under the watchful eyes of teacher Crystal McKinnis in April 2019. Mississippi has become a national leader in requiring teachers to know research-based strategies for teaching reading. Many other states are following suit, passing a flurry of laws in the last three years.
Elize'a Scott, a 3rd grade student at Key Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., reads under the watchful eyes of teacher Crystal McKinnis in April 2019. Mississippi has become a national leader in requiring teachers to know research-based strategies for teaching reading. Many other states are following suit, passing a flurry of laws in the last three years.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File
Reading & Literacy States to Schools: Teach Reading the Right Way
States are passing new laws that require teachers to master reading instruction that’s solidly grounded in research.
Catherine Gewertz, February 20, 2020
11 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
FatCamera/Getty
Reading & Literacy Preservice Teachers Are Getting Mixed Messages on How to Teach Reading
Professors introduce a mix of reading experts to future teachers, including those whose work conflicts with scientific research on reading.
Madeline Will, January 22, 2020
10 min read
Reading & Literacy Video What the Science Says About How Kids Learn to Read
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.
Brooke Saias, December 16, 2019
3:48
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Reading & Literacy Improving Reading Isn't Just a Teaching Shift. It's a Culture Shift
Flawed methods for teaching reading are passed down through cherished mentors, popular literacy programs, and respected professional groups.
Stephen Sawchuk, December 3, 2019
14 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
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Reading & Literacy Is Phonics Boring? These Teachers Say It Doesn't Have to Be
Phonics, to some, means tedious worksheets and drills. But many teachers have found ways to enliven their instruction with songs and games.
Sarah D. Sparks, December 3, 2019
3 min read
Reading & Literacy Data: How Reading Is Really Being Taught
New survey data show that most K-2 teachers and education professors are using instructional methods unsupported by cognitive science.
Liana Loewus, December 3, 2019
6 min read
Ashley Palmer, a kindergarten teacher in Matthews, Mo., works with students on letter names using flashcards.
Ashley Palmer, a kindergarten teacher in Matthews, Mo., works with students on letter names using flashcards.
Houston Cofield for Education Week
Reading & Literacy More Than Phonics: How to Boost Comprehension for Early Readers
Learning how to decode words is essential to becoming a reader. But building a strong vocabulary and knowledge-base is crucial as well.
Sarah Schwartz, December 3, 2019
10 min read
Braydan Finnerty, 2nd grade, chooses letter magnets off the board while doing a spelling exercise in front of the rest of the class at Beverly Gardens Elementary in Dayton, Ohio.
Braydan Finnerty, 2nd grade, chooses letter magnets off the board while doing a spelling exercise in front of the rest of the class at Beverly Gardens Elementary in Dayton, Ohio.
Graeme Sloan/Education Week
Reading & Literacy A Look Inside One Classroom's Reading Overhaul
At an Ohio school, teachers who once “did their own thing” are now using structured literacy programs—and they say they’re seeing gains.
Catherine Gewertz, December 3, 2019
9 min read
Leander Bridges, the assistant principal at Laurel Upper Elementary in Laurel, Miss., sounds out vowels during a training session at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Leander Bridges, the assistant principal at Laurel Upper Elementary in Laurel, Miss., sounds out vowels during a training session at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Cheryl Gerber for Education Week
Reading & Literacy Will the Science of Reading Catch On in Teacher Prep?
Many teachers leave preservice training without clarity on what the cognitive science says about how students learn to read.
Madeline Will, December 3, 2019
14 min read
African American Girl holding book and reading in an elementary school lesson
Getty
Reading & Literacy From Our Research Center The Most Popular Reading Programs Aren't Backed by Science
An analysis of the five most-used programs for early reading shows that they often diverge from evidence-based practices.
Sarah Schwartz, December 3, 2019
15 min read
unedited: Second grader Julie Baiza, 8, takes a minute to think about selecting a book to read during an after school creative-writing center at 826DC at the Museum of Unnatural History in Washington on June 3.
unedited: Second grader Julie Baiza, 8, takes a minute to think about selecting a book to read during an after school creative-writing center at 826DC at the Museum of Unnatural History in Washington on June 3.
Swikar Patel/Education Week
Reading & Literacy Interactive The Path to Fluent Reading: A Developmental Timeline
This timeline shows examples of the milestones children meet on their path to fluent reading.
Sarah D. Sparks, October 2, 2019
1 min read