The Challenges and Transformation of Reading Science

Leading for Reading: A 360-Degree Look at the Science of Reading Now edLeader Panel recording screenshot

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With a convergence of research around the Science of Reading, educators recognize that there needs to be an evolution in how it’s taught. But despite understanding that literacy education needs to change, teachers still face many challenges.

During the edLeader Panel, “Leading for Reading: A 360-Degree Look at the Science of Reading Now,” experts explored key questions regarding effective implementation and transformation.

Teacher Challenges

  • Early literacy preparedness: Many students are arriving in kindergarten without the basic skills they need to even start learning to read.
  • Helping students beyond elementary school: Older students who failed to get a strong foundation built on the Science of Reading may feel defeated and lack confidence in their ability to become strong readers.
  • Lack of practical information: Much of the professional learning focuses on the why of the pedagogy, but teachers don’t receive enough training on how to implement it and what tools to use.

Leadership Challenges

  • Eagerness for results: It can take three to five years to determine if a new program is succeeding, but many constituents are looking for instant progress.
  • Lack of practical training for administrators: In order for school leaders to adequately support and evaluate both teachers and the curriculum, they also need to understand more than the why. They need to be able to describe and model effective practices so they can make informed recommendations for both teacher and student pathways.
  • Mismatched teacher evaluations: Many current state and district teacher evaluations were created for the previous reading pedagogy and aren’t aligned with explicit instruction and the Science of Reading.

Opportunities for Support

  • Continuous, individualized training: And not just for the literacy teachers and administrators. All content teachers should understand current reading science so that they can support students in their classrooms.
  • Government allies: While federal COVID funding was able to be directed to professional learning, state legislators have started to recognize the need to support reading science across all districts. Schools need to continue to work with state and local legislators so they understand the need for continued funding and legislation that codifies these needs.
  • Community partnerships: Educators can’t assume that all families know how to support literacy education. This is a chance to connect with families and make them partners in their children’s learning goals.
  • Vendors: When you have a good relationship with your vendor, you should be able to go to them when looking for resources and solutions. They may not have the answer, but they are typically willing to help.
  • Education community: As always, other educators are willing to share their experiences. Whether it’s podcasts, discussion boards, or just talking to trusted colleagues, the panelists all found that working with other educators helped them build stronger literacy programs.

Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, “Leading for Reading: A 360-Degree Look at the Science of Reading Now,” sponsored by Reading Horizons.

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

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Reading Horizons supports educators with powerful tech-enabled foundational reading instruction that helps all students reach reading proficiency by the end of third grade. For nearly 40 years, the Reading Horizons method has aligned to the evolution of the science of reading, empowering more than 50,000 educators with evidence-based teaching strategies to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. Reading momentum begins with Reading Horizons.


Blog post by Stacey Pusey, based on this edLeader Panel