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The Principles of Reading and its Importance to Reading Instruction

In the realm of education, a revolution has quietly been underway, and it goes by the "Science of Reading" (SoR). Over the past few years, the SoR has emerged as a powerful force for change, reshaping the way we approach reading instruction. It's a paradigm shift that's rooted in an extensive body of evidence-based research about reading and writing, encompassing all the critical issues that revolve around them.

The SoR has shed light on the cognitive processes that are fundamental to achieving reading proficiency, for both typical and atypical readers. It has dismantled teaching methods that lacked evidence-based support, while championing approaches backed by solid, scientific evidence, such as Structured Literacy and Orton-Gillingham. These latter methods, which prioritise explicit, systematic and multi-sensory instruction, form the cornerstone of our approach at DyslexAbility.

Let's delve into the seven key principles that underpin the Science of Reading:

1. Reading is not natural; it must be taught.

Contrary to what some may believe, reading is not an innate skill. It's a complex cognitive process that requires explicit instruction to master.

2. Background knowledge is critical to comprehension.

Effective reading comprehension relies heavily on the reader's background knowledge. The more one knows, the better they can make sense of what they read.

3. Foundational skills instruction must be systematic and explicit.

The foundational skills of reading, such as phonics and decoding, must be taught systematically and explicitly to build a strong foundation for literacy.

4. Instruction must be engaging and multi-sensory.

Engaging, multi-sensory instruction caters to a variety of learning styles, making learning more effective and enjoyable.

5. Evidence-based reading instruction reduces the need for intervention, allowing children to become capable and confident learners.

By using evidence-based methods from the start, we can reduce the need for remediation and ensure that children become confident, capable readers early on.

6. Evidence-based reading instruction is a matter of equity.

Every child deserves access to high-quality reading instruction, grounded in evidence. Equity in education begins with equitable access to effective teaching methods.

7. Evidence-based reading instruction is the most crucial work of a teacher.

Effective reading instruction is the foundation upon which all other learning is built. It is, therefore, one of the most vital responsibilities of educators.

One key framework that aligns with the Science of Reading is Scarborough's Reading Model. Developed by Dr. Hollis Scarborough in 2001, this model is an insightful way of understanding the intricate journey of becoming a skilled reader. It consists of two interwoven strands: Word Recognition and Language Comprehension.

[Image owned by Amplify Education. Source:]

The Word Recognition strand focuses on essential components like phonological awareness, decoding and sight recognition. These components work together as a reader progresses towards automatic and fluent reading. Simultaneously, the Language Comprehension strand includes elements like background knowledge, vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning and literacy knowledge. These elements reinforce one another and eventually weave together with the Word Recognition strand.

Scarborough's model underscores the necessity of explicit, repeated instruction and practice over time. It's a reminder that becoming a proficient reader isn't a matter of quick fixes but a journey that involves the gradual strengthening and interweaving of these foundational skills.

At DyslexAbility, the Science of Reading and Scarborough's Reading Model are not just theoretical constructs but guiding principles that underpin every aspect of our reading instruction. We're dedicated to providing every child with the tools and knowledge they need to become confident, capable readers. It's a journey that begins with recognising that reading is a learned skill, and with the right methods, every child can become a skilled reader.

From International Dyslexia Association. Source:

Contact us at (03) 5996 6006, or to see how DyslexAbility can best support you and your family.

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