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How To Use The Science Of Reading For Reading Intervention

If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.
If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.

Is your literacy teaching guided by the science of reading? Twenty years of research have shown what works and what doesn’t in reading intervention. Teachers who learned to read themselves using whole language, balanced literacy, or the 3-cue system or learned to teach using these approaches may be reluctant to accept the science of reading and put more focus on phonics, but the thing is, it works. 

If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.

What is the science of reading and why use it?

First, let’s get clear. The science of reading is not synonymous with phonics, but an explicit, structured, synthetic phonics approach is a central piece of the science of reading. Phonics shows students the relationship between sounds and written language.

If your goal in literacy instruction or reading intervention is to create proficient readers (which is the point), you need a systematic approach to phonics. That means direct instruction with a logical progression and plenty of practice. Students learning to read need: 

  • To know that sounds are represented by symbols that we call letters
  • Knowledge of the alphabetic code and spelling patterns
  • Phonemic awareness instruction and be able to blend, segment, and manipulate sounds

Some words have a complex spelling structure; however, they are still best learned using a systematic, explicit phonics approach (rather than through memorization that is often the basis of whole language instruction).

Why isn’t everyone using science of reading approaches in the classroom? Some teachers aren’t aware of this body of research about how students learn to read. Others believe, despite a lack of evidence, in balanced literacy or the three cue method. Learning about the science of reading is a great starting place. 

If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.

Does fun have a place with phonics and the science of reading?

Perhaps it is the repetition needed that makes phonics seem dull. It needn’t be though. There are many ways to practice phonics, again and again, tools and techniques that can be used again and again for different sound practice, tools, and techniques that allow students to use different approaches to learn. 

If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.

From play dough mats to puzzles, Tap It/Map It/Zap It games to cootie catchers … there are lots of ways to practice phonics as part of your reading intervention once you’ve done direct instruction. Take a peek at these sample phonics homework lessons for some ideas and done for you worksheets. 

FREE Phonics Worksheets & Activities

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Top Notch Teaching phonics products follow a structured synthetic phonics approach making them perfect for reading intervention. If you need homework resources for reading intervention based on the science of reading, our Phonics Homework Bundle has you covered with sequential sets that build on each other. Plus the variety and structured approach allow teachers to differentiate for student need. There are enough options to last you the entire year! 

Get your Phonics Homework Bundle here!

If your goal in reading intervention is to create proficient readers, you need to know about the science of reading and have a systematic approach to phonics.

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