The Science of Reading

The science of reading is the accumulated evidence from multi-disciplinary scientific research on how people learn to read and how to teach reading effectively.

We recently spoke with Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Director of Strategy, MultiLit and Senior Research Fellow, MultiLit Research Unit to discuss the Science of Reading.

“The Science of Reading is important for educators to understand because evidence-informed teaching practice helps children learn to read early and effectively, and reduces the risk of reading failure.

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“The Science of Reading should be taught to educators as compulsory content in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) degrees, and as part of teachers’ regular professional development as new research evidence contributes to our understanding of effective instruction.”

Dr Buckingham is the founder of the Five from Five project, which provides evidence-based information on effective reading instruction.

“The Five from Five seminars are free presentations that provide information about evidence-informed instruction based on the Science of Reading. The first seminar is an overview of the Science of Reading, and subsequent seminars will go into more detail about the essential elements of reading instruction. They are provided as open Zoom webinars and as whole school presentations, either in a webinar format or on-site.

“The information provided to educators, parents and policymakers through Five from Five is drawn from the best scientific research evidence published in journals, reports, and expert professional advice. It translates this information into a form that is accessible and directly relevant to classroom practice for instruction and intervention.”

Educators can implement the Science of Reading in their classrooms by being well-informed about the research evidence, and ensuring literacy lessons are planned in a way that is explicit, systematic and sequential.

“There should a consistent, whole of school approach that builds literacy from the early decoding and language skills that provide the essential foundations for reading and spelling, through to complex text comprehension and competent and sophisticated writing. Assessment and intervention guided by the Science of Reading will ensure that all students are fluent readers by the time they finish primary school.”

Dr Buckingham’s PhD research was on effective instruction for struggling readers. She has provided advice on reading instruction and policy to the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and federal governments, was the chair of the expert advisory group to the federal government on a Year 1 literacy and numeracy assessment, and is a board member of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

Learn more about the Five from Five project here.

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