The Science of Reading is all the rage in today’s classroom and for good reason! It has created a lot of shifts to happen in our schools with its scientifically based research. It’s all about the science behind how we learn to read and it’s pretty fascinating!
While many of us may have thought reading just happens along the way with a few phonics lessons and something magically “clicks”, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. With the Science of Reading, we can take all the complicated parts and make them FUN and easy to teach, so that all of our students become proficient readers. So let’s get into what it’s all about!
Using Scarborough’s Rope
The Reading Rope was created by Dr. Hollis Scarborough, a leading researcher of early language development and a senior scientist at Haskins Laboratories. This rope captures all the intricacies that are involved in the sometimes challenging task of reading. If we previously thought reading was a natural progression in life, we realize with the Reading Rope, it encompasses so many different skills that must be explicitly taught.
Scarborough’s Reading Rope expands on all the sub skills that are involved in word recognition and language comprehension. Every essential component of reading is highlighted on it and each strand has to be mastered so that tight rope can be formed, which gives us our skilled reader. When a child is struggling, we can identify the strand, or strands, that are loose to provide targeted intervention. It’s such a powerful tool that we can use to help all of our students become proficient readers.
Using a Structured Literacy approach, we can carry out methods that are explicit, sequential, systematic, prescriptive, diagnostic, and cumulative. As with all subjects in our classroom, our instruction should be assessment driven. This allows us to monitor progress, measure outcomes of our teaching, and guide differentiation for each student. I love using multi-sensory instructional techniques to keep kids engaged with ample opportunities to practice each skill.
There are five essential components that the Science of Reading identifies as crucial for skilled reading:
Keeping these components in our forefront, we will be using the pieces of the rope to get to the ultimate goal of reading comprehension. Continue reading to get all kinds of ideas to successfully implement each of these pieces in your classroom!
Using Sound Walls
Phonemic awareness is one of the most pertinent skills for later reading success. This ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words HAS to be mastered in order to become great decoders.
Sound walls are focused on phonemes that individual letters represent. The wall is organized by phonemes, instead of the letters of the alphabet. There is also a specific visual focus on mouth formations and voice intonations. This helps students develop a greater understanding of how sounds are made. They also learn how to connect speech sounds to written words.
The Impact of Sound Walls vs Word Walls
The focus of the sound wall is to help students to be able to recognize words by sounds, instead of by sight with our traditional word walls. I think in the long run, the sound walls will prove way more beneficial for our students. To get the full breakdown of why sound walls are crucial for student learning, visit The Impact of Sound Walls vs Word Walls. Grab your individual sound wall FREE below!
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Building Background Knowledge
Building background knowledge is meeting your students where they are and then continuing to build on what they already know. With really good background knowledge building, students can make meaningful connections and retain the information we give them.
Building Background Knowledge Made Easy
Taking the time to activate prior knowledge makes learning easier, it stimulates interest in what’s to be learned, and the learning ends up more significant for students. It also boosts motivation because of how excited children are to share tons of information they already possess about a topic. If you want to learn more about background knowledge and why it’s SO important, check out this blog HERE!
I’ve got five super easy tips for building vocabulary in your classroom AND it’ll cost you nothing!
Tip #1 – Have some casual conversations, but with words that you’d use with YOUR peers. Teach them in a natural, casual way!
Tip #2 – Read aloud books with rich vocabulary! Such a great way to come across all kinds of awesome new words.
Tip #3 – Be word collectors. Gather your class in the ultimate word challenge and collect all kinds of words!
5 Easy Tips for Building Vocabulary
Tip #4 – Make Connections. Vocabulary won’t be used if they don’t feel connected to it and feel they can use the words themselves. Get creative on how you help students build a deeper understanding of their new vocabulary.
Tip #5 – Build background knowledge! I told you this was important. Simply having discussions to activate their schema is a great way to build in some more vocabulary practice.
To delve deeper into each of these tips, head on over to 5 Easy Tips for Building Vocabulary!
There are so many benefits of using read alouds in your classroom. It helps students develop a strong vocabulary, build connections between spoken and written words, increase their attention span, and it strengthens their cognitive abilities. To top all of that off, of course it’s also FUN!
The Many Benefits of Read Alouds
If you want to learn more about how to choose great books, tips for making it interactive, the power of think alouds, and some awesome resources for your next great read aloud, check out The Many Benefits of Read Alouds.
Build Your Own Knowledge
Doing your research is powerful. Things may stick out and give you AHA moments that you never thought of before. I highly recommend building your knowledge so you can have your own takeaways. This will allow you to implement what you feel you need and maybe share them with the next educator.
Below you’ll find a list of wonderful professional learning books I have loved and read during my Science of Reading journey. This list does contain affiliate links which means I get a small commission, at no cost to you. Each read gave me something different to think about and helped me figure out exactly what I should tweak in my classroom. I highly encourage you to check them all out!
Do you want a ready to go, completely SoR aligned resources that will help all your students become master readers?? I’ve got you covered! Grab my GROWING bundle that is loaded with resources to help your kiddos practice crucial skills while freeing YOU from stress! You’ll get a complete sound wall, with an editable version to make it fit every students needs’, decodable readers, and countless literacy activities that will bring FUN and knowledge. And since it’s a growing bundle, you’re locked in for any and all the resources that will be added later, for FREE. Just go back and redownload all your new goodies to enjoy! So what are you waiting for? Grab it HERE!
The Ultimate Science of Reading Growing Bundle
I hope you enjoyed learning all about how to use the Science of Reading and make it be impactful in your classroom! These are CRUCIAL skills for ALL students! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Individual Sound Wall FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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