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Science of Learning: Reading

The research on how best to help kids learn to read is abundantly clear.

Learning to read requires explicit, systematic instruction

The way the brain learns to read is settled science, backed by decades of research. Our brains are hardwired to learn to speak, but not to read. To learn to read, students need to be able to do two things: decode written words and comprehend what those words mean. This requires explicit, systematic instruction and practice over time.

In 2000, the National Reading Panel report outlined five essential components of effective reading instruction for young children: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Yet while we have the science, national reading scores remain stagnant.

Rest assured, HMH® programs are aligned with the science of reading. Our evidence-based approach to teaching a child to read and write is grounded in phonemic awareness and phonics. We also understand that students need differentiated instructional supports. Our goal is to put the right resources into the hands of teachers, who are making critical decisions that shape students’ learning .

of 4th graders and 34% of 8th graders are proficient in reading, according to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

of students who do not read proficiently by third grade end up failing to reach proficiency in future grades.

of teacher prep programs now teach the science of reading compared to 35% in 2013, according to a 2020 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

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Reading Success Pillars

Decades of research have identified five essential components of effective reading instruction for young children: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Research has also demonstrated the importance of content knowledge and writing on students’ reading success.

We can help implement science of learning principles in your district.

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From Research to Practice

Make a difference with evidence-based professional learning

At Literacy Solutions®, we provide professional learning with proven methods for elevating student outcomes. Explore the research behind our practice and learn how Literacy Solutions can support you.

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“The goal of reading and writing instruction in the early grades is to enable students to read with fluency and interest, and to write with clarity and voice.“

Francie Alexander Chief Research Officer, HMH
Featured Research

We work closely with our school district partners to bring modern science and good sense to publishing, living by the adage “none of us is as smart as all of us.”

Explore our research collection.

proven professional learning

The science of reading forms the core of Literacy Solutions, combining the experience of decades of professional services work in the field and the most up-to-date research on what it takes to advance literacy.

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Program Resources

Explore our programs, rooted in the science of reading

From core subjects, to intervention, to enrichment, we have the science of reading resources to fit your instructional needs. Learn more about our research-based programs to meet the needs of all learners.

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HMH Into Reading

HMH Into Reading® is the only K-6 literacy program that is differentiated by design to honor the needs of teachers and provide students with a rich, integrated, and measured path to growth in reading, writing, and communication.

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System 44

System 44® delivers just-in-time intensive intervention and a supportive learning environment that the most challenged readers urgently need.

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READ 180

Developed using the latest cognitive neuroscience, READ 180® changes the brains of struggling readers by helping different parts work together more effectively.

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Saxon Phonics and Spelling

Building the strong reading foundation every student deserves can be a struggle. Saxon® Phonics and Spelling was created to support you in rising to the challenge.

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JillE Literacy

Rigby® JillE Literacy® is a balanced literacy experience that offers resources to engage readers, spark critical thinking, and inspire curiosity.

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iRead's adaptive technology adjusts instruction to meet children where they are and provides explicit instruction and guided practice to build mastery.

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Amira Learning

Amira Learning™ provides 1:1 reading practice and administers both an oral reading fluency assessment and a dyslexia screener.

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Literacy Solutions

Literacy Solutions provides professional learning and coaching to support implementation of our literacy programs as well as classroom-focused courses and student-centered coaching to enhance your practice.

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Thought Leaders

Meet the minds behind HMH reading programs

Researchers and practicing educators help drive our program development. Meet some of our HMH thought leaders below.

Dr. Anne Cunningham
Professor, University of California, Berkeley; HMH Author
Dr. Devin Kearns
Associate Professor of Special Education, Department of Educational Psychology, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Fumiko Hoeft
Professor, Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Dr. Julie Washington
Professor, Language Sciences, School of Education – University of California, Irvine; HMH Learning Sciences & Research Advisory Board
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News & Events

Stay in the know with insights, news, and webinars from HMH

Join us for conversation and commentary on the science of reading. Read our community-driven blog Shaped and watch our webinars led by the brightest minds in education today.

on-demand webinars

Get more insights.