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).

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.