Where to Begin

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The vast body of scientifically based research known as The Science of Reading can be daunting and overwhelming.  Knowing where to even begin your journey of learning and truly understanding it can be difficult, to say the least.  We have not been on this journey long ourselves.  We began dipping our toes into the research in 2017 and what we have learned since then is amazing.  Along the way there have been two quotes that have been shared numerous times throughout the science of reading community. Both sum up what learning about the science of learning is like for most of us educators.

So, where to begin?  Read.  Listen.  Watch.  Connect.  Learn.  Below will be suggestions on what to do or where to look for each of these actions.  These are all actions we have taken ourselves that have guided our journey tremendously!


We are reading teachers after all, so why wouldn't that be the first suggestion?  You could read all the published research documents, studies, and books, but not everyone has time for that, or more often than not don't have the access.  Luckily you will find that others have done a lot of the work for you by creating summaries and overviews.  You will want to read up on Structured Literacy, the NRP Report, The Simple View of Reading, Scarborough's Reading Rope, Ehri's Phases of Word-Reading Development, and the Four-Part Processor.  Look at the "What is the Science of Reading" page and subpages to find links to learn more about each of these areas.  If you prefer to read books on teaching reading, check out the Recommended Reading Page. If you crave something shorter than a book, below are a couple journals and online blogs we highly recommend.  


We have become fans of Youtube.  Much like our students, we need repetition for learning to sink in. When we used to attend conferences in person, we would frantically try to record in writing as much as possible.  We always left off information and wished we could listen to the speaker again.  Now, many of the virtual conferences (and even those that weren't) upload links to recorded videos of their presentations to Youtube.  There are many channels to follow that provide endless hours of learning.  Pop some popcorn, pour a beverage, and enjoy!  Below are a few of the channels we follow and have watched some of their recorded presentations (multiple times).


Lori used to listen to audio books (still does occasionally) on her commute to work or while doing menial chores around the house.  Now, she mostly listens to podcasts.  There are some really great podcasts out there that are devoted not just to education, but to evidence based reading instruction.  You can listen to authors (Like the Libens mentioned above), researchers, educators, psychologists, reporters, all sharing their knowledge of the Science of Reading.  Some of Lori's favorites are below.


For many years we felt like we were on an island with much frustration surrounding what and how to teach.  This was not very conducive to learning or expanding our knowledge.  Once we encountered a few like-minded individuals, that started to change.  Sharing with colleagues helps us grow both emotionally and intellectually.  Believe it or not, Facebook and twitter offer a whole lot of that connection that will help grow your knowledge and network with others that are on the same journey. There are pages to follow and groups to join.  If you have not heard of the Facebook group The Science of Reading: What I Should Have Learned in College, click on the link below and join the group!  There are off-shoot state groups (New York) as well as one for grade 3 and beyond.  The Reading League has a page plus a group that meets to discuss and learn from the articles in The Reading League Journal.  Various education publishers, associations, consultants, authors, and specific programs have their own page to follow or group to join. Many are also found on twitter.  All regularly share their knowledge and offer tips and suggestions to questions that were posed.  Twitter is another great platform to connect with other educators.  Many of the same Facebook groups, online blogs, researchers and authors frequently share on Twitter.

Links to additional state groups,  Canadian provinces, and international pages can be found HERE.


We have collected what we feel will be the most useful information to begin your SOR journey. We can't possibly include everything, but have tried to provide you with enough information that will guide your learning and give you the background knowledge necessary to understand the essentials of  effective reading instruction.

Any collection of SOR materials would not be complete without without referring to the collections of Donna Hejtmanek, Pam Kastner, Stephanie Stollar, or The Reading League.  Much of the knowledge we have gained we owe to them.  Links to their websites and resources are below.  

In addition, educators often find themselves searching for lesson plan ideas on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.  Making sure that the resources and activities found align to the SOR research can be tricky.  Luckily there are some dependable websites that are a goldmine of SOR resources.  Explore the rich findings they have to offer!  

Donn Hejtmanek's Science of Reading Info.com: scienceofreadinginfo.com/index.html 

Dr. Pam Kastner's Literacy Collection Wakelets:  https://wakelet.com/@kastnerpam_ZjscQo

Dr. Stephanie Stollar's reading science academy:  https://www.readingscienceacademy.com/

The Reading League:  https://www.thereadingleague.org/


Educators are lifelong learners.  If we are not buying professional literature to read, we are signing up for every free or low-cost training that is being offered.  Due to limited funding, school districts have to be selective with training opportunities.  Also, many administrators think that because a teacher is certified K-6, then they have been taught how to teach reading.  Though these teachers do have a basic foundation, the art of teaching reading requires constant, ongoing development. Teaching reading IS rocket science, after all!  In addition, research has proven how students learn to read, yet this information has not been shared through their college training.  Below are some links to up-coming webinars/symposiums, on-demand webinars that are 100% free, or trainings that require some minimal out-of-pocket expense.  Each will guide you on your SOR journey.

The AIM Institute will be hosting their 9th Annual Research to Practice Symposium on Monday, March 15 from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm ET  This day-long symposium focusing on Early Literacy Screening. It will be live streamed virtually and recordings will be  available afterward.  In addition, AIM institute offers on-demand webinar recordings (link to the left).

The Ohio Literacy Academy offers all content from Literacy Academy 2021 online as well as resources from the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Academy presentations. 

Denise Eide, author of Uncovering the Logic of English, has a companion website with additional resources.  The Courses Page includes both free and low-cost training courses.  Many people believe that the English language is crazy, doesn't make sense, or is unreliable.  Quite the opposite is true! If we equip ourselves with the knowledge of how our language works we will be much more able to help our students crack the code and become successful readers.

CORE offers many free, on-demand webinars such as the one here from Louisa Moats.  They also offer a Science of Reading Resource Library, Word Reading Difficulties Resource Library, curriculum, courses, and more!

Also check out Louisa Moat's website http://www.louisamoats.com/ for more webinars, blogs, articles, publications, and recommended websites.

If you are familiar with David Kilpatrick's book Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, then you know how invaluable this text is to knowing and understanding the SoR.  We came across a free 13-part webinar by David Kilpatrick based on this book and offered through the Colorado Department of Education.  It is well worth the time! 



As you begin your journey with the shift to the Science of Reading, you will find it is much more beneficial to share the knowledge you have gained.  As they say, two heads are better than one!  If you are a lone wolf in your building and feel like you are on an isolated island, find someone you can share your new-found knowledge with. Sharing your experiences with each other will help you both grow and before you know it the news will start spreading and you will have your own team!