What is the Science of Reading?
This is easier if we start with what it is not.
The Science of Reading is not:
Standards (what is on the end of grade tests)
Curriculum (the books and tools)
A Program that can be bought or downloaded or followed
The Science of Reading (SOR for short), is pedagogy. That means it is the method or philosophy of how we approach teaching children to read.
SOR begins with neuroscience. Understanding how we use our brains to learn to read gives educators the foundation to understand how to teach reading.
Did you know that we are not hard-wired to read? We are hard-wired for the spoken language but not for symbolic language. In order to learn to read, we take the part of our brain that used to decode faces when we were infants and rewire it to decode symbols like letters.
Is this different from how I was taught to read?
Yes. Most of us were taught to read using Balanced Literacy pedagogy. You can see some basic differences here:
Will My Child Need to Learn Sight Words?
Not the way we did. With the Science of Reading, children are trained to decode words, even sight words. If we look at the sight word "BRING", can it be decoded? YES! It can be decoded. If we teach kids to recognize "BRING", they will always know the word. But, if we teach kids to decode it, then they will be able to read ANY word that has the same structure of "BLEND + ING".
Of course, there are some tricky words that just need to be memorized. We teach those as what they are "tricky words". Almost everything else can be decoded and when a kid can decode, they can read anything!
What is the Program My Child is Using to Learn to Read?
Onslow County Schools adopted and is using CKLA as our core Language Arts Curriculum. CKLA is Core Knowledge and Language Arts.
CKLA is a blended model. In grades K-3 there is a Skills section and a Knowledge section each day. The skills section provides phonics and phonemic instruction in order to teach a child to read. The knowledge section exposes children to a variety of literary genres, important world knowledge, and great works of literature. In grades 4 and 5, instruction becomes one blended lesson in which work on roots, prefixes, suffixes, and word origins combine with reading for knowledge.
Writing for all students is incorporated in every lesson. From kindergarteners learning to draw pictures of sounds (write letters) to upper-grade children learning to write persuasively about events in history.