The Science of Reading

A Scientific Approach to Developing Skilled Readers

What Is the Science of Reading?

The term Science of Reading refers to the entire body of scientific evidence on how humans read and learn to read.

It is an international, interdisciplinary field of study more than 100 years old that is constantly evolving as new research is published. Numerous fields such as cognitive psychology, educational psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics each offer nuanced perspectives to inform our understanding of effective reading development.

Decades of research have proven that:

  • Learning to read is not a natural process like learning to speak.
  • Most students require explicit and systematic reading instruction in all domains.
  • Foundational skills such as phonological awareness and phonics are critical to cracking the code of written language.
  • Effective reading instruction also involves exposure to conceptually connected text sets and rich vocabulary.

Putting Scientific Evidence to Work in Reading Instruction

Curriculum and instruction informed by select findings from reading research can be described as aligned with/based on/informed by the Science of Reading. These resources help bridge science to instruction and support teachers in making an educational impact on students in the classroom.

Understand the Research

  • What is the Science of Reading?
  • What does the Science of Reading reveal about how people learn to read?
  • What is the difference between the Science of Reading and Science of Reading instruction?
  • What works in teaching reading?


The Essential Elements of Effective Reading Instruction

Translating the Science of Reading into action within your classroom can yield life-changing upsides: efficient use of instructional time, visibility into student progress, and affirmation in your impact.

A graphic illustrating the components that work together to enable evidence-based reading instruction.

Professional Learning

Teachers are the experts and champions when it comes to blending the art and science of how evidence turns into practice in the classroom. Teach with assurance in your impact by staying informed through professional learning.

Data-Driven Assessment

Assessment data serves as the launch pad for instruction. Insight into what students already know and what they don’t know enables the thorough and efficient use of instructional time.

Systematic and Explicit Instruction

Developing readers benefit when systematic and explicit instruction provides clarity on concrete steps necessary for progression across increasingly complex skills and strategies.

Differentiated Instruction

Students are as different as the books within your classroom. Differentiating instruction acknowledges and accommodates diverse learning needs, helping each individual reach and exceed their potential.

Classroom Ready Resources

Engaging with a variety of complex and appropriately challenging grade-level texts allows students to push the pace of their growth.

Create a Love of Reading with Curriculum Built on the Science of Reading

Learning to read is an essential skill that unlocks many doors in education. As instruction across all subject areas—including mathematics and science—comes to depend more heavily on reading skills, supporting students to close the achievement gap is more critical now than ever before.

Curriculum Associates provides research-backed, high-quality instruction grounded in the Science of Reading to accelerate student reading achievement for all Grades K–12 students.

Magnetic Reading Foundations Student Worktext, and Teacher's Guide.

Magnetic Reading Foundations (Grades K–2)

A foundational skills reading program providing explicit, systematic instruction that moves students from foundational skills to reading fluency.

Magnetic Reading Student Worktext.

Magnetic Reading (Grades 3–5)

Connect the art of teaching with the Science of Reading to develop successful, proficient, and confident readers with a comprehensive reading program.

Laptop showing i-Ready Personalized Instruction for Reading.

i-Ready Personalized Instruction (Grades K–8)

Tailor instruction to the needs of each student with interactive lessons driven by results from the i-Ready Diagnostic.

Featured Science of Reading Resources

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What the Science of Reading Tells Us about Learning to Read

Gain clarity around some of the biggest misconceptions around the Science of Reading.

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Reading Intervention for Middle School Students

Discover how the Science of Reading can support striving readers at the middle school level, including high-leverage practices to drive their growth as readers.

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Show Me the Science: Dr. D. Ray Reutzel Explains

Learn what Dr. D. Ray Reutzel believes teachers need to help students become proficient readers.



Oral Fluency with Glendaliz Martinez

Go beyond foundational reading skills in a critical discussion around evaluating multilingual learners. How can students be better supported in developing oral fluency?

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Science of Reading program improve teaching and learning?
Scientifically based reading programs connect not only what students should know about reading but also how they learn to read. They proactively prevent reading struggles and future learning deficits while contributing to overall student growth and achievement.

Does Curriculum Associates offer a Science of Reading-approved curriculum?
Evidence-backed findings from the body of reading research called the Science of Reading are at the core of all Curriculum Associates reading products. In states where legislation exists around the Science of Reading, we can help you find instruction and assessment programs that meet your state requirements.

What are the components of a Science of Reading curriculum?
The Science of Reading prescribes instruction for concepts such as word recognition, decoding, phonological awareness, and sight word recognition for younger students. As students' reading skills progress, instruction should build to more advanced concepts like language comprehension, vocabulary, background knowledge, language structures, literacy knowledge, and verbal reasoning.