A List of Science of Reading Articles

This List of Science of Reading articles is designed to be an expanding project. Right now, it covers three topics: Science of Reading, Phonics, and Emily Hanford’s work.

Science of Reading:

National Reading Panel Report From the National Institute of Child Health. This report is the one that lays out the “Five Pillars of Reading,” that is, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

What is “The Science of Reading” from Nevada Today –– a concise description of the claims of advocates and detractors.

From The City: Hundreds of NYC Elementary Schools Used a Teachers College Reading Curriculum Banks Said ‘Has Not Worked’

Why is it so many American Children Can’t Read — from this blog. My own private reflections and discussion. What would I, a reading interventionist who’s now worked with hundreds of struggling readers, tell the classroom teachers about how to prevent illiteracy?

The Science of Reading from the International Literacy Association — this report provides an evenhanded list of 77 articles on what SoR means — downloadable PDF. The image below comes from the PDF. This is as good a precis as I could find so far:

Definition of the science of reading, with detail.

Shanahan on LIteracy — This blog by a professor emeritus and previous director of Chicago Public Schools pretty much demonstrates why it’s impossible for many intelligent people, and in specific people in the university, to talk clearly about reading instruction: Watching Shanahan waffle and play both sides against the middle in discussing the Reading Wars is as good an introduction as any to why reading research itself is so hard to understand and use for classroom improvement, and why even good scholars sometimes don’t fully understand what should be done.

Conversations about the Science of Reading from the Collaborative Classroom— A downloadable PDF considering Science of Reading (SoR) from various perspectives. From the publisher of SIPPS, a well-known phonics intervention system.

Emily Hanford

Why Millions of Kids Can’t Read or Write — NPR, 2019 by Emily Hanford

Sold a Story Emily Hanford’s report of “How Teaching Kids to Read Went so Wrong.” Although her analysis is incomplete and cherry-picks examples and players in the so-called Reading Wars, no other work on this subject manages to encapsulate, document, and explain the foundations, players, practices and the plight of the losers of the balanced literacy system– that is, the students who didn’t learn to read — as this 6-part podcast series.

Hard Words — Why Millions of Kids can’t Read or Write … APM Reports in which a District faces 56% of students who cannot competently read, and the Chief Academic Officer smells a rat.


From Reading Rockets: Phonics and Decoding. No list of Science of Reading articles would be complete without an entry from Reading Rockets. The goal of phonics instruction is to help children learn the alphabetic principle — the idea that letters represent the sounds of spoken language — and that there is an organized, logical, and predictable relationship between written letters and spoken sounds. Decoding is when we use letter-sound relationships to translate a printed word into speech. It’s sometimes called “sounding out” a printed word. 

Our High Rep Kids and Why Phonics Really is First — from this blog. Phonics isn’t important for all young readers, but for the ones it’s important for, it’s really important.

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