Balancing Literacy: What Makes for Good Reading Instruction?

In a September 8, 2021 opinion post, Education Week described two educators’ concerns over the polarization of literary instruction and the distortion of the term “balanced literacy” from its original meaning.[1] To address the former, we have to look no farther than the hotly debated “war” between phonics and whole-word instruction, which we dealt with … Continue reading “Balancing Literacy: What Makes for Good Reading Instruction?”


Does Learning Music Help Students Learn to Read?

If it’s to be believed, a 2018 study from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that students who receive music lessons — specifically piano instruction — have an advantage over their non-musical peers when it comes to learning to read, and that … Continue reading “Does Learning Music Help Students Learn to Read?”


Guest Blog: Online Tools to Improve One’s Literacy

[Editor’s note: Today’s blog was written by Jane Miller, a freelance writer, part-time high school English teacher, and a graduate student based in Seattle, Washington. It has been lightly edited for clarity.] Literacy goes beyond just reading and writing. These skills allow us to communicate effectively, and, just as importantly, they give us the ability … Continue reading “Guest Blog: Online Tools to Improve One’s Literacy”


Interview with Leah King: Educator, reading specialist, and reader, Part 1

[Editor’s note and disclaimer: This is another in an occasional series of interviews with readers, reading specialists, and educators. The content for this two-part post came from an interview conducted by Miriam Ruff on October 4, 2020, and it has been edited somewhat for length and fluency.] MR:  Thanks for being with us and sharing … Continue reading “Interview with Leah King: Educator, reading specialist, and reader, Part 1”


How Closed Captioning Can Improve Literacy

If you want to learn to read well, watch TV — with closed captioning. Captions provide readers, and especially emergent, struggling, or English Language Learning readers, with additional print exposure; and they offer an inexpensive way for students to build and improve their foundational reading skills, including phonics, word recognition and vocabulary building, and fluency. … Continue reading “How Closed Captioning Can Improve Literacy”


The Science of Reading – Part 4: Online Reading

[Editor’s note: This is the last part of our five-part series on the best practices of learning to read and learning to read better.] To read Part 1, “Unlocking Language,” click here. To read Part 2, “Vocabulary and Comprehension,” click here. To read Part 3A, “Developing Fluency,” click here. To read Part 3B, “Developing Fluency” (continued),” click here. … Continue reading “The Science of Reading – Part 4: Online Reading”


The Science of Reading – Part 3B: Developing Fluency (continued)

[Editor’s note: This is the fourth part of our five-part series on the best practices of learning to read and learning to read better.] To read Part 1, “Unlocking Language,” click here. To read Part 2, “Vocabulary and Comprehension,” click here. To read Part 3A, “Developing Fluency,” click here. Fluency benefits not just emerging readers, … Continue reading “The Science of Reading – Part 3B: Developing Fluency (continued)”


The Science of Reading – Part 3A: Developing Fluency

[Editor’s note: This is the third part of our five-part series on the best practices of learning to read and learning to read better.] To read Part 1, “Unlocking Language,” click here. To read Part 2, “Vocabulary and Comprehension,” click here. For emerging readers, text reading fluency generally refers to oral reading fluency, as students … Continue reading “The Science of Reading – Part 3A: Developing Fluency”


The Science of Reading – Part 2: Vocabulary and Comprehension

[Editor’s note: This is the second part of our five-part series on the best practices of learning to read and learning to read better.] To read Part 1, “Unlocking Language,” click here. Phonics, no matter how effective, can’t be taught in a vacuum. Word knowledge (vocabulary) is another essential part of building language expression in … Continue reading “The Science of Reading – Part 2: Vocabulary and Comprehension”


The Science of Reading – Part 1: Unlocking Language

[Editor’s note: This is the first part of our five-part series on the best practices of learning to read and learning to read better.] There’s a long-standing debate about how best to teach children to read, which has led to what is colloquially known as the “reading wars.” On one side of the battle are … Continue reading “The Science of Reading – Part 1: Unlocking Language”