Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science
Excerpt from Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science
Reading is the fundamental skill upon which all formal education depends. Research now shows that a child who doesn’t learn the reading basics early is unlikely to learn them at all. Any child who doesn’t learn to read early and well will not easily master other skills and knowledge, and is unlikely to ever flourish in school or in life.
Low reading achievement, more than any other factor, is the root cause of chronically low-performing schools, which harm students and contribute to the loss of public confidence in our school system. When many children don’t learn to read, the public schools cannot and will not be regarded as successful—and efforts to dismantle them will proceed.
Thanks to new scientific research—plus a long awaited scientific and political consensus around this research—the knowledge exists to teach all but a handful of severely disabled children to read well. This report discusses the current state of teacher preparation in reading in relation to that research. It reviews and describes the knowledge base and essential skills that teacher candidates and practicing teachers must master if they are to be successful in teaching all children to read well. Finally, the report makes recommendations for improving the system of teacher education and professional development.
In medicine, if research found new ways to save lives, health care professionals would adopt these methods as quickly as possible, and would change practices, procedures and systems. Educational research has found new ways to save young minds by helping them to become proficient readers; it is up to us to promote these new methods throughout the education system. Young lives depend on it. And so does the survival of public education. The urgent task before us is for university faculty and the teaching community to work together to develop programs that can help assure that all teachers of reading have access to this knowledge.