Next-level science of reading:
Early word recognition

As a literacy educator, professional learning strategist and advocate for equitable and excellent education, I’m grateful for the growing body of evidence describing how children learn to read. Beginning with simple word recognition, reading is one of our most important developmental milestones. Scientists have returned again and again to early literacy as an important and productive line of research—an ongoing inquiry that helps us understand what works and what matters in instruction.

And this focus on early literacy is not only essential—it’s more urgent than ever. I’m sure our readers here know as well as I do that reading outcomes among students have, at best, remained flat for decades, a disconcerting reality in a fast-moving and competitive world. Results from that same assessment show that our nation’s students are also losing the joy of reading. One of the things I know to be true: when we learn to read, we can learn to love reading.

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