Last week, The Reading League (TRL) held its fifth annual conference, Moving in the Same Direction: Partners in the Science of Reading, which was a day-long, virtual event featuring 20 presentations, including two keynote addresses and a live panel discussion with practitioners that covered:
- Instructional approaches past and present and how they compare
- Getting colleagues on board with reading instruction based on the Science of Reading
- Evidence of improved outcomes
What made the content and discussions so compelling was the sense of urgency and need for collaboration to help educators become more aware of the Science of Reading and how to use it in the classroom to cultivate strong readers.
At IMSE, one of our core tenets is immediacy. In designing our Structured Literacy professional development and classroom programs, which have helped millions of students around the country learn to read, our goal is to teach educators how to teach literacy, and apply their knowledge in the classroom to have an immediate impact. Our practical approach to Structured Literacy, which combines the best of Orton-Gillingham with the Science of Reading, arms teachers from day one to implement what they have learned and confidently teach students of all ages and from all starting points.
Literacy Is Critical
Kareem Weaver, who leads Full and Complete Reading is a Universal Mandate (FULCRUM) and is a former Managing Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, captivated listeners with his stark keynote address at TRL 2021, The Case for Equity: Moving Past Our Belligerent Denial. Kareem explained the need for direct, explicit, systematic instruction because we cannot afford a ‘wait to fail’ model:
“Literacy, in the Information Age, is the essential gateway to society. Students must have consistent access to direct, explicit reading instruction that systematically develops foundational reading skills for the greatest number of learners. The Science of Reading must not be considered an ideological preference, pedagogical inclination, or inevitable swing of an instructional pendulum. Rather, the research consensus and supporting science must be applied as a matter of equity and civil rights.”
Kareem asked schools to evaluate their literacy programs:
- How is your literacy program set up to get all of your students reading?
- If we say we are equitable, the actions must reflect that: Is practice aligned with research? Practical? Quality? Encompass the five pillars?
IMSE and The Science of Reading
As teachers, IMSE believes that every student deserves the best possible chance in life. The Science of Reading is not a fad or a pendulum. It is a body of research that guides our instruction in the classroom in order to give every student the best possible chance in life, which includes knowing how to read.
“If your literacy program is not structured to get the most number of kids to the top, or to that level of society, or to proficiency, there is no equity. There can be no equity, no social justice, without literacy.” Kareem Weaver, The Reading League Conference, 2021.
Visit the TRL conference website where you can watch all of the sessions and learn from the amazing scientists and educators who spoke. Topics ranged from culturally responsive instruction to the five essential components to reading to application in the classroom.
For more information on the IMSE and the Science of Reading, check out our blog:
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