If it seems like everyone is talking about the Science of Reading, you’re right. Educators, administrators, parents and, yes, politicians are in the midst of a sometimes-heated debate about how best to teach reading. The Science of Reading refers to a vast body of scientific research about reading and writing.  

Parents of children with dyslexia or other reading challenges are particularly interested. So are families that just want to make sure their child is on the path to reading success. 


Like you, they sense that the Science of Reading is important, but aren’t sure why. Or how. For instance, the Science of Reading is driving today’s renewed emphasis on phonics. But as you’ll see, phonics is only one facet of effectively teaching children to read.

It’s time to truly understand why the Science of Reading matters to you and your child.

From cutting-edge science to common sense experience.

The Science of Reading is a body of knowledge gleaned from 50 years of studying how young children learn to read. Everything from cognitive neuroscience to the experience of teachers in classrooms around the world enriches that knowledge. And while the research is always being refined, there are many things we know for sure. (Some of which may surprise you.) 

For instance, reading is not a natural process. Unlike learning to talk, which children pick up with little to no guidance when exposed to language, most children must be taught to read. Research shows that, with good instruction, 95% of kids — even those at risk for dyslexia — can become proficient readers. 

We also know children at risk for reading issues can be identified as young as four, before they’re even reading. And with early intervention, many of those children will become successful readers. (The advantages of early intervention are one reason the EarlyBird screener is designed to flag reading challenges as early as preschool.) 


The Science of Reading has identified five core components of reading. Each contains a continuum of skills children must master to become successful readers:

  1. Phonemic & Phonological Awareness

The ability to recognize and manipulate sounds, syllables, and words in spoken language.  Breaking words into syllables, and then syllables into individual sounds (called phonemes), helps children isolate sounds and apply letters.

  1. Phonics & Word Recognition

The ability to match the sounds of spoken language to the letters or groups of letters that represent the sound, and then apply that knowledge to reading words efficiently. Knowing there are rules to why vowel sounds are short or long is only one facet of learning phonics. For example, how do you remember how to read the word ‘said’?

  1. Fluency

Reading and recognizing a word and what it means quickly and accurately. How quickly? For the average 4th grader, fluency means reading at a rate of around 120 words a minute.

  1. Vocabulary

Understanding individual words, so a reader understands the whole of what they’re reading. A child who reads 20 minutes a day will be exposed to 1.8 million words a year. This increased vocabulary is the foundation of increased understanding.

  1. Oral Language Comprehension

The way spoken language enriches a child’s reading comprehension, so they understand what they read. Comprehension begins even before reading starts. Rich conversation, listening and talking about stories are the best ways to help your child develop oral language comprehension.


As mentioned earlier, the renewed and, all too often, exclusive emphasis on phonics makes it more important than ever to understand that phonics is just one component of successful reading. We need to understand how well a child has mastered all five core components to effectively identify those at risk, as well as know where to pinpoint additional instruction.

Why you’re reading so much about EarlyBird Education.

Now you better understand the role the Science of Reading plays in reading success. This science is just as critical to EarlyBird. 

That’s why we transformed the Science of Reading into a revolution in reading education that empowers parents.

We’ve created EarlyBird at Home which combines our award-winning assessment, a fun game-based skill development app, support from a dedicated Literacy Specialist, and dedicated resources for parents.

Want to learn more about EarlyBird at Home?