Where am I in the Reading Universe Taxonomy?
The research-based approach ensures students get the skills they need with no gaps.
In many subject areas, there are countless effective ways for a teacher to help students develop their skills.
That's where early reading is distinctive.
Decades of cognitive research have shown us that proficient readers know our alphabetic code, and that there's one approach to teaching the code that's more effective than others. That method is popularly known as structured literacy.
Structured literacy is a way of organizing and delivering reading instruction to ensure students get all the skills they need in an efficient timeframe – and without any gaps. With this approach, teachers use explicit or direct instruction. There's no discovery or exploration when students are learning new skills – the teachers give them the information directly.
Teachers have a scope and sequence, an order in which they teach reading skills. Here's what the instructional cycle looks like for a whole-group lesson:
Structured literacy is in contrast to other approaches to reading instruction, including balanced literacy, whole language, and guided reading, which focus less on decoding words in a systematic way and have proved less effective for early readers. Some of these approaches tell emerging readers to look at picture clues to figure out what a word says. Experts say that takes students' attention away from the letters, and is not what good readers actually do.
Here are five important characteristics of the structured literacy approach.
Structured literacy is …
If the five characteristics explain how to teach, then the next big question is what to teach.
In 2000, the National Reading Panel identified five key pillars of effective reading instruction. They are:
Reading Universe offers resources and instructional materials for all of these literacy areas, including writing – and beyond. We have scope and sequences, skill explainers, lesson plans, assessments, and videos that can guide you through teaching reading with the structured literacy approach. And our taxonomy can lead the way, laying out all the skills and showing how they're connected.
Jump in to find what you need on your journey toward research-based reading instruction.