How the Science of Reading Informs 21st Century Education

June 11, 2020

Petscher, Y., Cabell, S. Q., Catts, H. W., Compton, D. L., Foorman, B. R., Hart, S. A., … & Wagner, R. K. (2020). How the science of reading informs 21st century education. Reading research quarterly55, S267-S282.

The science of reading should be informed by an evolving evidence base built upon the scientific method. Decades of basic research and randomized controlled trials of interventions and instructional routines have formed a substantial evidence base to guide best practices in reading instruction, reading intervention, and the early identification of at-risk readers. The recent resurfacing of questions about what constitutes the science of reading is leading to misinformation in the public space that may be viewed by educational stakeholders as merely differences of opinion among scientists. Our goals in this paper are to revisit the science of reading through an epistemological lens to clarify what constitutes evidence in the science of reading and to offer a critical evaluation of the evidence provided by the science of reading. To this end, we summarize those things that we believe have compelling evidence, promising evidence, or a lack of compelling evidence. We conclude with a discussion of areas of focus that we believe will advance the science of reading to meet the needs of all children in the 21st century.