Fall 2019

The Science of Reading and Structured Literacy

Overview of Structured Literacy As a society, we want all children to be able to read. Yet, several challenges prevent us from achieving this goal. Fortunately, research provides answers to many of these challenges. We call this research the science of reading, and Structured Literacy is an approach to teaching based on this science.
Educators who adopt Structured Literacy provide direct instruction in all areas of language. This includes the sounds found within words. It includes the letters used to make up words and the sounds that go with them. It also includes teaching about the parts of words that express meaning. Students use what they learn about these areas of language to read and spell words.

Yet, Structured Literacy teaches more than how to read and spell words. Educators using Structured Literacy teach how to put words together to tell a story. They teach students how to share facts and knowledge. Educators provide students with opportunities to read and understand paragraphs. They provide opportunities to read and understand larger text passages. Doing so provides the practice students need to cement their learning. It also allows students chances to develop background knowledge in support of comprehension.

Structured Literacy works with students who do not struggle when learning to read. It also works with students with dyslexia who struggle to read and spell. Students with dyslexia need more deliberate, thoughtful, and sustained instruction. We provide them with many opportunities to practice what they are learning. We give them lots of chances to read text based on what they are learning. This practice helps them to develop fluency. It also gives students the chance to show you how much they understand about what they read.

This is why the center supports the delivery of Structured Literacy. The bottom line is simple. When provided with Structured Literacy, all children can learn to read. They get the skills needed to comprehend, and they are able to read and obtain knowledge for themselves.


Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia


@MTSUDyslexia Center