Imagine Language & Literacy and the Science of Reading
Learning to read is the foundation of education, and we know that children who are not proficient readers by fourth grade will struggle in later years and be unable to understand as much as half of the curriculum they engage with throughout their education.
And yet learning to read is quite challenging. Humans have not evolved specifically to read, so reading must be taught systematically and explicitly. Over the years, there has been a lot of disagreement about the best ways to teach reading, and to resolve this, the Science of Reading has determined the best approach for teaching foundational literacy skills.
What is the Science of Reading?
The Science of Reading refers to decades of scientifically based research from experts, psychologists, and neurologists that speaks to how we learn to read. It represents the best of what we know about the brain-based methods through which people develop literacy.
The Science of Reading addresses questions about how the reading brain develops, how children learn to read, what skills are involved in reading, and how these skills all work together.
The goal of reading is to extract and construct meaning from a text. To do this, a reader needs to develop word recognition skills (including phonological awareness, decoding, and sight word recognition) and language comprehension skills (including background knowledge, vocabulary knowledge, language structure, verbal reasoning, and literacy knowledge).
Given this, the National Reading Panel used the Science of Reading to determine that the most effective approach to teaching reading includes:
- Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness
- Systematic phonics instruction
- Methods to improve fluency
- Ways to enhance comprehension with a focus on vocabulary development
How Does Imagine Language & Literacy Align with the Science of Reading?
The instructional design of Imagine Language & Literacy is built upon the best research in online learning, neuroscience, literacy, and educational psychology, and recent third-party research confirmed that Imagine Language & Literacy aligns with the Science of Reading framework for ensuring student success in reading.
Imagine Language & Literacy answers the Science of Reading’s call for direct, systemic instruction and practice opportunities across all domains of literacy:
- Phonemic Awareness: Students are introduced to phonological awareness through activities that teach the concept of rhyme, segmentation of words into phonemes, and determining whether a specific sound is an initial, medial, or final phoneme.
- Phonics: Imagine Language & Literacy provides explicit and systematic phonics instruction that progresses from letter identification to mastery of letter–sound relationships, blending, application of vowel–consonant sound-spelling patterns and beyond. Students start by learning the letters of the alphabet before moving onto the sounds in the English language and common ways to spell those sounds.
- Fluency: Students work through a variety of practice opportunities, including echo reading, shared reading, and repeated oral reading activities as they learn to read text with expression, accuracy, and appropriate speed, all of which impacts comprehension. Additionally, digital books with read-aloud models are available, featuring expressive, fluent narration. Students can also record themselves reading all of these digital books out loud to hear and review their own fluency.
- Vocabulary: Vocabulary development and expansion is encouraged through multiple exposures in a variety of contexts. Lessons and routines offer preparation for reading texts that use new vocabulary word(s) in authentic, student-friendly environments.
- Comprehension: In Imagine Language & Literacy, explicit comprehension instruction is always provided through online books and texts appropriate to students’ grade and reading level. The program provides explicit instruction on various text genres, their underlying structures, and how to use this knowledge to aid comprehension.
- Oral Language Development: Students receive direct instruction and practice designed to build their semantic knowledge and skill, vocabulary, morphological knowledge, syntactic competence, and ability to apply pragmatics. The program focuses on building both oral and reading vocabulary, with an emphasis on Tier 2 high-utility general academic words and some Tier 3 subject-specific words.
Imagine Language & Literacy also capitalizes on multisensory, multimedia instruction, a game-based motivation system, and principles of Universal Design for Learning to engage learners and make learning fun and personally relevant for all students.
By providing informative feedback and incorporating strategic scaffolding, learning is made more effective for a diverse array of learners, including English language learners, and the experience encourages persistence and a growth mindset.
To learn more about how Imagine Language & Literacy aligns to the Science of Reading framework, visit our Imagine Learning and the Science of Reading webpage or join our webinar on August 25th.