Elementary Kids sitting on a ledge in a garden setting reading books. Lots of color, boys and girls.

The Science of Reading: Nurturing Proficient Readers Ages 6-12

Reading is an essential skill. Nurturing children and equipping them with the tools they need to become proficient readers is a critical part of their education during ages 6-12.. The Science of Reading is a research-based approach to reading instruction that has garnered attention for its effectiveness in teaching the foundational skills necessary for reading proficiency. This curriculum places a strong emphasis on explicit, systematic phonics instruction, phonemic awareness, fluency, and vocabulary development.  

At Montessori House for Children and Elementary School, we are committed to teaching our students the skills they need to become proficient, independent readers. We utilize Acadience Reading as the screening tool for newly enrolled students, students in their final year of early childhood education, and first-year elementary students. This system helps us assess the effectiveness of our instructional methods. It does this by measuring reading proficiency and helps to identify children who may have reading difficulties. This approach allows us to tailor our instruction to ensure our students’ reading skills progress.  

How does The Science of Reading work? 

The Journey Begins 

The Science of Reading focuses on building a strong foundation in phonics and phonemic awareness, beginning in kindergarten and first grade. During these critical early years, students learn letter-sound relationships, blend sounds to read words and engage in activities like identifying sounds, exploring rhymes, and segmenting words. They receive explicit, sequential phonics instruction, practice decoding words with repetition for skill mastery, and are introduced to vocabulary and comprehension strategies.  The primary emphasis is on mastering phonics and word-reading skills. 

Building Fluency 

In the transition to first and second grade, the significance of fluency practice becomes increasingly evident. This phase focuses on repetitive readings of texts to improve accuracy, speed, and expression in reading. Students are encouraged to keep track of the number of words they read correctly per minute.  This method not only tracks their fluency progress but also serves as a motivating tool for their ongoing improvement. 

Moving Forward 

As students progress beyond second grade, decoding instruction remains a part of the curriculum. It also dedicates more time to enhancing vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. This includes expanding their knowledge of word structures, such as prefixes, suffixes, and word origins. Additionally, students learn and apply strategies to deepen their understanding of text content. They achieve this through a balanced mix of both fiction and nonfiction materials, fostering a well-rounded approach to reading comprehension. 

 Personalized Learning 

 In all elementary grades, a pivotal component is the use of small groups and differentiated instruction tailored to each student’s skill level. This personalized approach empowers teachers to address particular skill gaps and offer extra practice to those who need it. It’s a flexible and inclusive method that guarantees every child receives the necessary support to excel in their reading skills. 

Supporting Diverse Learning Needs 

The Science of Reading approach offers a range of benefits for children with varying learning needs: 

Helping Struggling Readers:
Systematic and explicit phonics instruction aids students with difficulties in letter-sound relationships, facilitating mastery of foundational concepts. 

Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities:
Emphasis on phonemic awareness is particularly valuable for students with dyslexia and related reading challenges. Multisensory activities are effective in developing phonemic awareness. 

Aiding Students with Focus Issues:
Structured lessons, clear instructions, and repetition enhance information retention, making it accessible for students with ADHD or focus issues.

Boosting Reading Confidence:
Fluency practice not only improves reading speed and accuracy but also builds confidence in young readers. 

Challenging Gifted Students:
The curriculum’s flexibility allows for the adaptation of lessons to meet the needs of gifted students, whether through curriculum compacting or enrichment.

Supporting English Language Learners:
The focus on vocabulary instruction and phonics provides essential tools for decoding unfamiliar language systems, benefiting English Language Learners.  

The Science of Reading’s well-sequenced, systematic approach targets foundational reading skills while offering flexibility to support diverse learning needs. This curriculum provides all students with an equitable opportunity to become proficient readers, nurturing a love for reading and opening doors to a world of knowledge and imagination. 

Want to learn more about nurturing proficient readers ages 6-12? Read our recent blog,  
The Science of Reading at Montessori House for Children & Elementary School 


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