Science of Reading

July 23, 2020

Books with engaging science, technology, engineering, and math themes from our STEM book give, brought to you by our partner Northrop Grumman, have reached United Through Reading story stations around the world. As military children look forward to their service members selecting one of these books to read aloud, it can be helpful for everyone to understand the science of reading, too.

At the most fundamental level, reading is based on phonological awareness. This is best described as an awareness that words are composed of units of sound, which are called phonemes. For children just learning to speak, hearing those sounds in simple stories gives them a model to imitate. The book Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle offers the /f/ sound in the word fish on almost every page, providing many opportunities for a child to practice that sound.

For older children, understanding that letter correlations go with specific sound units, or phonemes, connects them with the science of reading. Give beginning readers a specific sound, for instance /s/, and challenge them to find it in multiple locations on a given page! National Geographic Readers: Weird Sea Creatures by Laura F. Marsh, offers the chance to find /s/ in 12 locations on the first page alone!

Advanced readers might apply their scientific reading and phonological knowledge by breaking individual words apart into syllables. The book, Smart Kids: Dinosaurs by Roger Priddy, offers challenging names for adventurous readers, with a handful of syllables on almost every exciting page!

See if you can incorporate these techniques while making your next recording, and encouraging your young reader to work on the sounds they find in each book that they read.