New paper on the challenges in connecting reading science and educational practice

LCNL researchers Mark Seidenberg and Matt Cooper Borkenhagen along with Devin Kearns at UConn have a new paper, titled, “Lost in Translation? Challenges in Connecting Reading Science and Educational Practice”. In the paper they ask how much of what we’ve learned from the “science of reading” is useful to teachers?


Can the science of reading contribute to improving educational practices, allowing more children to become skilled readers? Much has been learned about the behavioral and brain bases of reading, how children learn to read, and factors that contribute to low literacy. The potential to use research findings to improve literacy outcomes is substantial but remains largely unrealized. The lack of improvement in literacy levels, especially among children who face other challenges such as poverty, has led to new pressure to incorporate the “science of reading” in curricula, instructional practices, and teacher education.

In the interest of promoting these efforts, we discuss three issues that could undermine them: the need for additional translational research linking reading science to classroom activities; the oversimplified way the science is sometimes represented in the educational context; the fact that theories of reading have become more complex and less intuitive as the field has progressed. Addressing these concerns may allow reading science to be used more effectively and achieve greater acceptance among educators.

Related Resources

In addition to the paper, Mark and Molly Farry-Thorn will be breaking down the major topics covered in the paper (as well as some that didn’t make it into the paper) in a series of blog posts on Mark’s website.

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