Building a strong foundation for early readers

Student looking at a paper with drawings with lines underneath for writing

Kevin is a thoughtful, curious, funny, and smart second-grade student. He can engage in sophisticated conversations and comprehend texts — but only when they are read aloud. Kevin struggles to sound out and write words, causing him to feel unsuccessful not just in reading, but in all of his subjects. Over the course of the school year, Kevin begins to internalize his struggles as a reflection of his capacity and intelligence.

Cognitive science tells us that every child is capable of infinite knowledge and learning — but not all students receive the necessary rigorous, grade-level instruction that enables them to learn successfully. Millions of students share Kevin’s experiences, and national assessment results for reading proficiency reveal disparities across lines of race and class.

Ensuring that future teachers of young learners are prepared to implement strong, evidence-based reading instruction will support more equitable classroom experiences that set their students up to be confident and successful readers in the long-term. The Early Literacy by Scientific Design Network (ELbSD) prepares future teachers to plan and enact foundational skills and lessons grounded in our best scientific understanding of how students learn to read.

Funded by the TLL Temple Foundation, the network is comprised of educator-preparation programs serving communities in and surrounding East Texas:

Network Goals

Over the 2022-23 academic year, programs in the network will:

  • Pilot a sequence of seven asynchronous practice-based modules with their teacher-candidates that culminates in candidates internalizing and rehearsing foundational-skills lessons drawn from high-quality instructional materials
  • Engage in monthly data-driven improvement cycles to analyze candidate data and work samples to determine what candidates have learned and where they need more support
  • Track candidate learning through pre/post administration of the ELbSD assessment, a vignette-based assessment of candidate instructional decision-making related to the science of teaching reading
  • Participate in a community of practice to tackle challenges together and see what they can learn across contexts

Interested in learning more?

Related Publication

The Science of Early Learning publication cover

The Science of Early Learning

This DFI publication explores questions like: How do young children learn to understand what they read, and express their ideas in writing? How do they learn to develop their sense of self?

Download this resource

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