How to Align Your Instruction to the Science of Reading eBook

Science of Reading Instruction Strategies for Elementary Educators


Science of Reading Instruction for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade

Science of Reading research shows that if reading lessons are delivered in an explicit, systematic, integrated, and engaging manner, then the likelihood that students will learn to read proficiently is greatly increased. But how can you tell if instruction meets these four key criteria and, therefore, is teaching reading in a way that most benefits your students?

In the How to Align Your Instruction to the Science of Reading eBook, Savvas author and literacy expert Dr. Lee Wright breaks down these four components of Science of Reading-aligned instruction by providing teachers insights into why they help students learn to read, what these ways of instruction look like in the classroom, and how to start practicing them right away with practical tips.

Fill out the form on this page to get your free copy of this eBook, or keep reading for a summary of what's inside.

What Is Explicit Instruction?

Science of Reading research has established that when foundational skills are delivered in an explicit manner, the result is greater reading proficiency. Since reading proficiency is the ultimate goal of reading instruction, it’s important for teachers to check to make sure they’re teaching those foundational skills in an explicit manner.

Explicit instruction is clear, direct instruction. The components of explicit instruction include the following:

  • Articulating the skill
  • Telling students why they’re learning the skill
  • Applying the skill
  • Scaffolding lessons in the gradual release model
  • Providing feedback
  • Checking for understanding

If teachers are using all of these elements together, then they will know their instruction is explicit and therefore aligned to what the Science of Reading says is needed to provide effective reading instruction. 


What Is Systematic Instruction?

Systematic instruction is sequenced: lessons are carefully planned out and delivered in an order — or sequence — that builds upon the students’ prior knowledge and moves from simple to more complex skills or concepts.

Once lessons are sequenced in a way that builds upon the skills students already know and then what they need to know next, the lessons themselves should be delivered using step-by-step explanations and demonstrations.

When teachers use systematic instruction, they’re using a method of teaching that has been proven effective to help young readers possess the appropriate knowledge they need to navigate more advanced reading concepts, giving them the tools and skills to be successful.


What Is Integrated Instruction?

Integrated instruction involves teaching a skill, and then giving students multiple subsequent opportunities to apply and practice that skill, especially in other content areas such as writing, science, or math.

Research has shown that providing many opportunities for students to apply and practice previously taught reading skills within these other content areas not only helps with reading proficiency, but also helps students better comprehend the content in those areas of instruction.

Combining literacy instruction with other content areas is a great way for teachers to help students build academic vocabulary and background knowledge that, together, are essential to reading comprehension. 


What Is Engaging Instruction?

Engaging instruction captures students’ interests and inspires a love of learning. Science of Reading research identifies student engagement as one of the critical components to effective reading instruction right along with explicit, systematic, and integrated instruction.

When students are engaged and actively participating in classroom lessons, it helps make what they’re learning more memorable. That’s why it’s important that you make your lessons multisensory, that you allow room for students to express their thinking, and that reading lessons are designed to help students think deeper and more critically.

If your reading instruction is explicit, systematic, integrated, and includes high degrees of student engagement, you are embracing what the Science of Reading says is best for our classrooms — and for our students.


Want to learn more about how to align your instruction to the Science of Reading?

Be sure to complete the form at the top of this page to get your free copy of the How to Align Your Instruction to the Science of Reading eBook!

You can find even more information and activities, such as 50 Fun Phonics Activities and the Science of Reading Simplified eBook, on the Science of Reading page on

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Resources for Reading Teachers

Science of Reading Simplified

Acclaimed author and researcher Dr. Sharon Vaughn puts the Science of Reading in simple, straightforward terms in this blog series.

Digital Resource Library

Get access to thousands of high-quality instructional resources designed especially for K-5 teachers. Sign up for your free trial today!

50 Fun Phonics Activities

Forget boring phonics practice! These 50 activities will get students excited and engaged as they practice essential phonics skills.