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Madison Metropolitan School District

Early Literacy - Literacy Resources

Early Literacy

What is the Science of Reading (SoR)?

Understanding what the Science of Reading is and what it is not is an important first step. The science of reading is a phrase used to describe a body of knowledge found in; Developmental psychology, Educational psychology, Cognitive science and Cognitive neuroscience on reading.

"It (Science of Reading) is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages."

~ Louisa Moats (LETRS author)

"This research has been conducted for decades in the U.S. and around the world. They research has important implications for helping children to succeed, but has not been incorporated in how teachers are trained for the job or how children are taught."

~ Mark Seidenburg

Dr. Gabi Bell Jiménez Explains The Science of Reading

Dr. Gabi Bell is the Director of Literacy, Biliteracy and Humanities at MMSD. A Costa Rican native, Gabi is passionate about language, literacy and culture. "Literacy has to do with the ability to do my own reading and writing in service of my own understanding. I believe in education from us, by us," Gabi explains. "That is what my parents fought to give me, and that is what I give my children, and that is what I want for every child." Check out this video as Gabi defines The Science of Reading and its implications for instructional practice.

Resources to Learn More about the Science of Reading (SoR)

Equity and Literacy: What the Words Say, APM Report

What is LETRS?


Language Essentials for the Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) is curriculum agnostic professional learning that dives deeply into the what, why, and how around the Science of Reading. LETRS takes that simple view of Reading and deconstructs all topics of importance, unpacking the Simple View of Reading theoretical model in 8 Units of Learning. Units 1-4 focus on Word Recognition, diving deeply into the brain, phonological awareness, phonics, orthography, and morphology . Units 5-8 focus on Language Comprehension including oral language, vocabulary, effective comprehension strategies, and the reading-writing connection. Units 5-8 can only be taken after moving through Units 1 -4.

Who is LETRS for?

LETRS supports all educators who teach reading and writing. LETRS is a focused learning opportunity to strengthen knowledge in reading foundations and how to develop overall literacy skills for all students.

What kind of commitment is this professional learning?

LETRS is not a "quick fix" or one day PD. LETRS requires approximately 2-3 hours of independent learning (text reading and online modules) every single week. Plan on committing about 100 hours in a school year to this learning. LETRS participants must start with Units 1 -4 and this learning is structured to take one year.

What Scientific Research Informs LETRS?

LETRS is grounded in the science of reading.  Teaching reading is rocket science, as stated by author Louisa C. Moats (1999). The concepts and instructional approaches of LETRS are aligned with respected sources such as the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (Moats et al., 2010), the Elements of Effective Instruction (Florida Center for Reading Research, 2006), and Classroom Reading Instruction that Supports Struggling Readers:  Key Components for Effective Teaching (Denton, n.d.). In addition, this course incorporates reading research conducted in neuroscience, cognitive development psychology, and linguistics so that educators have solid evidence on how to teach reading to benefit all students.  Some notable research that informs LETRS is listed here.

Early Literacy and Beyond Task Force