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Welcome to The Science of Reading Collective—a free, online community designed to help educators explore and gain confidence in implementing the science of reading alongside experts and peers.

As a member, feel free to browse the resources below. I will be adding additional resources on an ongoing basis. You’ll also be hearing from me via email from time to time, depending on the preferences you selected when you joined. Please visit often, and bookmark this page so you can return to it regularly. We’re glad you’re here.

—Jillian Kaster, your Community Manager

Exclusive Benefit for The Science of Reading Collective Members

Science of Reading Collective Zoom Chat #1

Brought to you by Reading Horizons

Feb 16, 2023 at 5:00 PM Mountain Time

This is an exclusive benefit for The Science of Reading Collective members with Stacy Hurst, Donell Pons, and Lindsay Kemeny. Our podcast hosts will discuss a variety of science of reading related topics for the first 10–15 minutes, then open it up for live Q&A for the remainder of the 45-minute event. 

Exclusive Benefit for The Science of Reading Collective Members

Community Zoom Chat

February 16, 2023


This is an exclusive benefit for The Science of Reading Collective members with Stacy Hurst, Donell Pons, and Lindsay Kemeny. Our podcast hosts will discuss a variety of science of reading related topics for the first 10–15 minutes, then open it up for live Q&A for the remainder of the 45-minute event. 

Sponsored by Reading Horizons

Request a presentation.

When you’re ready to explore the program further, complete the form, and the appropriate member of our team will reach out within one business day. Don't worry—we intend to serve, not to sell.

We consider it a privilege to walk alongside you as you transform lives with the power of reading!

Sound Walls

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Children are wired for sound, but print is an optional accessory that must be painstakingly bolted on.


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Season 1
Episode 10


Children hear and speak before they learn to read. Sound walls can accelerate students’ articulatory learning and their production of speech, on the road to becoming proficient readers and spellers. In this episode of Literacy Talks, our trio of literacy experts share their experiences and recommendations for integrating sound walls into regular literacy instruction.

Reading Horizons Vowel Valley


In this edWebinar, literacy experts Stacy Hurst and Lindsay Kemeny introduce viewers to sound walls and how they help students make that vital connection between letters and the sounds those letters represent. This session also dives into interactive technology-enhanced sound walls, an innovation that enables students to practice sound articulation. Sound interesting? It’s the newest horizon in high-impact literacy learning.

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Download the Reading Horizons Discovery Sound City Vowel Valley and Consonant Corner portable Sound Walls. 

Tip: After you print a portable Sound Wall for each of your students, laminate and cover untaught graphemes with a permanent marker. When students study the phoneme and corresponding grapheme in instruction, they can use a dry-erase marker to "reveal" the letter(s) they are learning that corresponds to the phoneme.

Reading Horizons Consonant Corner Poster


What’s the difference between a sound wall and a word wall? What about digital sound walls? What should sound wall instruction look like? Stacy Hurst explains it all in our freshly published blog post.

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In this edWebinar, literacy experts Stacy Hurst, Lindsay Kemeny, and Donell Pons dig into the how, why, and when of using sound walls and the role they play in helping all learners, with a special focus on English language learners (ELLs), make that vital connection between letters and the sounds those letters represent.


Decodable Text

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Adults' distaste for decodable books fails to respect the child’s need to exercise a skill. Children want to be self-reliant readers and are delighted when they can apply what they know.

— Louisa Moats

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Season 1
Episode 2


In this episode of Literacy Talks, hear three experts explore the learning connection between phonics instruction and decodable text and how this can work to motivate striving readers of all ages.



  • R-Blends
  • Lexile: 90L
  • Word Count: 49


  • R-Blends
  • Lexile: 400L
  • Word Count: 162
decodable book "Spud"


  • S-Blends
  • Lexile: 90L
  • Word Count: 25
Decodable Book "Ants"


  • S-Blends
  • Lexile: 480L
  • Word Count: 91


  • Voiced and Voiceless TH 
  • Lexile: 460L
  • Word Count: 159
Decodable book "In the Nest"


  • Voiced and Voiceless TH 
  • Lexile: 220L
  • Word Count: 43
Reader's Theater Script "Class Pets"


Readers Theater Script, "Class Pets"

  • Focus Skill: Double S, F, and Z and Plurals
  • Lexile: 450L
  • Student Part: Miss Moss
  • Teacher Part (or advanced reader part): Tess
Reader's Theater Script "Class Pets"


Readers Theater Script, "The Pirate Ghost"

  • Focus Skill: Sounds of GH, IGH, IGHT
  • Lexile: 450L
  • Student parts: Narrator, Rod, Steve
Diagraphs CH, SH, WH, PH, CK thumbnail


Cloze Passage Digraphs CH, SH, WH, PH, CK

Adapted from Reading Horizon's Discovery — "Brock's Duck"

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Cloze Reading Passage,  "Many Jobs of Y"

Adapted from Reading Horizon's Discovery — "The Red-Eyed Tree Frog"

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Cloze Reading Passage,  "Another Sound for C and G"

Adapted from Reading Horizon's Discovery — "Prince Gene"


Literacy Lexicon

The following is a glossary of literacy terms and phrases for educators who embrace the science of reading. Use this index as a tool in the quest to eradicate illiteracy.



Alphabetic Principle: the insight that the oral sounds in spoken words are represented by letters in print. It forms the basis of both phonemic decoding and orthographic mapping. (Kilpatrick, 2015)

Anticipatory Set: Prompting students to consider what they know about the topic they are about to read, which yields higher comprehension.

Authentic literature: Texts such as trade books created for the general public. They are not created to facilitate or support reading instruction specifically but rather for reader enjoyment.


Balanced Literacy: A reading instruction approach that incorporates reading, writing, and comprehension utilizing whole language and phonics. This method is not based on the science of reading. Although it does include phonics or word study, the balanced literacy approach often lacks explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction and discourages strategies that embed real reading success.


Choral reading: A reading activity where multiple students read the same text in unison. It can be used to help build fluency, self-confidence, and motivation with beginning or striving students.

Connecting phonics and spelling: Teaching spelling in connection to phonics, enabling students to apply the skills to multiple words that follow the same pattern in spelling and reading.


Decodable text: Text in which a large proportion of the words (approximately 70–80 percent) comprise sound-symbol relationships that have already been taught. Decodable text is used to practice specific decoding skills and form a bridge between learning phonics and applying phonics in independent text. Louis Moats, —Speech to Print

Diagnostic Assessment: This assessment is used to identify a student’s specific skill deficits or behavioral challenges. Data from this assessment is used to make targeted and data-informed intervention plans.

Dictation: Multisensory, guided practice where students practice letter/sound relationships of the skills they are learning. For this activity, the teachers dictate a skill word or sentence to students as they listen and then repeat before writing and reading the word or sentence.

The Discrepancy Model: An outdated model used by some schools to determine if a student will or will not qualify for special education services.

Dyslexia: a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

—Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. Many state education codes, including New Jersey, Ohio, and Utah, have adopted this definition.

Dysgraphia: a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Because writing requires a complex set of motor and information-processing skills, saying a student has dysgraphia is insufficient. A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment and additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)


Echo reading: A reading strategy used to support beginning or striving students, where a teacher or a peer partner reads a line from a passage followed by the other partner(s) repeating the same line. This method supports fluency, oral reading, vocabulary development, and comprehension.

Embedded mnemonics: Using pictures that simultaneously remind children of the letter formation and the sound each letter represents improves learning.

Etymology: the study of the origin of words and how their meanings have changed throughout history.


Five Components of Reading: As identified by the National Reading Panel, the five critical components of reading instruction are: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.


Grapheme: A grapheme is a letter or a combination of letters that represent a sound (phoneme).



I do. We do. You do.: a catchy phrase coined by Anita Archer to remember the explicit gradual release of the responsibility model that is foundational to effective instruction.




LEA: This stands for Local Education Agency and is a public board of education or other public authority to lead public school districts in planning and decision-making.

Leveled text: Texts with characteristics of high-frequency texts and predictable texts. They are assigned a rank (level) on a difficulty scale, such as A–Z, according to four characteristics: 1. book and print features; 2. content, themes, and ideas; 3. text structure; and 4. language and literacy elements. LETRS, pg. 217.


Morphology: the study of meaningful units of language and how they are combined in word formation. (Moats, 2000)

MTSS: Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework that helps educators provide academic and behavioral strategies for students with various needs. Key components of MTSS include the following:

  • Universal screening of all students early in the school year
  • Tiers of interventions that can be amplified in response to levels of need
  • Ongoing data collection and continual assessment
  • Schoolwide approach to expectations and supports
  • Parent involvement

Multi-modal Learning: Multiple methods and modalities of learning are used to engage the language centers’ input and output, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and kinesthetic.



Orthographic Mapping: The cognitive process by which readers associate speech sounds with written letters (phoneme-grapheme associations) in written words to store them for immediate retrieval “on sight.”

Orthography: The system of marks that make up printed language.

Outcome Assessment: This assessment is used to determine whether a student met the learning or intervention objective as a result of instruction.


Partner reading: A reading activity where two students take turns reading the same text while the other listens and provides feedback. Using this strategy helps build fluency, cooperative learning, and metacognition.

Phoneme: A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language.

Phonemic Awareness: The ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.

Phonemic Proficiency: Phonemic proficiency involves instant, automatic access to the phonemic properties of spoken words.

Phonics: Reading instruction that teaches the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. The National Reading Panel explains that phonics instruction should be explicit and systematically planned, and sequenced from the most simple components to the most complex.

Phonological Awareness: Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language, parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.

Progress Monitoring: Progress monitoring is used to assess student progress or performance in those areas in which they were identified by universal screening as at-risk for failure (e.g., reading, mathematics, social behavior). See for more information.



Retrieval Practice: A learning opportunity that increases student performance by having them recall information from long-term memory rather than cramming.

RTI: Response to intervention is a multi-tiered approach to early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. It’s generally thought of in the tiers of support listed below.

Tier 1: High-quality classroom instruction, screening, and group intervention

Tier 2: Targeted interventions

Tier 3: Intensive intervention and comprehensive evaluation

For more information, see


Science of Reading: Dr. Louisa Moats explains, “The body of work referred to as the ‘science of reading’ is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It 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. These studies have revealed a great deal about how we learn to read, what goes wrong when students don’t learn, and what kind of instruction is most likely to work the best for the most students.”

Self-Teaching Hypothesis: The idea that once learners have established their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences and the essential process of segmenting and blending, they begin to apply this knowledge to new and novel words. Proficient decoders can do this because the reader can pay attention to the order and identity of letters and how they map onto the phonological representations or spoken form of the word.

Semantics: The aspect of language concerned with the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text.

Sight Word: Any word stored in long-term memory and instantly recognized so that its pronunciation and meaning are triggered, regardless of word’s frequency or degree of phonetic regularity.

Sound Wall: Sound walls are a visual display of sound articulation of phonemes and the various letters or letter combinations used to represent those sounds.

Spaced practice: Studying and practicing a new skill over multiple sessions.

Structured Literacy: Structured literacy teaching is the most effective approach for students who experience unusual difficulty learning to read and spell printed words. The term refers to both the content and methods or principles of instruction. It means the same kind of instruction as multisensory structured language education and structured language and literacy.

Structured literacy teaching stands in contrast with popular approaches in many schools but do not teach oral and written language skills in an explicit, systematic manner. Evidence is strong that most students learn to read better with structured teaching of basic language skills and that the components and methods of Structured literacy are critical for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. (Structured Literacy: Effective Instruction for Students with Dyslexia and Related Reading Difficulties, IDA website, 3/29/22)

Syntax: The set of principles that dictate the sequence and function of words in a sentence to convey meaning. This includes grammar, sentence variation, and the mechanics of language. (Reading Rockets)


Temporary spelling/Inventive spelling: Students’ spelling attempts using their best judgments before mastering the correct spelling.

Three Cueing System: An instructional and assessment method based on the theory that students use meaning, structure, and visual information sources for cueing their reading of words. This debunked theory implies that readers guess words more than applying orthographic-phonemic cues to read. The Three Cueing System impedes real reading as students are instructed to guess at words instead of being taught to orthographically map words as needed to enter the brain’s long-term memory.


Universal Screening: Universal screening is the process of providing a brief assessment to all students to identify those who may experience lower-than-expected academic outcomes. It is the first step in the RTI process. See



Word Wall: Word walls are most commonly referred to as a visual display of high-frequency words, organized alphabetically by the first letter.

Withitness: A skill teachers have that allows them to use their deep knowledge of their students and the content they are teaching to manage the classroom and create successful academic and behavioral outcomes. It is “the art of running a classroom while having eyes in the back of your head”(





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When reading instruction is based on the flawed assumption that reading will come pretty easily to most kids as long as they're in the right environment, reading instruction is tilted in favor of the few... The few who don't need much instruction. The few from families who can pay to get their kids what they need.

— Emily Hanford

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Essentials of Preventing Overcoming Reading Difficulties
Essentials of Preventing Overcoming Reading Difficulties
Essentials of Preventing Overcoming Reading Difficulties
The Elements of Teaching book cover
How We Learn book cover
Teaching Reading Sourcebook01

High-Frequency Words

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If a child memorizes 10 words, the child can only read 10 words. But if a child learns 10 sounds (and the letters that spell those sounds), the child will be able to read 350 three-sound words, 4,320 four-sound words and 21,650 five-sound words.

— Kozloff

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Season 1
Episode 1


This podcast episode of Literacy Talks tackles the need to rethink and redesign the way we approach high-frequency words in literacy instruction. Advice centers around using phonics-based strategies to help learners connect the sounds and meanings of high-frequency words so they become part of students’ working memory.

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This blog gives step-by-step instructions to teach high-frequency words and the why behind it.

How to Teach Most Common Words


How to Teach Most Common Words

This three-minute video explains why facilitating orthographic mapping is essential to learning high-frequency words and models how to align your instruction to the SoR.

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This downloadable bookmark gives step-by-step instructions aligned with the science of reading on teaching any high-frequency word.


Reading Horizons

Revolutionizing K–3 Literacy

Collaborating with Educators to Overcome Classroom Challenges and Help All Students Achieve Reading ProficiencyThe story of how teachers and education leaders helped shape the next generation of foundational literacy instruction. Beginning with a Vision Two years ago,...

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Literacy Talks

Season 1

MTSS in the Spotlight

MTSS is more than a hot topic or a trend in literacy teaching and learning. In this Literacy Talks podcast episode, our three experts share their insights into making a Multi-Tiered System of...

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Decodable Text: Training Wheels for Reading

Decodable text can be a critical component of what you do as a reading teacher. In this episode of Literacy Talks, hear three experts explore the learning connection between phonics instruction and...

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Season 2

Dyslexia: What Every Teacher Needs to Know

Too often, parents, classroom teachers, administrators, and even pediatricians have difficulty identifying the signs of dyslexia. Students are sometimes adept at hiding their reading struggles…and...

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Teaching: Where Science and Art Connect

Teaching is an art, and yes, it’s a science as well. In this episode of Literacy Talks, our three literacy experts talk about both the art and science of teaching. They unpack the need for educators...

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Season 3

Plain Talk 2023: Growing Literacy Momentum

Whether you attended the March 2023 Plain Talk Conference in New Orleans or wish you did, this Literacy Talks episode will give you a front-row seat for an insightful wrap-up on all the news and...

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Space and Grace: The Drive for Improvement

As schools and districts transform literacy instruction, invest in new professional learning for teachers, and train literacy coaches to implement instruction anchored in the science of reading, a...

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Reading: The Numbers Help Tell the Story

Reading and literacy statistics offer valuable insights. In this episode of Literacy Talks, our trio of reading experts takes a helpful look at the numbers of reading. The “one in five” stat...

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More Than a Few Words About Vocabulary

Once students can master decoding, their vocabularies can blossom. In this episode of Literacy Talks, our trio of literacy experts tackles the challenges and joys of helping students build their...

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Encouraging a Love of Reading

How can we, as educators, caregivers, and family members, encourage a love of reading in students? This episode of Literacy Talks explores the challenges and joys of teaching students to read, our...

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IDA 2022 Conference Recap

In November 2022, our Literacy Talks hosts attended the International Dyslexia Association’s 73rd annual conference. In this episode, you’ll have the opportunity to travel with them virtually as...

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Being Intentional about the “Why!”

The reading pendulum is swinging, and in this episode of Literacy Talks, our reading experts talk candidly about how to frame and navigate the changing priorities and emphases. This conversation...

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Brave Voices for Literacy

Our Literacy Talks trio of hosts took time to reflect on the things they’re grateful for and what they’re looking forward to in the months ahead. From the strides their own children are making in...

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Season 1

Innovations in Education: Project-Based Learning

July 25, 2018   |   Duration: 00:38:59   |   With Laura Axtell Featuring John Larmer, Nick Provenzano SEASON 1, EPISODE 6   In this episode, Laura speaks to experts, a parent, and a current student...

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Season 2

Season 3

Creating Culturally Competent Classrooms

October 15, 2019   |   Duration: 00:43:22   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Rann Miller     SEASON 3, EPISODE 6   Rann Miller, educator, writer, and trainer, shares his insights and suggestions...

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Increasing Family Engagement in Schools

October 01, 2019   |   Duration: 00:39:40   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Sarah Sayko, Dr. Hollins-Sims, Dr. Zesiger   SEASON 3, EPISODE 5 Increasing engagement with the families of our...

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Decodable Text, Leveled Text, and All the Rest

August 06, 2019   |   Duration: 00:24:51   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Amy Murdoch     SEASON 3, EPISODE 1   Dr. Amy Murdoch discusses the importance of text in reading instruction for...

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Season 4

Closing the Achievement Gap, Part II

March 17, 2020   |   Duration: 00:36:10   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Tyrone Howard, Dr. Julie Washington, Dr. Patrick Tudryn, Keith Dysarz season 4, EPISODE 6 Our four guests continue...

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Closing the Achievement Gap, Part I

March 17, 2020   |   Duration: 00:26:03   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Tyrone Howard, Dr. Julie Washington, Dr. Patrick Tudryn, Keith Dysarz SEASON 4, EPISODE 5 Four guests share...

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The Importance of Social Emotional Learning

March 18, 2021   |   Duration: 00:25:37   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Ivy Bonk   SEASON 4, EPISODE 3 Dr. Ivy Bonk joins Laura Axtell on Podclassed as they discuss the impact of childhood...

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Game-Changing Resources for Special Education

January 21, 2020   |   Duration: 00:36:20   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Wendy Thompson SEASON 4, EPISODE 1 An experienced educator discusses the value of communication with students in...

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Season 5

Season 6

Is Anxiety the New Learning Disability?

February 02, 2021   |   Duration: 00:35:33   |   With Reading Horizons Featuring Dr. Lori Desautels   season 6, EPISODE 1 To kick off Season 6 of Podclassed, Dr. Lori Desautels explores the impact...

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