Tough Questions and Important Answers About the Science of Reading with Melissa Loftus and Lori Sappington | EP 21

June 26, 2024

How do we navigate the challenges of turning the science of reading into the reality of daily instruction? Educators nationwide are committed to research-backed literacy instruction, but sometimes, the process can lead to more questions or misconceptions. I connected with Melissa Loftus and Lori Sappington to discuss their book, The Literacy 50–A Q&A Handbook for Teachers: Real-World Answers to Questions About Reading That Keep You Up at Night. Join us as we tackle some of these and some of my own questions.

Melissa & Lori Love Literacy is a podcast for educators interested in the science of reading for students of all ages. Hear the latest research on teaching reading and writing and learn how to apply it in your classroom practically. Melissa is a National Board-Certified teacher who taught middle and high school English Language Arts for nearly fifteen years in New Orleans and Baltimore. Lori is an energetic former elementary and high school teacher who taught for over a decade in Baltimore.

Key Takeaways

  •  Grade-appropriate materials expose students to rich vocabulary and content that is crucial for building knowledge and improving comprehension.
  • They stress teaching vocabulary in context, using grade-level texts, and helping students develop word-learning strategies and word consciousness.
  • The authors highlight how background knowledge significantly impacts reading comprehension, using examples like the baseball study to illustrate this point.
  • Decodable texts for practicing specific phoneme-grapheme correspondences are important, but a balanced approach that includes authentic texts and read-aloud opportunities is essential.
  • Teacher enthusiasm is critical to connecting content to students’ lives and fostering curiosity to make developing literacy skills an engaging and meaningful process.
  • Complex reading science concepts are more accessible to teachers and families through bite-sized, practical information in their book and podcast.