The Science of Reading Isn’t Enough

The Science of Reading Isn’t Enough

school-aged girl reading and writing in notebook after tutoring at Fit Learning St. Louis

You’ve likely heard of the Science of Reading. Perhaps you saw our blog post discussing it. For those of us in the education realm, it seems like it’s in the news nearly every day, with many states, regions, and school districts adopting a Science of Reading approach. There’s even a trending podcast series about it. And for good reason … it works!

The NWEA defines the Science of Reading (SOR) as the “converging evidence of what matters and what works in literacy instruction, organized around models that describe how and why.” Quite simply, it means teaching students how to read based on what multidisciplinary science and research have proven to be most effective. Some research-backed methods for teaching reading include:

  • Teach phonics, phonological awareness, and phonemic awareness
  • Work toward fluency
  • Use explicit and systematic instruction

SOR is the basis of the Fit Reading program, and it’s used every day in Fit Learning labs around the world to transform student learning. There’s more to it than that, though …

The Science of Learning

Defining the Science of Learning

SOR derives from the overarching Science of Learning (SOL). As you might expect, at the core of SOL is using scientific evidence to understand how we learn and how to most effectively teach for optimal learning. The Brookings Institution explains that learning science “draws from multiple disciplines to study the ways in which people acquire knowledge, skills, and competencies and to answer the questions of why some strategies for learning work better or worse than others.”

At Fit Learning we use SOL to produce learning gains in three months that average 1-2 school years of growth. This applies to reading, of course, but also math, logic, expressive writing, spelling, penmanship, and kindergarten readiness.

How the Science of Learning is Applied

So, what does this look like in practice? At Fit, we use the following SOL-based methods in every 1:1 learning session.

  • Set measurable goalsboy engrossed in reading while light bulb "ideas" appear over his head, representing the effectiveness of Fit Learning's science-based method
  • Incorporate repeated, reinforced practice (an excellent explanation of deliberate practice can be found in Peak: Secrets of the New Science of Expertise by Ericsson and Pool)
  • Use individualized reinforcement
  • Deliver immediate feedback
  • Provide learners with lots of opportunities to respond
  • Use direct instruction
  • Measure the rate of response as well as accuracy

Who Can Benefit From the Science of Learning

In her book Blind Spots: Why Students Fail … and the Science That Can Save Them, Fit Learning co-founder Kimberly Berens underscores the importance of using science to shape our approach to teaching. She writes, “We can no longer afford to base education on ideology and belief. Just as the many problems we face as a nation and a species require solutions offered by science, so does our educational crisis … With [behavioral] science comes love, hope, power, and limitless possibilities for every student.”

And we really mean every student, because Fit’s science-based approach works for all kinds of learners, including:

  • Students with ADHD/ADD
  • Children and teens diagnosed with learning disabilities, slow processing speed, dyslexia, or autism
  • Learners who are average or simply struggling in school
  • Gifted students who would benefit from additional challenges

girl looks closely at math formulas on chalkboard after tutoring from Fit Learning St. Louis

(Plus, Fit’s learning coaches are experts at keeping sessions fun, fast-paced, and interactive, so learners never get bored. After all, research shows that when learning is fun, it’s more effective.)

These days, it seems like everyone is turning to the Science of Reading but learning science has always been at the heart of what we do at Fit. We use the Science of Learning’s proven evidence-based practices to achieve amazing student outcomes — not just in reading, but across the board.

Next Steps for Science-Based Reading Tutoring at Fit Learning

Contact Janice Smith, the lab director at Fit Learning St. Louis, to:

  • Learn more about how Fit Learning St. Louis uses SOL and SOR to produce unparalleled educational outcomes.
  • Make an appointment for an intake assessment.