The Literacy Teacher's Life Podcast
Listen now: The Importance of Instruction for Developing Decoding Skills: A Conversation with Julia Lindsey
I’m your host, Elizabeth Morphis and for today’s episode, I have with me our guest Julia Lindsey. Julia B. Lindsey, Ph.D., is a foundational literacy expert, consultant, and proud former elementary school teacher. Her work aims to help educators implement research findings in reading instruction.
She is the author of the newly released book, Reading Above the Fray: Research-based Routines for Developing Decoding Skills. Julia is also the creator of a framework for research-tested, content-rich decodable texts used by districts, curriculum developers, and tens of thousands of teachers across the globe.
Her book comes with the label “The Science of Reading in Practice” which she defined as “all of the science, scientific knowledge and research from many disciplines that explain the phenomenon of reading.” This includes common knowledge and practices, disproven theories, and new, emerging studies. Another definition could be a “movement which is about improving the teaching of reading to match research.” In this episode, we discuss the science of reading, the research around it, and practical information on how to apply these scientific concepts in the classroom and at home.
Julia defined decoding as “using the knowledge of sound-spelling relationships in order to read a word.” When talking about decoding, she shares that we can start having kids practice decoding as early as 8-10 alphabet letters, and that when learning the alphabet, it is better to have student learn around 3 letters a week, learning the whole alphabet before the winter break. This gives students the foundational knowledge they need to learn to start reading, and this way, they get to apply what they know much sooner, have more time to practice decoding, and review the letters in cycles.
We also discussed shared reading, an effective practice for teaching reading. This is where the teacher reads a text with their students. Julia and I discuss several practices that would make shared reading more effective. The first is that the text should be around their reading level. With each session, focus on something to point out to the students, either specific letters, new words, frequently used words, capital letters, or whatever it is your class is learning at the time. More than anything, shared reading is effective because it is a shared experience with your students.
Listen to the full episode to hear more of the studies, practical suggestions, and practices Julia shared to help your student learn to read.