District learning plans need to include evidence-based instructional guidance
New York City, NY (April 12, 2022) – Branching Minds, the digital platform and national leader on Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI), is helping schools districts tackle the national literacy crisis. The company hosted a free webinar for educators and district leaders, discussing the “Science of Reading” and how to apply it to build evidence-based instructional plans that improve student outcomes.
The webinar was led by Dr. Eva Dundas, Chief Learning Officer at Branching Minds, who shared how structured literacy, which embeds neurodevelopmental principles, provides the solid foundation for a successful literacy program.
“Reading does not come naturally to the brain, and learning how to read requires a dramatic brain reorganization,” said Dundas. “Building that bridge between sound - phonemes, and vision - graphemes, is the foundation of reading skills that enables later skills, like reading comprehension. Therefore, when teaching literacy, teachers should focus on helping students pair together sounds and letters. This will help establish the connections between the two sensory regions of the brain associated with reading.”
Dundas continued to share how data from the Branching Minds platform from over 5,000 students shows that structured literacy has a greater impact than balanced literacy, particularly among African-American and Hispanic students.
“Most children will learn how to read with balanced literacy and whole language programs under ideal conditions; not because of the instructional approach but despite it. They are reinforcing the wrong brain networks, which disproportionately affect students with disabilities and those not receiving additional reading time outside of the classroom,” Dundas added.
Gary D. Soto, author, recipient of the National Educator Award for helping to Reshape American Education, former California educator and administrator, and now an advisor to districts across the country, was also a guest speaker. Soto shared, “Balanced literacy has shown little results in California and led to the continued literacy crisis.”
Soto advocated for better instructional guidance for districts, such as around the selection of research-based programs. He cautioned how a lack of instructional guidance in California's new literacy plan would lead to a continuation of poor literacy instructional practice and a deepening of inequities in the system.
“While districts across the country are looking to achieve not just intervention but also learning acceleration for their students, you can not combine brain research pedagogy and whole language and expect learning to accelerate,” Soto added.
Krissy Posey is the Strategic Communications Manager at Branching Minds and handles all media requests. To contact the media desk, please use the "Contact Us" link or email Krissy at firstname.lastname@example.org.