{Originally published July 2021, updated October 2023}

For more than two years now I’ve been conducting a self-directed research project on the Science of Reading, and I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned in #ScienceOfReadingSaturday posts on Instagram. Many people have asked for book/podcast suggestions, so if you’re interested in learning more, below you can find a list of books/podcasts which I have read/listened to and can personally recommend. In the fall issue of Today’s Parent magazine I shared my personal/professional journey and how my research has impacted my classroom practice. I also did a segment called 6 Myths About Learning To Read on The Morning Show.

In the summer of 2022 I presented a webinar through IDA Ontario called Structured Literacy: 5 Key Shifts That Made All My Students Readers.


For parents:

Reading for Our Lives: A Literacy Action Plan from Birth to Six by Maya Smart

For general classroom teachers, reading instructors/consultants, etc.

(I filled these ones with sticky notes. If you are a parent who does not work in education but wants to know more, I would suggest the first two.)

Reading For Life: High Quality Literacy Instruction For All by Lyn Stone

Know Better, Do Better: Teaching the Foundations So Every Child Can Read by David Liben and Meredith Liben

The Art & Science of Teaching Primary Reading by Christopher Such (I chose this one for our school board book study)

Brain Words by Richard Gentry & Gene Oullette

A Fresh Look At Phonics by Wally Blevins

Speech To Print by Louisa Moats

The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler – not just about reading, but very important

Thinking Reading: What every secondary teacher needs to know about reading by James and Dianne Murphy (note: not just for high school teachers – I would recommend for Gr. 4+)

Bringing Words to Life, Second Edition: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel L. Beck, Linda Kucan & Margaret G. McKeown

Literacy Learning for Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers: Key Practices for Educators by Tanya S. Wright, Sonia Q. Cabell, Nell K. Duke & Mariana Souto-Manning

7 Mighty Moves by Lindsay Kemeny

Teacher’s Guide to Effective Sentence Writing by Bruce Saddler

For special education teachers/consultants, others who work with struggling readers (Note that what’s necessary for dyslexic students/struggling readers can also be beneficial for whole classroom instruction and statistically most general classrooms will include some of these kids; I just recommend classroom teachers start with the top section of books before moving to these ones.)

Structured Literacy Interventions: Teaching Students with Reading Difficulties, Grades K-6 edited by Louise Spear-Swerling

Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz and Jonathan Shaywitz

Essentials of Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by David Kilpatrick

For anyone who wants to dig deeper into brain research/neuroscience, etc.

(I have lots of sticky notes in these ones too but they’re heavier and not as practical)

Language at the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf

Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read by Stanislas Dehaene

The Reading Mind by Daniel Willingham

Reader, Come Home by Maryanne Wolf

Other Excellent Books for Educators

Beneath the Surface of Words by Sue Scibetta Hegland

The Writing Revolution by Judith C. Hochman & Natalie Wexler

Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching by Anita Archer & Charles A. Hughes

Core Teaching Reading Sourcebook 3rd Edition

Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide

Universal Design for Learning in Action: 100 Ways to Teach All Learners by Whitney H. Rapp

Literacy Foundations for English Learners: A Comprehensive Guide to Evidence-Based Instruction by Elsa Cardenas-Hagan

Student-Focused Coaching by Jan Hasbrouck & Daryl Michel

Podcast Recommendations

2023 update: Now that my friend Una Malcolm and I are coproducing, and I am hosting, Reading Road Trip from IDA Ontario, it’s my top recommendation! 😉

If you haven’t listened to/read Emily Hanford’s reports on the literacy situation, you must start there, with Hard Words and At a Loss For Words.

Great podcasts include:

  • Science of Reading: The Podcast (I binge-listened to the entire series but you can go through and choose episodes that relate most to your role and where you are in your learning journey)
  • Melissa & Lori Love Literacy (I was their guest in episode 87!)
  • Literacy Talks (this one is brand new and really good)
  • Triple R Teaching from The Measured Mom (a teacher who moved from Balanced to Structured Literacy; tons of short, helpful episodes)
  • Right to Read Initiative – Dr. Kathryn Garforth interviews a range of guests, including me! (In one episode I share my SOR journey; in another a walk-through of what my kindergarten structured literacy program looks like)

If you have any questions I’m happy to answer – and I’m always looking to add to my book collection and podcast playlist, so please reach out with recommendations too!

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