Ten Maxims: What We’ve Learned So Far About How Children Learn To Read (by Reid Lyon)

Reid Lyon has described the following 10 maxims about reading science. Even better, here you can find the 10 maxims and an extensive reference list. 

  1. Almost all children learn to speak naturally; reading and writing must be taught.
  2. Literacy begins at birth. It is rooted in early social interactions and experiences that include regular exposure to oral language and print. Strong roots tend to produce stronger readers.
  3. All good readers are good decoders. Decoding should be taught until children can accurately and independently read new words. Decoding depends on phonemic awareness: a child’s ability to identify individual speech sounds. Decoding is the on-ramp for word recognition.
  4. Fluent readers can instantly and accurately recognize most words in a text. They can read with expression and at an appropriate rate for their age. Reading fluency requires comprehension AND it supports comprehension.
  5. Comprehension—the goal of reading—draws on multiple skills and strengths, including a solid foundation of vocabulary and background knowledge.
  6. One size does not fit all: use student data to differentiate your instruction.
  7. Direct, systematic instruction helps students develop the skills they need to become strong readers. Indirect, three-cueing instruction is unpredictable in its impact on word reading and leaves too much to chance.
  8. These maxims apply to English Learners/Emergent Bilinguals, who often need extra support to bolster their oral language as they learn to read and write in a new language.
  9. We should support students who speak languages or dialects other than General American English at home, by honoring their home language and by giving them expanded opportunities to engage with General American English text.
  10. To become good readers and writers, students need to integrate many skills that are built over time.

One thought on “Ten Maxims: What We’ve Learned So Far About How Children Learn To Read (by Reid Lyon)

  1. When I read the maxims, I had to think of (and painfully laugh at) what Luc Stevens, then Scientific Director of NIVOZ, said during a ’roundtable’ with the education spokespersons from the different political parties in our lower house of parliament where I also was an invited ‘expert’. His jaw-dropping remark was: If children can learn to speak their own language in a playful, discovery-based way, they can also learn to read and write in their native language in the same way, without explicit instruction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.