Literably’s Science of Reading Series: SoR 101, What Educators Should Know

Marie Bahl
May 17, 2022

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What is the Science of Reading?

If you work in education, you’ve likely noticed that the “Science of Reading” (SoR) movement has gained a lot of momentum. According to The Reading League, the Science of Reading is "a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing." Over time, the Science of Reading has established several proven methods that, when used in combination, lead to reading mastery.

At Literably, we agree with the approach, but we know that many educators are wondering "OK, now what?". How do I take next steps against that definition? Where's my SoR in a box?

The good news is that Literably is well-positioned to at least contribute to the answer.

At its core, SoR focuses on five essential, academically researched and proven skills that, in combination (that’s important), contribute to reading mastery. These happen to be the core tenets of our product development. Let’s look at them more closely:

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

Phonological Awareness and Phonics 

Defined as the awareness of speech sounds, and the mapping of speech sounds to letters, respectively. Both skills are critical contributors and the foundational building blocks of reading proficiency.

The Literably Foundational Skills (FS) solution assesses students according to the established skills and sub-skills that make up phonological awareness and phonics. This provides teachers a detailed, authentic understanding of each student’s current ‘phonetic toolkit’ so they can easily identify and address any deficiency.


The combination of automaticity and prosody, fluency is described as the bridge between word recognition and reading comprehension. As a primary component of SoR, fluency allows students to not just read and understand words accurately but effortlessly and automatically.

Literably Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) provides a fast, accurate and authentic measure of students’ oral reading proficiency and it has been shown to strongly predict student performance on an end-of-year state test. And Literably ORF will further evolve to be even more flexible.

Comprehension and Vocabulary

These concepts include the ability to understand and contextualize content, from individual words to complete texts. Mastery depends not only on explicit instruction, but also on broad exposure to subject matter and situations.

At Literably we already incorporate comprehension questions into our offering, but more importantly we are actively developing new products that will, very soon, address the need for deeper comprehension and vocabulary assessment on a wider variety of content, which we hope leads to increased equity in the classroom and more successful students.

Now that we've defined SoR and its basic elements. The next question is ...

How do we incorporate something this expansive? Are there SoR implementation challenges for teachers, schools and districts? -- The short answer: Absolutely!

In our next post in this series, we’ll be diving into challenges and solutions as well as providing you with a super easy-to-follow checklist for any tool you might evaluate as part of your path forward. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we want to know: Are you working to align to the Science of Reading in your classroom? Does your current assessment provider flexibly align with SoR? Is that important to your school or district? Tell us how it’s going. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook @literably or Tweet directly with me at @BahlMarie