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Most Parents Think Teachers Are Fully Prepared to Deliver Science of Reading-Aligned Instruction; Educators Are Less Optimistic

New surveys from Lexia reveal nearly half of teachers want more training in science of reading and over half of parents want science of reading-aligned instruction for their children

A national survey of over 800 U.S. parents[1] commissioned by Lexia, a part of  Cambium Learning Group, and conducted online by The Harris Poll, found that just over half (51%) of parents strongly agree that their children’s teachers are properly trained in the science of reading. However, Lexia’s own nationwide survey of educators[2] found that only 27% of educators felt the same.

“Understanding what parents are likely thinking about their child’s school and its faculty is valuable for school and district administrators,” said Lexia President, Nick Gaehde. “And when it comes to the science of reading, the disconnect between parents’ perception of teachers’ readiness and teachers’ feelings of preparedness is rather extreme. Only when we become aware of a situation, can we then move forward with a solution.”

The term “science of reading” refers to decades of research in fields such as cognitive science, linguistics, and neuroscience that identify best practices for reading instruction. Structured Literacy is the approach that applies the research of science of reading and includes components such as phonics, building vocabulary and comprehension.

“In May, Education Week reported that 31 states and the District of Columbia had adopted laws and policies requiring early reading instruction to be aligned with the science of reading,” Gaehde continued. “Lexia’s tools and resources are based on the science of reading, so we’re very gratified to see this large base of research or decades of evidence receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Even parents have become aware of the pedagogical approach’s value. More than half (54%) of parents in the Harris Poll/Lexia survey believed it is very important for their child’s school to implement the science of reading and the principles of structured literacy into curricula.

“The nationwide wave of interest in the science of reading is rather new,” said Gaehde. “On the other hand, most of the educators we surveyed have been in the profession for more than six years. So, even though they use Lexia resources, the science of reading was not part of their knowledge base when they first entered the profession. Consequently, many teachers want to keep honing their skills in this area.”

Almost half (49%) of the educators in Lexia’s survey indicated that they understood the importance of the science of reading and structured literacy but wanted more training. A slightly smaller proportion (46%) stated that more training and professional development opportunities in the science of reading was what they needed most to feel successful.

Other survey findings include:

  • Less than half (48%) of parents in the Harris Poll/Lexia survey are very satisfied with the literacy program at their child’s school.
  • The same proportion (48%) of parents say they are either very or somewhat familiar with the science of reading and principles of structured literacy
  • More than a third (43%) of educators said better teacher training (e.g., training in science of reading, technology-driven education, etc.) would help their students be at or above grade level during the 2023-24 school year.
  • Over two-thirds (69%) of educators felt it was important for products supporting literacy instruction to be based on the science of reading.

Lexia Educator Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by the Lexia Learning research team from May 9 – June 14, 2023, among 862 Lexia users including classroom teachers and building and district administrators who logged into myLexia in the 30 days prior to the survey being deployed.

Harris Poll/Lexia Parent Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lexia Learning from June 14 – June 21, 2023, among 877 U.S. parents of children attending school in the fall entering pre-K-12th grade. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/-4.4 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact charlotte@nickelcommpr.com.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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