Designed Learning

The Science of Reading and The Simple View, Updated by the original authors!

by Dr Gail Brown | November 8, 2021
The Science of Reading and The Simple View, Updated by the original authors!

The Primacy of Science in Communicating Advances in The Science of Reading

This paper is on OPEN access as part of Reading Research Quarterly, published by The International Literacy Association.  Written by the original authors of The Simple View of Reading (SVR; Hoover & Tunmer), this paper updates and clarifies what The Simple View is about, and how it aligns with The Science of Reading. As well, they compare and contrast their view with that of Duke and Cartwright (2021) who proposed a different theoretical model of reading.

They see their Simple View of Reading “as a model of cognitive capacities needed for reading and not one of cognitive processes by which reading is accomplished” (page 2) and cite the popular and well-read papers by Castles, Rastle and Nation (2018) and Nation (2019) which are of similar views by other authors. Hoover & Tunmer make strong arguments, supported by evidence-based research, to support their paper and include a nice visual on page 5, that is simple and also complex. Some of these arguments are quite technical, and may need several readings or discussions to understand their full meaning and implications.

However, the whole of page 5 in their paper highlights the MOST important concepts, some of which may have been misinterpreted by others, including some on social media. Their dot points are a clear, concise summary of SVR which is supported by their diagram.

I hope that many others read this paper and take it on board. They confirm their model of The Simple View as both complex and a ‘big picture’ model of reading: “SVR is about the ‘forest’ of reading and not its ‘trees’ (Hoover & Tunmer, 202b)” (page 3). Citing Stanovich, their paper focuses on three scientific criteria for evaluating any research paper: research findings in peer-reviewed journals; replication of research findings and consensus of results across research studies (page 8). This is similar to the multiple sources of evidence and evidence-based research that classroom teachers need to use to design their instructional programs.

Hoover & Tunmer conclusions: to “rely on science for guidance” and to “put science first”. For classroom teachers, this might easily and simply be translated to using evidence-based classroom practices that provide multiple sources of evidence of student learning in reading, across all grades. The difference across grades is the balance between decoding and comprehension, with more decoding in the early grades and more comprehension in the later grades.

I highly recommend this paper, especially page 5, as essential reading for all school leaders and classroom teachers who want to maximise learning to read for their students.

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