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Science of Reading

What is the Science of Reading?

“Science of reading” refers to a comprehensive body of research that has supported strategies and methods found to enhance reading.   The recommendations that derive from the Science of Reading (SoR) are those that have been consistently supported, over many years, by multiple credible researchers, across multiple settings with a diverse array of students and schools.


Early Literacy Skills

One of the most consistently important themes from SoR studies focuses on the question of which early literacy skills must be taught.  This question was addressed by the National Reading Panel  and more recently by the publication "Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade" In both of these landmark publications, experts recommended the teaching of the "Big Five" skills which include:


  • Phonemic Awareness

  • Phonics

  • Fluency

  • Vocabulary

  • Comprehension

ISTEEP has all the assessments required by the science of reading including phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Students who master these skills are likely to remain good readers.

iSTEEP Support for the Science of Reading

iSTEEP supports the Science of Reading (SoR) and has strong assessments for all the Big Five Skills.   In a national review of screening assessments from 20 publishers by NCII, iSTEEP was the only publisher with assessments targeted for all the Big Five Skills.  In addition, iSTEEP had solid evaluations for technically sound assessments from the panel of screening experts.

NCII Ratings:  The chart shows each of the 5 SoR areas at the grade level where the skill is commonly the central instructional focus.  The iSTEEP assessments at each corresponding grade level were evaluated by the NCII Technical Review Committee for evidence of reliability and validity using the following rubrics:  convincing evidence (full bubble), partially convincing evidence (half bubble), unconvincing evidence (empty bubble).  


Why iSTEEP Stands Out in SOR Assessments:
Comprehensiveness and Personalized Measurement

iSTEEP stands out in supporting districts who take SOR seriously.  Here's why:

  • All Big 5 Assessments: iSTEEP provides all five essential assessments recommended by the National Reading Panel: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
  • Genuine Assessments of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Skills: Unlike computer-based assessments with limitations in sound production and understanding, CBMs allow students to demonstrate phonemic awareness and phonics skills directly through tasks like listening to and responding with spoken sounds and words.  Computer-based assessments often replace important foundational phonics skills with simpler tasks like rhyming, which do not equate in complexity or skill.  iSTEEP offers authentic assessments aligned with SOR principles.
  • Vocabulary Integration: Acknowledging the fundamental importance of vocabulary and language within the Science of Reading (SOR), our assessment suite is designed to incorporate these key components comprehensively.
  • iSTEEP Uses high-quality Curriculum-Based Measures (CBMs).  CBM is the gold standard for SOR because the one-on-one approach ensures the skills are assessed in the same way that they are taught to more accurately capture what the student has learned.


The teaching of reading is the sine qua non of schooling because reading is the gateway to all academic achievement, and it is related to social well-being