Learning Difficulties Australia


Professional Learning with 

Louisa Moats Resources


Teaching Reading is Rocket Science, 2020 – What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do

This report, written by Louisa C. Moats (a teacher, psychologist, researcher, and professor who has been at the forefront of science-based reading instruction for five decades), translates the latest reading research into accessible language so that those of us who are not steeped in the pedagogy of reading can apply it to our own teaching and learning.

Moats, who has dedicated her career to struggling readers, wrote the first version of Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science, which the American Federation of Teachers published in 1999. In it, she explained how children learn to read, the essential components of reading instruction, what causes reading difficulties and how to prevent or reduce them. In this new edition, she adds depth to the science and provides clarity on the challenge before us: taking action.

Click here to access an excerpt of Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science, 2020: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do, which emerged from a collaboration between the American Federation of Teachers and the Center for Development and Learning.

Click here to read Lousia Moats article Systematic, not "balanced" instruction in the October 2014 LDA Bulletin.


Teaching Decoding

Louisa C. Moats

As it has become increasingly apparent that substantial numbers of children are failing to become skilled readers, a consensus is emerging among reading researchers, practitioners, and policy makers concerning the critical role that decoding plays in the reading process (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).

While this renewed interest in phonics is certainly a welcome development, we will make limited progress unless decoding instruction is grounded in what we know about the stages of reading development, the structure of the English language, and the strategies students employ to learn it. Decoding instruction might be termed the “technical” part of teaching reading. It requires knowledge of language, including phonology and the structure of orthography; knowledge of how children learn language; and strategies for teaching a writing system incrementally even as the purpose of reading is kept in focus.

Click here to Louisa Moats paper Teaching Decoding


How Spelling Supports Reading

The complexity of English gives us seemingly infinite choices among words when we’re searching for the right way to express ourselves, and the language’s regularity makes reading, speaking, and writing those words an achievable goal. Spelling instruction may be old fashioned, but its importance has not diminished with computerized spell checkers— and there’s no reason to believe that it will diminish in the foreseeable future. Much about spelling is puzzling

Louisa Moats has written several articles on this topic including How Spelling Supports Reading. http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/winter0506/Moats.pdf


Whole Language High Jinks – How To Tell When “Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction, Isn’t”

In this practitioners’ guide, Louisa Moats explains how educators, parents, and concerned citizens can spot ineffective reading programs that surreptitiously hide under the “scientifically-based” banner. While the field of reading has made enormous strides in recent years, discredited and ineffectual practices continue in many schools. Although the term “whole language” is rarely used today, programs based on its premises are as popular as ever. These approaches may pay lip service to reading science, but they fail to incorporate the content and instructional methods proven to work best with students learning to read.

Moats exposes popular but scientifically untenable practices in reading instruction, suggesting ways of separating the wheat from the chaff, and explains the elements of good reading programs.

Click here to the Louisa Moats Whole Language High Jinks article 


Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of Balanced Reading Instruction

By Louisa C Moats

Published By: The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

Regular readers of this foundation's publications and web site know we believe strongly that schools should utilize "best practices" that are supported by scientific research. Three things are clear about early reading:

  • Millions of children are needlessly classified as "disabled" when, in fact, their main problem is that nobody taught them to read when they were five and six years old.
  • We know what works for nearly all children when it comes to imparting basic reading skills to them.
  • We also know what doesn't work for most children. It's called "whole language."

Louisa Moats, has been a project director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Interventions Project in Washington, DC, a multiyear study of early reading instruction. She is one of the world's leading voices for the application of reading research in teacher preparation and classroom instruction. Louisa Cook Moats describes the whole-language approach; shows why it doesn't work and how it has been disproven by careful research; and explains why it nonetheless persists in practice and what should be done about that.



The Children of the Code is a project of Learning Stewards, a non-profit organization founded in 2008.

The Children of the Code Project is a ‘case in point’ for how poorly our society understands learning and the personal and societal costs of unhealthy learning. The COTC project has produced over 140 video segments that cover subjects ranging from the origin of writing to the neurology involved in producing the virtual language experience we call reading.

The conversation with Louisa Moats is a compilation of two phone interviews conducted in October and November of 2003.  We found Dr. Moats to be a teacher of teachers who is dedicated to improving children's lives by improving their literacy. 



Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)

Voyager Sopris Learning

Louisa C. Moats Primary Author

LETRS provides in-depth professional development on the foundations of scientifically-based reading, spelling, writing, and language instruction. LETRS participants learn why certain practices are necessary and effective; what is likely to be needed for whom; and how to implement assessment and instruction. LETRS assumes that good programs must be implemented by knowledgeable teachers in order to be effective.

The content and teaching methods of LETRS have been developed by Dr. Moats over many years, with input from participants, trainers, and independent reviewers. With LETRS, teachers return to the classroom knowing about the mental processes of reading and the field-tested instructional strategies that work for every type of learner.

Hear an interview with Louisa Moats at: http://www.voyagersopris.com/services/professional-resources/professional-books/letrs-second-edition


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