Oct 5 2022
Episode 10: The Science of Reading with Dr. Lauren Brannan and Dr. Hannah Szatkowski
Dr. Lauren Brannan, assistant professor of reading education, was awarded an internal research grant from the University of South Alabama College of Education and Professional Studies for a project titled “Reading Education in the Era of Literacy Legislation.” A team of faculty supporting the grant includes Dr. Hannah Szatkowski, assistant professor of reading education and co-principal investigator. They recently collected data and are now analyzing the language and reading instruction knowledge, skills and pedagogy of Alabama’s elementary public school teachers. Following the implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act, this research assessed how the professional development offered to teachers, which flowed from this act, impacted teacher knowledge, skills and pedagogy. According to the team’s research, the majority of American elementary students are reading below grade level, and Alabama is below the national average. Prior research studies show that teachers’, and in some studies their college instructors’, knowledge of language constructs, such as phonology, orthography, morphology and syntax, is low and may be a factor influencing poor student reading achievement. Brannan believes the science of reading training has been geared toward teachers in grades PreK-3, and this leaves out the upper elementary grade levels, where teachers often still encounter struggling readers who are in need of instructional intervention. Brannan’s team plans to research and highlight the gaps in knowledge. Ultimately, they plan to provide information about the effectiveness of the science of reading professional development opportunities throughout the state. The research will shed light on any possible gaps in knowledge, skill and pedagogy.