Literacy and numeracy

Publication Date



Evidence based practice, Language fluency, Literature reviews, Oral language, Phonics, Phonology, Reading, Reading comprehension, Reading improvement, Reading skills, Reading teaching, Vocabulary


The science of reading (SoR) is a term used for a body of evidence encompassing multi-disciplinary research from education, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. This evidence points to six key constructs that contribute to proficient reading: oral language, phonological awareness including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Research around these constructs provides researchers and teachers with an evidence base of the knowledge, skills and strategies involved in competent reading and describes how reading develops in both typical and atypical readers. This paper synthesises evidence reviews conducted by ACER researchers that unpack the science of reading. The aim of this synthesis is to demonstrate the impact that research in reading development is having on current ACER research and products. Most importantly, it supports understanding of the importance of embracing the complexity and nuance of reading research and the need for improved efforts to clearly communicate evolving research evidence. ACER draws on the evolving evidence of the science of reading to inform its approach to developing assessments and resources for teachers, and also refers to this evidence to describe where children are in their reading journey. This means a students’ progress through each construct as described in this paper can be tracked and used to inform teaching and learning.

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Victoria


Australian Council for Educational Research