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Rooted in Research: Scarborough's Reading Rope

Marleigh Gilyard Dec 14, 2023 9:42:23 AM

At RoboKind, we are committed to providing innovative and research-supported solutions for Special Education classrooms. Our Phonics program couples an innovative multisensory learning experience with curriculum rooted in the Science of Reading. Understanding the science behind how students learn to become skilled readers allows us to help them begin to love the process of learning to read.


A Foundation for Literacy

Exploring Scarborough's Reading Rope is a great way to understand how intertwined our comprehension and word recognition skills must be to become skilled readers. Developed by Dr. Hollis Scarborough, a renowned literacy researcher and cognitive psychologist, Scarborough's Reading Rope was designed to illustrate the "threads" of elements that must weave together when students are learning to read. 

This visual representation is a cornerstone in the field of literacy and a key component referenced throughout the Science of Reading. 

Watch Dr. Scarborough's presentation of her structured literacy research here!


Two Strands to Develop Skilled Reading

1: Language Comprehension

Skilled readers possess an understanding of language, enabling them to comprehend written text with ease. Language Comprehension is developed from 5 concepts:

  • Background Knowledge: The understanding and retention of information acquired from prior experiences, providing a context for interpreting new information.

  • Vocabulary: The mastery of a diverse range of words builds toward effective communication and comprehension in both reading and listening.

  • Language Structures: Understanding grammatical rules, sentence structures, and syntax convey and comprehend meaning in spoken and written language.

  • Verbal Reasoning: The ability to analyze, evaluate, and draw conclusions based on information heard, which can build on to problem-solving skills.

  • Literacy Knowledge: The familiarity of phonics enhancing overall reading and writing abilities.


2: Word Recognition

Proficient readers master both decoding and sight recognition, effortlessly navigating through words on the page. Word Recognition can be broken into 3 components:

  • Phonological Awareness:
    Students develop a keen awareness of the sounds that make up words, a fundamental skill for decoding.

  • Decoding:
    Breaking down words into their individual sounds and understanding the relationship between letters and sounds.
  • Sight Recognition:
    Recognizing words instantly, enhancing fluency and overall reading proficiency.


As emphasized in the visual representation of Scarborough's Reading Rope, all of these skills must be developed and interlaced together to achieve mastery. Students in Special Education may require additional accommodations and opportunities for with repetition to understand and develop these Language Comprehension and Word Recognition skills.


Science of Reading Meets Innovative Technology

phonics request demo image

Scarborough's Reading Rope serves as a guiding light for RoboKind Phonics, which uses Avatars and Robot characters to guide students through direct and explicit instruction.

By integrating the key components intertwined in Scarborough's Reading Rope within play-based lessons with multi-sensory activities embedded, we pave the way for student success in building a solid foundation in reading.

Learn more about the research behind RoboKind Phonics!



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