Science of Reading

Background Knowledge and Vocabulary skills make your explicit phonics instruction more effective!

The Science of Reading isn't a program you can adopt, but a broad body of research across a variety of disciplines that helps us understand how students learn to read. One major finding is that the explicit instruction of phonics has been neglected for too long. While the Science of Reading has brought phonics to the forefront, Scarborough's rope reminds us that word recognition and language comprehension are bound together to help create fluent skilled readers. After all, a rope with one strand is just a thread.


Image of Scarborough's RopeImage of Scarborough's Rope



Science of Reading in 30 mins or Less

Gain a basic understanding of what the Science of Reading tells us and learn how to leverage authentic texts to support high quality reading instruction.

If you'd like to hear about upcoming Science of Reading webinars or suggest specific content, please reach out to Joe Burns at 

Webinar Slide Deck

Build a Bridge to Literacy Poster

Scarborough's Reading Rope Poster


Joe Burns HeadshotJoe Burns Headshot

"Learning the code of written language is critical, but so is having rich conversations to develop students' oral language, vocabulary, and critical thinking, even before they can read text. You can never say enough that...decoding is only half the story..."

Gina Cervetti
Associate Professor, University of Michigan's School of Education

Source: Education Week

Background Knowledge

Build a knowledge base to support language comprehension with PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next

Background knowledge plays an important role in contextualizing facts in non-fiction and understanding context in fiction. It also improves a student's ability to decode and makes successful decoding more fun for emerging readers—it's much more rewarding to decode a word when you understand its meaning! 

Collage of devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone) featuring PebbleGo research database

The more background knowledge a student has about a topic, the better they can make connections, gain a deeper understanding, and improve their overall comprehension of what they are reading. 

  • Cross-curricular. Develop vocabulary and background knowledge across content areas. 
  • Support and Scaffold. Each article includes an Interactive Glossary. Students are introduced to new words in context with the ability to click words to read and hear their definition. 
  • Models Fluency. All articles supported by read-aloud audio recorded by professional voice-over artists.
Screenshot of PebbleGo article Manatees

"Developing students' understanding about the world is a key component of the science of reading"

Sheri Miller
Principal, Lacy Elementary School in Wake County, N.C.

Source: Education Week


Support your phonics instruction with a rich variety of engaging print and digital books from Capstone. 

To successfully build a rich and functional vocabulary, students need access to books that genuinely interest them, and be able to engage with those books in a variety of ways.

When students wholeheartedly engage with texts they enjoy, through a variety of senses, the Science of Reading weaves together successfully to make skilled readers, and students truly enjoy the process! 

Capstone Interactive eBooks on tablet and desktop computer

Customize your own Capstone library and empower your educators to: 

  • Make Connections. Readers see both themselves and the diversity of their communities, increasing their ability to enjoy and relate to the text. 
  • Introduce specific and targeted vocabulary. 
  • Cultivate Curiosity. Capstone's content spans ability levels and interests. 
  • Engage, Entertain and Inform. Capstone prides itself on creating authentic texts so students can apply what they've learned to enable their enjoyment of real-world literature.
Screenshot of the Engage Literacy eBook titled A Special Kimono, along with print books Katie Woo and Pedro Mysteries and Liam Kingbird's Kingdom

"In the literacy world, there’s a perennial concern that focusing on foundational skills will come at the expense of giving kids opportunities to practice language and enjoy stories. But researchers and educators say that it’s not only possible to teach useful vocabulary and meaningful content knowledge to young children—it’s necessary."

Sarah Schwartz
Education Week staff writer
Source: Education Week

Are you a district leader seeking to empower educators to put their Science of Reading training into action?

Capstone can help. Consult with Capstone to ensure your educators have access to a variety of high-interest texts across digital, print, read-aloud, fiction, and nonfiction. Capstone would be delighted to act as trusted partner to your educators as they embark on the invaluable work of building students' knowledge and comprehension of the world around them. 

An image of the various strands of Scarborough's Rope