Understanding SOLAR:
The Science of Language and Reading

Welcome to our exploration of SOLAR – The Science of Language and Reading. At West Coast Literacy, we embrace this framework for its evidence-informed view of reading acquisition, which integrates research with practice and places oral language at the heart of learning to read and write.

What is SOLAR?

Why SOLAR Matters

The How of Reading Acquisition and Instruction

Research shows that reading involves two distinct skills: decoding (i.e., word reading) and language comprehension. Decoding is a result of knowledge of phonics and phonological awareness. Language comprehension comes from skills in the areas of vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning, literacy knowledge, and background knowledge. It is the integration of these separate but related skills that leads to reading comprehension, which is the ultimate goal of reading.

SOLAR tells us that explicit, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction is essential for teaching both decoding and language comprehension skills. This approach, often referred to as Structured Literacy, recognizes that decoding and language comprehension should be taught separately but in a simultaneous and coordinated manner. By using explicit teaching methods that are grounded in research, educators can effectively support students in becoming proficient readers.

SOLAR in Our Selection

Curating Resources Informed by SOLAR

At West Coast Literacy, our resource selection is deeply influenced by SOLAR.  We ensure that every product, from books to teaching aids, aligns with current research and the principles of Structured Literacy, reinforcing the vital role of evidence-based practice in literacy education. This guarantees that our offerings are not only top-quality but also grounded in science and representative of best practice.

Language & Literacy Quotes

The ability to analyze and manipulate phonemes in words, to segment and blend isolated phonemes in words, is the basis for unlocking an alphabetic writing system.

Dr. Diane McGuinness

The body of work referred to as “the science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, or a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of studies, supported by hundreds of millions of research dollars, conducted across the world in many languages.

Dr. Louisa Moats

It is simply not true that there are hundreds of ways to learn to read… when it comes to reading we all have roughly the same brain that imposes the same constraints and the same learning.

Dr. Stanislas Dehaene

Think of oral language and literacy as "inseparable friends" who take turns to piggy-back on each other during the school years and beyond.

Professor Pamela Snow

If a child memorizes ten words, the child can only read ten words, but if a child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 three sound words, 4320 four sound words and 21,650 five sound words.

Dr. Martin Kozloff

Early oral language skills are the essential engine that children need to bring to school, so that they can engage with the highly verbally and text-mediated environment that is the school classroom.

Professor Pamela Snow
From her blog

Get Started with SOLAR

Resources to Empower Your Literacy Journey

Interested in integrating SOLAR into your literacy practices? West Coast Literacy is your partner in this journey. Our website is stocked with resources that align with structured literacy principles, offering tools that significantly enhance the teaching and learning of reading.